Monday, January 14, 2008

Friends and Roses

"The only way to have a friend is to be one" This was the message in my fortune cookie.  On Friday last I went to lunch with some friends.  I had to leave before the fortune cookies came because I had an appointment to have my hair dyed!  One of my friends brought my fortune cookie back to work and left it on my desk.
It made me think about friends, so here is the third installment of Blessed Friends and Family. This has to do with accepting gifts.  Since I am so inclined to be a giver rather than a receiver, it has been rather difficult for me to receive gifts.  One of my dearest friends taught me how to receive gifts without feeling guilty or embarrassed. Well that character trait was tested when my good and blessed friend, Sandy, called one evening to invite me to the Rose Bowl. Her daughter is in the Marching Illini and Sandy did not want to go to California alone.  She offered to fund the entire trip, except for food and incidentals.  At first I thought I can't let her do this,  this is more than I can accept.  But the words of my friend about accepting gifts thankfully without worry, came back to me as Sandy explained why she wanted me to come along with her.    So I gratefully accepted her invitation.  I felt like a dream had come true.  I had never been to California!  And to be able to go with a wonderful friend made the opportunity just to fabulous not to accept.

So I headed off to California on a chartered flight from Willard Airport on December 29, 2007.  It was funny because Sandy and I both were randomly selected for extra security screening.  That meant we were pulled aside and searched while our bags were opened and searched.  That has never happened to me before, but then I rarely travel.  We had a nice flight to California and I had a window seat so I could look out on the lights of cities along the way.

It was dark by the time we got to our hotel and I couldn't see the ocean. We could see the lights of Santa Monica pier though.  We passed a series of displays, on Ocean Street near our hotel, of the Nativity.  So when we checked in and unpacked we walked over to see them.  They were put up by local churches and organizations.  They were really funny because the figures of Joseph, Mary  and everyone else were department store mannequins!  The one where Joseph is guiding Mary on a donkey to Bethelem, was funny because Mary had a bob!   But they were still very nice to look at.  When we awoke the next morning, I stepped out on the balcony for a minute to see the ocean for the first time.  I was so in awe I didn't want to go back in.  But we had to get ready to go down for our welcome breakfast and then off to Pasadena to view the float construction.   Our breakfast was so delicious!  I had bacon  and sausage!, scrambled eggs and the best potatoes and peppers that I have ever eaten, along with fresh grapefruit juice and coffee.

I have so much to say about this trip that I am saving the rest for later blogs!  I kept a travel journal, that my friend Wendy gave me before I went to Scotland.  I didn't realize then that I would get another opportunity to write in it so soon. 

Until tomorrow,  TTFN

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