Sunday, January 24, 2010


A couple of weeks before flying out to the City of Angels, and it really IS the City of Angels when the Pub Princesses descend on it, and you can laugh at that if you want, I understand your mirth, I e-mailed everyone I could find on the guest list and said, "My cousin turns 50 this year, and on Saturday, I would love it if you could show up at the Getty Center about 1:30.  Cathi, Vicky, and I will get Tracy there about 2:00, and we'll surprise her!  Bring a card if you don't mind so she can put it in her keepsake book!  Hope to see you there!"  Every with no previous plans was onboard for this little surprise, and about twenty of them made their way down the freeway, walked all the way across the lawn to the gardens to wait...and waited...and waited...and waited.

Cathi and I stalled Tracy at our hotel for quite awhile.  We walked her like a poodle.  We went to the pool and did "senior citizens aerobics."  Cathi had us running backwards around the pool (it's really good for your balance but really hurts your ass when you trip over a pool chair.  Apparently you are supposed to somehow be coordinated enough to also watch behind  you while you do this enticing exercise).  When our backwards jog did not kill enough time, Vicky was on her way and driving to The Getty, because we asked her to, we decided to have a little photo shoot by the Birds of Paradise.  Upon a panicked "We're-gonna-be-too-early-if-we-go-now" look from Cathi with a C, I found a gorgeous red car in the parking lot that totally took my breath away.  I had to have pictures, I had to check it out, and here it is: 
Pretty, isn't she?  As I was checking out this car, Vicky, she's the woman standing behind Cathi and Tracy in the photo above, drove up, and we then needed to go back up to the room to grab purses and other things, and needed to stall maybe 15 more minutes. We strolled to the front door of the hotel, and I suddenly had brain freeze and pushed the button in the elevator to take us all the way to the fifth floor instead of stopping on the second.  Some might think this was enough over the top to tip Tracy that something was going on, but it wasn't.  Totally expected that I would do that.  I am a easily distracted.

Once upstairs, Vicky quietly suggested we leave in about ten minutes.  She sat down in a chair and this is not over the top, either, for any of us, we got a little lost in talking.  We all four could talk for at least 24 hours without running out of topics, usually, but on that day, the conversation lagged and finally it was time to go.

As is normal for LA, you cannot ever predict the traffic, so as we pulled onto the freeway Vicky audibly gulped as we looked forward and saw so many cars in all six lanes going our direction, that it was effectively "iced over like sheet cake."

When in that situation, as everyone knows, you might as well relax, so acting as if nothing was wrong, as if we had all day to get there and no reason to be in a hurry, acting as if there were not 20 people tapping their feet and wondering where we were, we crept forward.  Finally, on the shoulder of the freeway, came a tow truck.  We all looked at one another and sighed, and chose a new subject of conversation.

We were only about 30 minutes late when the traffic broke loose, and miracle of miracles, we could see the entrance to the Getty Center.  There was an audible sigh of relief in the Prius which was quickly replaced by frustration when the line into the parking garage came into view, then again when we got into the parking garage and drove around and around for another 20 minutes to find a parking space.  I think the three of us were gritting our teeth to keep from yelling, "WHY ARE ALL YOU PEOPLE HERE??"  Once parked, though, we were on our way.  Rushing Tracy toward the entrance, we were intrigued looking almost straight up the side of a mountain to the beautiful architecture of the museum.  I was excited to get up there by then, not only for Tracy's surprise, but because it looked gorgeous! 

But then, we encountered the line waiting for the tram up the mountain.  Vicky, wasting no time, pulled us all off to the side and asked an employee of the center, "How long does it take to get on the tram?"  "It's only about a 20-minute wait right now."  Vicky said, "How long does it take to walk?"

Now, when I tell you she looked skeptically at the four of us, none of us exactly looking like we spend a lot of time in the gym, and said, "It's a five-degree grade, about a 15-minute walk." 

Vicky took our hands, afraid we were going to bolt for the tram line, and off we hiked.  It was a beautiful walk, I have to admit, and Tracy and I were stopping to snap photos every few minutes.  I am going to post a couple of pictures of the grounds here now.

I called this Fern Gulley.

This was the central garden where all our people were waiting.  If you had to wait, to have this to look at was a good diversion!

This was my favorite sculpture on the way up that big hill.

After making it up the hill, we had to just get up!

"Hey, look, I MADE IT!"

And once we got there, we turned the corner and Tracy finally realized what all that talking, strolling, old peoples' aerobics session led by Cathi, and hill climbing had been for.  Tears sprung to her eyes immediately as the group, and all of them waited patiently for us because they are just fantastic, awesome, big-hearted people, yelled, "Surprise, Tracy!" 

Cards were handed out and the relaxed tone of the day was set as we all broke into a loud version of "Happy Birthday," much to the surprise, and possibly horror, of all the non-birthday princes and princesses enjoying a beautiful LA Saturday at The Getty Center.

After a group picture was snapped, we headed out to tour the beautiful gardens and find the cafeteria for a lunch on the patio overlooking the city.  Next chapter I will post a few pictures of some of the flowers, the sun, and other things. 

What a wonderful day, what a great group of friends!  What a way to turn 50!


Magpie said...

Such a wonderful surprise! And such awesome friends. I love the photos!

Tracy said...

You and the others gave me one of the greatest gifts you could have given me. You've helped me overcome my biggest fear: What if I gave a party and nobody came? xxoo

Cathi said...

That was alot of fun....!! Despite the fact that you thought we were trying to kill you walking up the time it's Fryman Canyon for you, baby...let the whining begin! xxoo

YaYa said...

I thought you guys would never get there!!! Guess I forgot I was in LA and you were on the Freeway... Anyway, it was great and I am so glad to have been there!!