Journal Entry # 41 - Road Entry#31 (Guest Office - La Canada, CA - 6:56pm - November 6, 2010)

Saturday Morning Cartoons (with sophistication?)

I woke up after a short sleep to my iPhone "Duck" alarm at 7:30am. I had promised dad that I would go with him to the gym, breakfast, and temple in the morning before an afternoon with my college friend - Griff - in Santa Monica. I had called Griff a week before when I was in Santa Monica with my mom. I remembered that Griff had been living down there after graduating from Oregon in 2008. Griff was a member of the frequently fined and penalized in our dorm-hall freshman year, dubbed the "Debusk Hall Bandits".

More on our time together later...

Dad and I got together at the gym where we worked out for a quick 35-45 minutes before heading back to his place for a shower and wardrobe change. We hurried out the door to Panera Bread bakery for a breakfast panini - something he enjoys thoroughly. We drove to OhrHaTorah temple in Santa Monica - a new location for the synagogue, their first privately owned establishment in 20 years. Growing up, OhrHaTorah was a congregation of jews that would meet in churches across the basin of Los Angeles. The management of the congregation would rent out certain churches on Saturdays so that the jewish community and Rabbi Finely could come together and practice our reform religion. It was a modest, educational, and memorable experience for me as a child while leading up to Bar-Mitzvah. But now as I stepped into their own/owned temple, I wondered what the 'Jewish-Church 90's' were like for the hundreds of due-paying members.

The service went by fairly quickly as I sat there with dad and some of the other members of the congregation. A portion of the services came along where Rabbi Finely asks if there are any visitors or new members sitting in the congregation. As I considered myself neither - I didn't think of standing up. My father, on the other hand, can't wait to reintroduce me to my once frequented congregation and jewish community. He proclaimed that I was back from college - and I had just graduated. I could tell that he was happy and proud I was there - and it seemed to me as if he was "showing me off". I didn't feel completely comfortable standing up there and accepting his declarations because they weren't detail-oriented. I hadn't just graduated from college. I hadn't moved back to Los Angeles.

So I chimed in, "That's not true".
I said to the congregation that I had graduated a year ago and I was visiting for a couple of weeks - both accurate statements from my perception.

And as I type this, I realize that it was dad's perception that I had just graduated college and had been moving back to LA because I shipped all of my belongings back to Los Angeles (as part of the adventure scheme-of-things).

The services ended with a kiddush and ha-motzi as usual - and then I started talking with a group of dad's friends in the congregation. I didn't recognize anyone there except for the Rabbi and his wife - Merav. The three of us talked for a couple of minutes about my adventures and travels - and then about Merav's son - Kayetz' - and his adventures and travels in Spain (teaching english).

Needles to say, I had a pretty good time overall and was glad I got to spend some time with dad at the services in which we used to spend every Saturday morning for 9 or 10 years.

I remember it being a hot day and I decided to bring a change of clothes in the car because I didn't want to continue wearing jeans and a dress-shirt all morning. I changed while trying to get in touch with Griff for the lunch and the days-journey we would embark on.

Griff told me to meet him at the cafe he had been at on Lincoln Blvd. I drove there, Dad following me in his car. The three of us would pick Baby Blue BBQ on Lincoln for lunch. It was great to catch-up with him and enjoy some sweet BBQ together. Dad was kind enough to pick up the tab as we all split an assortment of ribs, chicken, cole-slaw, corn, mac-n-cheese, and sweet tea. (This was just a precursor to the authentic BBQ I would be having on the next part of my September adventures in "the south").

Griff explained how he was now working at a law-firm as a paralegal. Working and saving money in order to pay those bills and possibly get another car (he got into a car-wrecking accident earlier that month). He is currently on a bike in the Santa Monica area and sporadically borrows friend's vehicles for longer distance trips and hauling. Griff lives in a communal home with a big green "fake" cactus in Santa Monica. After lunch, we said bye to dad and picked up a couple of beach cruisers at his place for a day at the beach. At first, we rode all the way down to Marina Del Rey and the old house I was a baby in, from age 2-4. We rode around the Santa Monica and Venice boardwalk as well as got to the water for a bit.

When we got in the water, I asked Griff if he knew how to body-surf. I was surprised when he said "no" because he had been living by the beach for a while now and is a man of continuous adventure, relationship-building, and knowledge-building. I then proceeded to try and teach him the fundamentals of body-surfing. It was a blast to be back in the Pacific Ocean and on the remarkable beaches of Southern California.

We must of spent 4 or 5 hours together talking, biking, body-surfing, walking, and sharing. We got back to Griff's house and I then invited him to ride over to Brentwood with me. Griff respectfully declined and I felt that we wound up content with our time together. (I should give him a call now). I was off to meet up with my old college roommate Andy and his girlfriend Abbie.

Andy, a Portland native, had been living in the southern California area for the past 7 or 8 months. He moved down his stuff in his white GMC truck and started working in a construction business with a relative or friend from Abbie's family. Abbie, a Orange County native, and Duck Alumni, is now living in Brentwood with her sister and her friend while studying towards a masters in public health.

Abbie's sister is Emily and her boyfriend's name is Phillip. I met Emily, Phillip, and the other two at their apartment before dinner. We ventured off to Whilshire Blvd. to Hara Sushi for a relatively inexpensive sushi dinner and japanese saki (and saki-bombs). Hara Sushi caters to the UCLA student population and delivers very low prices for slightly above-average sushi. I remember it being a windy night as we stood outside while waiting for our table.

After dinner, the 5 of us went to Q's Billiards Sports Bar and Lounge for some drinks and for Emily's friend to meet up with us. I was enthralled with idea of drinking with the gang, so I just innocently flirted with the waitress and drank one beer. It wasn't a miraculous and spectacular night out as I proceeded to get dry-eyes from the ocean, sun, heat, and dehydration. I was getting exponentially tired as the night progressed and we all called it quits at midnight. I slept on a very comfy couch in the living room of their apartment.

Wake up to the sound of...