Friday, October 31, 2008


After what seemed like an eternity, we made it into the outskirts of Los Angeles.

If you have not had the pleasure of driving in LA, the rules are simple. 1.) Avoid the highways and 2.) Other drivers are just there to get in the way of where you need to go.

The chaotic city traffic is familiar to me and was a refreshing change from my multiple heart attacks driving along the coastal cliffs.

We diverted off the freeway onto Sunset Boulevard. If anyone has seen the movie of the same name, it is hard to get "I'm ready for my close up, Mr DeMille" out of your head when driving past certain houses on this street.

This route took us through the very exclusive Bel Aire and Beverly Hills, where The Son had to pee so bad we pulled behind one of the celebrity compounds so he could relieve himself on the rubbish bins of the rich and famous.

Our first destination in LA (after our hotel) was Hollywood.

What was out first impression as we neared the Walk of Fame near Hollywood and Vine? What a dump. (I am looking at you to know that Bette Davis movie qoute, also referenced by Elizabeth Taylor in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe).

The glamourous Hollywood Walk of Fame & Chinese Theatre are nothing but run down tourist traps, However I did put my feet into Rock Hudson's imprint (they are the same foot size, but Rock had unfortunately small hands).

The Son met a few famous personalities outside of the Chinese Theatre. People in costume stand outside and let you take a photo with them for money. The funny part about this is that the people in costumes look absolutely nothing like the actual character. There was a black Wonder Woman, an 80 year old Marilyn Monroe and a brunette Lucille Ball.

On this day The Son met Halo, The Man drooled over Brad Pitt's footprint and I drooled over Rock Hudson's footprint.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Whilst there are several stops along Hwy 1 during our first day of the road trip, there was really only 1 stop on the second day. This stop was the town of Solvang.

Solvang was founded in 1911 by a group of Danish educators who wanted to escape the cold winter of the midwest. Can you blame them? Walking to school 5 miles in knee deep snow... uphill each way.

The city tries it's hardest to build every building in the Danish style, and because of this Mathew dubbed Solvang the Try-Hard Capitol of California.

While Solvang Sucks, it does make for some great photos! Which is probably why it was heavily featured in the Oscar-winning film Sideways.

Without further ado, here are some of the favourite photos:

Does this clock look like it came right out of an old martian movie?

A beautiful entrance to an Antique store.

Is the smorgasbord for the breakfast or the cocktails? I hope it's for cocktails!

A big clog sitting on the footpath. This may have been attached to a clog shoe shop. As you learned earlier, Solvang is the cutting edge in fashion.

Another clock?

Today in Solvang, The Son sat in a gigantic shoe, The Man saw the Pirrelli Training School in person and I wondered if the gigantic shoe was my size.

Monday, October 27, 2008


After a scary yet stunning drive cliff's edge drive along Highway 1 South from Carmel is the large region of Big Sur.

Big Sur is a large area known for it's large redwood trees and bohemian spiritual centres. In the 1920s there were only 2 homes in the entire area had electricity, the rest were powered locally by water wheels and windmills. This primitive set-up lasted until the early 1950s when Big Sur was finally connected to the power grid.

We decided to stretch our legs in the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. In the air you can smell a mixture of pine and the humid sea mist. There is a reddish and green glow as the sun shines through the branched of the ancient trees.

Don't get lost in the poetry, you need to be on the look out for mountain lions!

This particular tree cross section can be dated back before the Magna Carta was signed, to save you looking the Magna Carta up on Wikipedia, it was signed in 1215.

In Big Sur, The Son climbed on top and any tree, rock or fence, The Man saw a mountain lion and I screamed (not because of the mountain lion, but because I realised I was wearing that shirt yet again!).

From Big Sur it was time to gain some ground and find a place to break for the night. Our goal was to get to San Simeon (home of the Hearst Castle) however, we missed the last tour of the castle (it was only 2:30) so we travelled onwards to a port town called Morro Bay, whose highlight was a big rock island in the bay and more seals.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


This was passed onto me from The Jason Show and I thought it was a lovely one because it really makes you think about what one values... or more specifically what I value.

It was interesting timing as I have just come back from the US, where it was a whirlwind of family, old friends and new friends and it really made me appreciate more of what my life is about, or at least made some things in my life more clear than they were previously.

Without further ado, here are the six things I value most:

1. FOOD - I love food, well-presented experimental food is my favourite (ie cauliflower panna cotta with caviar, for instance), but I cannot discredit the good old fashioned comforting favourites like peach pie, roast chickens or a patty melt with fries.

2. HONESTY - I should point out that these are in no particular order. I highly value honesty... which is odd since I am in marketing. I have always had a sixth sense for lies and the lying liars who tell the lies. There is just something inside of me that does not sit right when I am hearing a lie. Most lying is unnecessary (with some exceptions) and life would be so much easier if we could tell, be told and actually handle the truth.

3. FAMILY - Sometimes I forget the value of this one. I had a very rough childhood and we did not have a very strong knit family like others I knew. Once I was of legal age, I moved out of home to a city at least a 5 hour drive from anyone I knew.

4. FRIENDS - Family and Friends are one and the same, but I thought I would stretch it out into separate values.
5. MUSICALS - I love musicals. They are the meaning to life, there is a song whenever you need inspiration, death, life, love, hate, breaking up, boredom, sex, drunkenness.... the list continues. The real trick is to be able to sing them all on cue at the right time.
6. ART - Art is subjective so therefore art is everything and everything is art... or something. It is not so much what the artist intended, but what the piece makes you feel and think. There is not a city I travel to where I don't check out the museum. One of the coolest experiences was visiting the Art Institute of Chicago and seeing the painting that inspired the musical Sunday in the Park with George (see number 5).
I have one more, but I am only supposed to list 6 values... hmmm... OK since "Family" and "Friends" are one and the same for me, I am now officially recombining them back into one value.
This leaves me with:
6B - HARD WORK and RELAXATION - Another double value. I value hard work... what can I say, I am from the Midwest. I don't necessarily mean physical labour because, you know, yuck. I mean working above your best and at your hardest at whatever it is you do in life.
So whilst hard work is great, relaxation is better. I need at least one half day a week to myself to recharge. Usually I spend this time in bed, watching Little House on the Prairie or whatever the latest musical I have found on special at the DVD store.
Now it is 6 things I value the least:
1. BAD CUSTOMER SERVICE - Yes, I am looking at you Laura with the brown teased hair, blue eyeshadow and frosted pink lipstick who works at the Thrifty counter the Cleveland airport and Miltha who works at the Northwest check-in desk at LAX.
2. BIGOTRY - We are all individual human beings, with unique abilities, traits, talents, loves, hates, beliefs so why can't we just be grown ups and accept that everyone is different? Of course in saying that, I do have my own bigotry of certain things (for instance teased hair, blue eye shadow and frosted pink lipstick) as we all do. I suppose the goal is to be able rise above them.
3. SLOPPY DRESS - There is a difference between casual and slovenly. If you wear it in bed, don't wear it to the shops.
4. BOSSYNESS - Unless it is me doing the bossing or it is Bossy
Now according to the rules, I need to pass this along to 6 people. I thought that I would pass this along to 6 people whose blogs I read a lot, but who are not on my blog roll. I just need some time and will power to type their names on here with links.


As we continue further down the California coast, the next stop on Highway 1 is Carmel-by-the-Sea.

With it's established gardens, thatch rooves, art galleries and fine dining Carmel is a beautiful (and well monied) town where every building looks like it was pulled right out of a fairy tale book.

Interesting fact: Clint Eastwood was once the mayor.

Depsite its picturesque setting, we only managed to get one photo:

Famous residents of Carmel include Clint Eastwood, Betty White, Doris Day, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Ansell Adams and Rupert Murdoch.

I recommend the coastal drive for anyone who visits California. It takes about 8 to 10 hours to drive from SF to LA, but we divided it over two days which was more than enough to see everything we needed to without left feeling overloaded by driving and site seeing.

If you still need convincing, here are some photos of the scenic drive.

On this day The Son slept the entire car ride, The Man loved all the old ladies driving their Jaguars and I thought I was going to die by driving directly over a cliff.

Remember that you can click on any photo to enlarge!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


It was sad to leave San Francisco, we had such a good time, and wanted the good time to continue but we had to make our way down the California coast to reach Los Angeles.

The first stop along the coast was Monterey. If you are familiar with the author John Steinbeck, you no doubt will have read Cannery Row. Set in Monterey this novel revolved around the people who lived on this street which is dominated by sardine canning factories turned chic office buildings.

Monterey also has a cute little pier filled with restaurants that offer you teasers of clam chowder. The teasers are served in tiny plastic cups, however the real the meal is served in a bowl made from bread.

There is a fabulous candy shop that pulls its own salt water taffy in the window. The storefront was too fabulous to pass by without snapping a photo!

Doesn't the candy shop make you wish you were naked and covered in pink cotton candy?

A beautiful photo of The Man and The Son in front of the docks.

There were seals everywhere! They are noisy and smelly and oddly fascinating to watch.

Today The Son, The Man & I all ate onion rings from a real diner! They were fantastic until the third one, afterwhich our mouth were layered in grease.

Onwards we continue down the coast.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


4 days without the internet is what a hell must feel like...

The internet has been very spotty, just about every restuarant, coffee shop and hotel has wireless, it is just a matter of being in the right spot at the right time to get a signal... remember how the old mobile phones used to be? You had to climb on the roof, stand on one hand and point the phone in a northwest direction to even get a signal?

Finally to continue on with the San Francisco section of this program, we journeyed to Fisherman's Wharf.

The Wharf is where the city meets that bay and at one point in time it was full of pirates, sailors and guess what else? Fisherman!

Of course all of this has gone for large cruise ships, tourist shopping and a Hard Rock Cafe.

To get to Fisherman's Wharf, we had to walk up a giant and very steep hill, through Chinatown.

On Pier 33 (or was it 41? or 35?) There is the Musee Mechanique which houses the old penny arcade games. Mathew's favourite was this one:

After you dropped in the coin, these men started to tap dance.

To get back to our hotel, we took the cable car up a giant and very steep hill.

We have now officially completed our Rice-a-Roni tour of San Francisco and getting ready to head down the coast to LA.

Today, The Son ate a gigantic pretzel, The Man clogged the toilet and I ate a Twinkie.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

TAG I'M IT!!!!

OK I was TAGGED by Grandma J whom I met for a fantabulous lunch in LA.

Before I go any further I must say that during my trip to the US I was regretfully unable to meet Sarah B at Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment however I ran out of time to make it over to NYC!!!! A meeting, now matter how brief with Sarah B would have made an awesome end to my American journey.

Now back to the Grandma J tag, this tag has a few rules. I hate rules, but I love Grandma J, so here they are:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog. GRANDMA J was my tagger!!

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random,
some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their
names as well as links to their blog.

4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment
on their blog.

5. If you don't have 7 blog friends, or if someone else
already took dibs, then tag some unsuspecting strangers.


1. I was once in a handbell choir that played with The Cleveland Orchestra. If you do not know what a handbell choir is then you should look it up on Wikipedia or any thing BUT Google images (it is almost embarassing as Jason Show's clogging days!!!

2. I absolutely LOVE Godiva truffles. I cannot get Godiva chocolate in Australia and I am constantly craving Godivia. For my US road trip I am in Cleveland and a friend of mine just bought some Godiva truffles for me and they are Caramelised Apple Tart Truffles and they are to die for!!!

3. I didn't know that I would miss America as much as I would now that I have come back for a short visit.

4. I quit my job and started a new job which I worked in for 2 weeks before I took off for 4.5 weeks holiday.

5. I absolutely love 2 TV shows and must own them on DVD: Golden Girls and Little House on the Prairie (even though I HATE Mary Ingalls!!!!!!)

6. I have lived in Colorado, Texas, Ohio, Idaho, Illinois, Wisconsin and Western Australia. I have thought about living in Georgia, Louisiana, California and Hawaii.


7. I am a pedigree dog snob. My three favourite pedigree dogs are A. Pug, B. Boston Terrier and C. French Bulldog.

Now I need to tag 7 people and I tag

1. The lovely and charming The Jason Show and his equally lovely and charming husband, Giancarlo (who does not have a blog:( )

2. The hunka hunka burning love Pumpkin Delight

3. Mom #1 over at Two Moms Homeschool

4. The delightful, de-lovely Sarah B

5. The gracious and delicious Oprah of bloggers (even though she will never do it) i am bossy

7. The funny, fabulously health conscious(how do you spell that word???), cat loving, yiddish-teaching Someone in a Tree

Oh WAIT!!! I missed number 6!!!

6. The hilarious (for a lesbian) and (whenever the bitch feels like posting) Ham & Cheese on Wry

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Allow me to introduce you to Nikki.

Nikki is the one in the middle.

Nikki and I have known each other since high school and have have shared some very crazy adventures and many, many, many hair styles.

Nikki lives in San Francisco with her fiance Steve.

Hi Steve! Next to Steve is their puppydog Joe.

During our travels to SF, they were kind of enough to show us the town every night and introduce us to some fantastic restuarants! Nikki even let us stop in to use her toilet one afternoon when we happened to be in her neighbourhood after walking up a giant and very steep hill.

One night, after eating a huge dinner we all thought it would be fun to bounce around on trampoulines, so Nikki and Steve took us to Sky High Jump. Sky High Jump is a warehouse which has trampoulines lining the floor and walls. In the middle of all of the trampoulines is a giant pit filled with foam cubes, that you can jump into.

It is very difficult to get out of the pit.

On this day The Son ate ramen like they do in Naruto, The Man bought a chocolate penis on a stick and I saw a cat on the sidewalk which was laying in a cat bed and had a cup for passerby's change.

Saturday, October 11, 2008



The days in San Francisco have been chock full of activites. There has not been one moment that we have not stopped experiencing new adventures.

San Francisco is home the most notorious high security prison in history. Located on an island in the middle of the cold, rough waters of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was home to the most vicious criminals of the 20th century.

To get to Alcatraz, you must take a ferry from Pier 33 in Fisherman's Wharf (I will tell you more about Fisherman's Wharf next time), and stand in a very long line for a very long time. If you are going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair... wait... If you are going to San Francisco, and will be visiting Alcatraz, buy your tickets online and fast track the waiting!

There are some excellent views of the skyline and the famous Golden Gate Bridge and it's lesser known cousin Bay Bridge. There is definitely some favourtism going on as the Golden Gate Bridge is painted a stunning red. What colour is the Bay Bridge? Grey.

What is that all about? If they were siblings the Bay Bridge would be plotting the Golden Gate Bridge's death a la The Bodyguard.

Anyway, so we get off the ferry, walk up a large and very steep hill and enter the abandoned prison for the audio tour.

The audio tour is narrarated by former inmates and the daughter of one of the Wardens. The inmates tell the story about what it was like to be interned on Alcatraz, whilst the warden's daughter spoke of what it was like to live on Alcatraz Island but not be imprisoned.

In the meantime the host of the audio tour guides you firsthand on the actual locations of the several attempted escapes. The final attempted escape was recounted in the 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz. Watch the film, it will save me telling the story all over again.

The audio tour was fantastic, perfectly timed to your pace, not too long and had some interesting stories. The problem was the crowds. The ferries bring over 5,000 people a day! I think about 4,000 of them began the tour at the same time as us.

This afternoon The Son ate a giant pretzel, The Man had his first taste of a California zinfandel and I remembered all about free refills of iced tea.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


You may be aware that I dislike 95% of Andrew Lloyd Webber's productions, but I love 99% of Sarah Brightman.

From 1988, I present you Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford in Phantom of the Opera.

PS - Angela Lansbury gives the introduction!

Monday, October 6, 2008


We are into the second or third week of our trip. I have lost track of days and time, so maybe Pumpkin Delight can tell me which week it is. LOL
I have started posting about the trip from the beginning, starting in San Francisco and will continue every few days until I run out of trip stories. So far everything has been amazing!
Except when we arrived in Cleveland, the drop in temperature made us all very sick and our bodies seemed to fall apart. Here is a list of all the medication we bought in the first two days:
Tylenol Tension Headache
Excedrin Extra Strength
Oraginic Green Tea
Both of my sisters who are nurses made us get the natural remedies. I thought that was funny.
It has been very relaxing and slow out here at my mom's place in the country, with the exception of Thrifty renting us a very dirty and mechanically faulty car.
When we went to return the car, a very rude woman name Laura who works at the Cleveland Airport car rental centre was immediately degrading and obnoxious, refused to call the manager and told us, and I quote, "With attitudes like that no wonder you were given a faulty car."
So if you are ever at the Cleveland airport rental centre and get serviced by a woman named Laura (You can miss her. She has teased hair, blue eyeshadow and frosted pink lipstick) tell her I said "Hi."
Oh! Today is Monday! I need to tell you all about 9 to 5: the Musical!!!


I promised that I would start to do some postings about how the trip has been going so far. We first arrived in San Francisco after a 20-something hour flight from the land down under.
You may remember about two weeks back when I told you that we checked into a hotel with mustard drapes and green comforters? We almost immediately switched hotels from the Hobo Inn to a beautiful boutique hotel on Powell Street just down from Union Square.

In case you are not in the know, Powell Street is the one most of the cable cars travel upon.

Despite the constant clang-clang-clang of the trolleys or the ding-ding-ding of the bells, The Man could not get over the large amount of ambulance and police sirens on the street below.

All day and night whenever a siren was heard The Man would race to the window or follow it down the street. Only once did we get to the cause of the ruckus when a homeless man was hit by car. I think the man was OK... I am not entirely sure becuase I saw a great pair of shoes in the window of a shop and didn't really pay attention.

The weather here in San Francisco has been brilliant! Sunny skies and an average of 20 degrees celcius (I think that is around the low 70s in fahrenheit). One of the first things that we did was walk up the steepest and highest hill you can ever imagine.

You see San Francisco is built on very hilly land next to a bay. The wonderful part about this is after a long and thigh burning walk up the very steep and very high hills, you are rewarded with the most amazing views of the San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz or one of the two suspension bridges.

On this day, The Son drank his first Dr Pepper. The Man was in awe at the price of bananas (45 cents a pound) and I bought a fantastic pair of shoes!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


OK, It is already news, as I am sure you have read about this lunch on The Jason Show, Pumpkin Delight and Grandma J I better write about it before it is too late!

So one day last week (The days have blurred and I can't remember the day) The Jason Show, Pumpkin Delight and Grandma J all met up for brunch at a fabulous restuarant at The Grove in Los Angeles.

Outside of this restuarant was a fountain that "danced" to Donna Summer tunes! This fountain is where I managed to get my only photo of the lunch.

Grandma J had the vivid facial expression, and I took an instant liking to her because she reminded me of my favourite aunt. She told us this hilarious story with is featured on her blog about a trip to the doctor and a mayonaisse jar full of urine.

Jason and Pumpkin Delight told me that teachers actually hate when their classrooms have to dress up!

This came as a surprise to me because when I was growing up, the teachers always looked like they enjoyed it but now I know what they really thought!!

Before I go on, Jason's husband and son are the most adorable and gracious people one could ever hope to meet!

Out of all of LA, even seeing 9 to 5: the musical and seeing Nia Vardolos (sp?)(From My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Connie & Carla fame)at 9 to 5: the musical, this lunch was one of the most special moments of the trip thusfar.

Also I just looked at the photo of the lunch and realised that I think I have worn that top every third day


Hello! I missed you guys so much!
We finally made it out of LA, visited Las Vegas for a gambling-free, alcohol-free two days (I know, right?) and I currently sit in my mother's house way outside of Cleveland.
You see, whilst I grew up in the city, my mother grew up on a huge 200 acres which (in current road travel times) is about an hour outside of Cleveland. It was her life goal to build a house on this land, and about 10 years ago, she finally achieved that goal and built a quaint little 2 storey home here.
There are wild turkeys running around and amish buggies trolloping down the dirt road. The leaves are just changing colours now.
But most importantly, she has the internet!!
I have spent a good chunk of the morning catching up on your blogs and thinking about how I am even going to begin to start to share this journey with you. Also, the changes in temperature from super hot desert to early Autumn great lakes has given all of us horrible sinus/weather change issues.
I think first up, before I even start to post about the very beginning of the trip, I start by writing up a post about the Fabulous Lunch I had with The Jason Show, Pumpkin Delight and Grandma J.
PS I know that I should have linked the above blogs, but I am too ill to do so now, but you can link to them from my blog roll and when I tell you about the lunch I will do an excessive amount of links to these fabulous people!