- Friday - leave for the airport at the ass crack of dawn for an 8am EST flight, arrive at LAX around 10:30am PST. Rent a car, drive to hotel, have lunch, nap, meet up with friends for dinner and drinks.
- Saturday - get up early since I'll still be on east coast time, drive to Santa Monica, see the pacific, wander, shop, sit and people watch over a nice lunch by myself, maybe not even bother to bring a book. Drive back to hotel, nap, get ready for wedding. Wedding at 4:30, dinner reception, fall into bed afterwards.
- Sunday - drive an hour to my brother's house, hang out, go see the base, go out to lunch, take a nap at his house, drive to LAX for the red eye home.
- Monday - arrive in DC at the god awful hour of 6:30am EST, drive home, see Natalie, fall into bed.
So I'm looking at the map last night my friend put together for her wedding with all the locatins marked out (including coffee shops and trader joe's b/c she's a dork like that which is why I love her), and I'm checking out the route from LAX to the hotel. I'll drive past studio city and burbank and that cemetery where all the hollywood people are buried. I realize I need to look up where the hollywood sign is up on the hill and make sure I swing by there even if just to get a picture out the car window. I'm starting to get giddy with excitement, and can't imagine getting to go to LA, me, a movie lover, finally see California, get to go to the famous Santa Monica pier, and all that.
Then it hits me. Today we have to go downtown to my office. I'll be a block away from half a dozen Smithsonian museums, including the famous Smithsonian Castle. After a short visit to the office (my boss and I decided cleaning out a filing cabinet together in person would be a lot less painful than trying to do it over the phone, plus I haven't made an appearance in the office in months), I promised Natalie a trip to the zoo afterwards. She requested seeing the tigers and the pandas. We're going to take metro, but if we were driving (which I first planned on doing), our route would take us past Arlington Cemetary, the Lincoln memorial, Independance Ave., the Kennedy Center, the infamous Watergate building, up Beach drive through Rock Creek Park, to the zoo on Connecticut Ave. Would be easy peasy and only a few blocks out of the way (especially if you know which lights have left turn signals and all those other good tricks) to swing by the White House or the Capital.
All these massively American institutions and monuments and semi-famous places that people around the country hear about but no longer cause me to bat an eye. It is pretty cool that they are all in my backyard. I gotta wonder if there isn't some frumpy mom type in California coming east for a friend's wedding, looking forward to being on her own for a change and getting to check out some of these landmarks. I totally know what she's feeling right now.