Visiting California

I just got back from a trip to the Los Angeles area last night and I must say that I had a wonderful time visiting friends & family.  Having lived and gone to school there, I have a lot of fond memories of Southern California.  Although I had planned on visiting with several people and family members during my stay, I wasn't able to see everyone.  The ones I did meet with managed to make my vacation extra special.  Going to cafes and chatting or having a cocktail party with long time friends are among my favorite things to do, but spending quiet moments with my family is what it's all about.

Having quality time with my dear mother and father, along with my brother's family, is what I look forward to whenever I visit Los Angeles.  Picking lemons from dad's many citrus trees and bringing home a suitcase full of them is always a pleasure, because I get to use them as soon as I return to Pennsylvania.  Cooking Christmas dinner with mother and recounting the many times we've made these meals or sharing a laugh over a cup of tea & a freshly baked cookie, never gets boring for either one of us.  I'm grateful for these special moments because it is then that I get some pearl of wisdom from mom; I love her immensely. 

My younger brother and his wife always manage to make me laugh on these visits.  Even though we talk on a weekly basis, it's great catching up with them at the dining table over a glass or two of wine.  We're into Pinots at the moment, but any good wine is welcomed.  Then of course we come to their children.  Being an uncle has always been a Good Thing for me.  Spoiling them with lots of love and attention, along with baked goods & gifts has its rewards for me.  I get to see wonderful smiles and laughs that light up the room and brighten my days.  I love my niece and my nephews; they mean the world to me and always will.  Although I visit once or twice a year, leaving them and saying goodbye is always bittersweet. 

It's always during take off that I pause to reflect on the time spent there; I recall the things I did, the things I wanted to do but didn't accomplish and the missed opportunities.  I think about my loved ones and what each & every one of them means to me.  I think about the future and what I want it to be.  The new year is upon us and although I don't make resolutions like most people do, I hope it's filled with more auspicious conditions for all of us. 

I took a few pictures from my window seat yesterday while departing Los Angeles.  I hope you enjoy them.

The plane is climbing over the Pacific Ocean on a warm, sunny day, with the cliffs of Rancho Palos Verdes Estates on the left & the tip of Catalina Island on the upper right.  I love this sight.

As the airlpane banks to the left, we get an overview of the coast line.  Los Angeles International Airport can be seen on the left hand side (it's the open space along the coast).

Rancho Palos Verdes, blue skies and beautiful water.

A broad view of the Los Angeles basin.  This is home to so many people I love.

Downtown Los Angeles.  What a skyline.

Downtown Long Beach.  Do you see the Queen Mary on the bottom left?  The large dome next to the ship houses the Spruce Goose designed by Howard Hughes.

As the plane goes over Los Angeles, it's scale is evidently immense.  Traveling at night, the city lights up the sky for miles on end.  I love you Los Angeles!

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year!