I have often resented working simply for the fact that it keeps me from doing many other things I'd love to do. I figured, "No day like today," and have been jumping at every opportunity to do what I can while I can.
What can I do? Attend the Ellen DeGeneres show in Burbank, CA! I managed to get a ticket and plotted from there. I also now have the direct number for the audience coordinator for the Ellen show, mwahaha!
I started the trip by stopping for a night in Vegas to visit my old roommate, Bepa. She showed me the non-strip sights - including, but not limited to, the ghetto classroom at the elementary school she teaches for. After attending church with her and witnessing a lovely Vegas-church debate about modesty, I headed for my hotel in LA.
Monday morning (November 5), I was ironing my clothes and such ready for my 5th TV talk show appearance (others include Jane Pauley, Montel Williams, the View, and David Letterman). I received a phone call from the folks at Ellen letting me know that, due to the writers' strike, the taping was cancelled. NOOOO!!!! I saw a little bit of my dream swirling around the flushing toilet of hope. Then I realized the nice lady was offering me tickets for the recording the next day. YES! So what did I do the rest of the day?
I drove around LA for awhile, which led me to a shopping center with a very premature display of a three-story Christmas tree. Such an abomination. What happened to Thanksgiving? Around 2pm, I picked up my friend Takeshi from work and he directed me around LA - showing me Beverly Hills, the LA temple, Santa Monica Beach, and culminating with treating me to an exotic dinner at a Korean Barbeque. If you have never been, you simply must find one. They bring the raw meat to your table, at which there is a grill imbedded in the table, and you cook it yourself! Spectacular!
Tuesday was Ellen. She's friggin' awesome. Why Ellen? Last year when I was going through what has been the hardest time of my life, I felt I was lifting the weight of the world if I even tried to smile. Somehow, whenever I watched Ellen, I would always end up smiling, maybe even laughing. She will never know what a light in the darkness she was for me, but I know and I know that ever since those times I have desperately desired to attend her show. Our celebrity guest, Vince Vaughn, was prerecorded, so we didn't see any celebrities, but I really didn't care because I was there for Ellen! We received a Starbucks gift basket with a $25 gift card! I gave away my coffee being as I don't drink the stuff, but free money is always fun!
After the show, I drove up to Lake Isabella, California to spend the night with my old roommate and dear friend, Krissy. She stayed up late with me talking despite her exhaustion from taking care of her little girl. I miss those days:-) The next day she showed me around her hometown and took me to her parents' house where she grew up. We parted ways after she treated me to a yummy lunch at her favorite local Mexican place. The area she lives in is spectacular. I mean, where else does a community advertise one of the perks of moving there as "Paved roads!!!" Yes, it was in the middle of nowhere, but that means an amazingly beautiful drive back to a major highway!!!!
Wednesday night I stayed in Vegas with Bepa again. She works full time teaching at an inner-city school, then has Master's program schooling full time, but found time to meet me on the strip for watching the Bellagio fountains and scarfing some gellato. While at the fountains, we were blessed to hear some cowboys ranting about how that was their first night in Vegas. We giggled to ourselves, being judgemental in our heads and sharing knowing glances at each other, then were graced with an amazing event - watching them walk away. Seriously, those guys had just dismounted their horses about 2 minutes ago, I believe, and must have been riding them for at least 12 hours. I have never seen such a walk in all my life! Thank heavens for small, amusing favors and bow-legged cowboys!
I returned home pretty early Thursday morning, sighing as I exited in Provo. Back to life, back to reality.