Journal Entry # 42 - Road Entry#32 (Guest Office - La Canada, CA - 5:51pm - November 9, 2010)

Wake up to the sound of Andy brushing his teeth. It is Sunday morning in Brentwood.

I make my way to brushing my teeth as well - and then rally with Abbie and Andy to walk down the street to the Coffee Bean. A change of heart and stomach cravings occurred when approaching coffee and then saw the Jamba Juice across the street. The three of us roughly spent an hour together in the morning. Andy had to drive back down south to Orange County and Abbie scheduled a brunch date with co-workers.

I didn't have an itinerary like usual, and decided to drive south to a part of the coast for the day. I didn't have an inclination that I would end up in Hermosa Beach for the day.

It was a smooth ride down the 405 freeway to Hermosa. The attempt to find parking near the beach wasn't as smooth. It took me a total of 7 minutes to find parking, too long if you know my average time of parking-karma. The fortunate part of driving the PT Cruiser and having an oblivious brother is a skateboard leftover in the trunk of the car. I used it to skate down from my parking spot to a breakfast place on the main street in Hermosa Beach. It was called 'Crepe de la Creme'. As you might guess, they specialized in breakfast crepes. The interesting tid-bit is that the Hoyt/Goldsmith family favorite is crepes for breakfast on Sunday. My mom would frequent the skillet on Sundays with a great crepe recipe.

I took a table for one in the thick of the crowded restaurant. Every table was occupied with 2-4-6 people. I knew I was in for a great breakfast here.

My waiter asked for my drink order first with a French accent. I was surprised to hear those english words come out like that. The authenticity was in full-effect at this place. The art, architecture, flatware, and decor seemed as if it was taking from the opening scene of 'Inglorious Bastards'. The country French that we are all so familiar with.

I just ordered a water with lemon and the waiter's recommendation of the day - Brie Crepes with spinach, mushroom, and onion. I am not picky with food - I usually order the waiter's recommendation.

Delicious.

After being completely satisfied, I bid the server and the kitchen staff with an "au revoir" and "merci beaucoup". It was the least I could do after being in Montreal the previous month. It was Sunday, August 29, 2010.

The day started to warm up even more, allowing for a great day down at the beach. I took my heavy stomach and limbs back to the skateboard - further down the street to the boardwalk. I started to skate the boardwalk for a while. I went as south as possible and as north as possible: extending my adventure to the limits of Hermosa Beach (bordering Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach, respectively).

I then found a spot on the beach, opened the travel-chair, and started reading. I am still currently reading the same book - The Brothers K - taking my sweet time even though I enjoy reading it. After an hour or so, I knew I had to apply sunblock to my body, to protect me from those harsh souther california rays. I walked to the nearest towel to my location - a lovely blonde woman sunbathing with that bronzing tan oil. I asked her if she could help me with my back and shoulders. She obliged and we started talking.

Her name was Danielle and she was from Utica, Ohio. She explained that she had been living in Los Angeles for a couple years after going to Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. She worked for Verizon Wireless as a sales management trainee and wasn't very interesting. I became quickly uninterested and she the same.

I then took a dip in the water - swimming from my lifeguard tower area to the next one up the beach. It was nice to get back in the Pacific Ocean once again. I never regret swimming in the ocean, it is enjoy-full and brings back so many great childhood memories.

The swim was followed with a little impromptu yoga on my beach towel (disclaimer: I had never taking a Yoga class and didn't know any proper technique). I was basically attempting yoga on my beach towel from what I had seen in media, the gym, and what I might have thought was yoga.

The beach was littered with volleyball players, football games amongst friends, ladies sunbathing, and kids making sand-castles. I wanted to get in on a game of beach volleyball - but didn't realize that time was escaping me and had to drive back to dad's house in North Hollywood. It was when I finally checked my cell phone to realize I had 4 missed calls and it was later in the day then I had perceived. I was skating up and down the boardwalk again for fun when I did check my phone.

I proceeded to take a shower on the beach and then get to the car for the drive back. I got to dad and Dede's house for dinner, the Emmy's, and then bed. I was somewhat tired from the sun and passed out around 11pm. It was a fantastic day of internal thoughts, cognitive solitude, and limited social interactions.

The next morning, I got up with dad at 7:30AM and we made our way to the gym. I had a meeting with 'Eric the Trainer' at 9:00AM - but the gym wouldn't allow me to work out there because of liability reasons. I wasn't a member of the gym and had outstayed my welcome as a guest with my dad. It was fine with me, I just optioned to run before the meeting as dad stayed in the gym. I decided to run around the Burbank airport perimeter for a workout. It was a very industrial run. I had a good run though, but in area I don't prefer.

I came back to the gym and met with Eric about EFX balance bands. EFX balance bands are these rubber wrist bands that supposedly improve your stamina, balance, and efficiency in athletic and daily performance. Eric was interested in my travel-adventure-life, and how it might be beneficial for the company. He wanted me to sign up to be a brand ambassador and a traveling salesman for the balance bands. He was convinced that I could help myself and the company increase it's product presence in the southeast and south. That was the next portion of my adventures, and I wasn't too excited to be representing a company that I had no idea about and didn't believe in.

I say I didn't believe in it because I tried the sport-band for a couple of days, and didn't see an significant improvement in my athletic performance, training, and stamina. I also found the wrist band to be detrimental to the flexibility and strength in my wrist and fingers. I also didn't believe these bands were necessary as I had lost weight, and increased my performance without them already.

I respectfully declined the option to be a part of the EFX team. I then proceeded to have breakfast with dad and talk about the 'EFX' & 'PowerBands' difference for an hour or so. I then drove back to La Canada.

After getting settle back in La Canada, mom and I decided to get some lunch and go see a movie together. I suggested the movie 'Flipped' in Sherman Oaks. It was only playing at a handful of theaters in the souther california area - Sherman Oaks being the closest location.

Mom and I got lunch at In-N-Out. It was my second time at an In-N-Out while weighing 205 pounds. Fast food is not a desirable option anymore. I would rather spend more time in the grocery store and taking food back home to cook and prepare. In response to the situation at hand, I order a hamburger (no cheese) with no buns (protein style at In-N-Out). Mom followed suit with my order and also got a vanilla shake.

We ate the food and went to the movie together. Mom wanted to spend the days with me before I flew out Wednesday morning to Charlotte. We love going to movies together. This movie, 'Flipped', was a story of a childhood relationship in the late 1950's, early 1960's. It was a simple romantic comedy with a modest cast. The story of the movie was narrated by both the boy and the girl of the relationship. There was strong imagery, foreshadowing, and life-lessons built in to the story and film. I loved how simple everything seemed in the movie's story and setting.

When we got out of the theater, mom revealed that she enjoyed the film as well. I was happy with the afternoon with mom, lunch, and movie. Then a buzzing ringtone went off in my pocket. It was a reminder that I had a fantasy-football draft that day at 5:00PM. I got convinced into playing this fantasy-football league by Chip and Sam back in Charlotte two weeks prior. I chipped my $20 into the pot of the league and was committed to winning the money. I look at it as an gambling opportunity and win $200. I can say now that I have no right in being in this league with these guys. I am not that interested and dislike the NFL with a passion.

So Mom and I found a cafe on Venture Blvd. in the Sherman Oaks area with free WiFi. I had my laptop with me, and proceeded to draft my fantasy football team for the next hour. The draft ended as the cafe closed. We drove back to La Canada, had a Grilled-Cheese/Tomato Soup dinner with Paul, and prepared for bed. I wrote the blog for an hour or so before going to bed.

Tuesday - August 31, 2010

I remember being excited this day. So excited to get back on the road, out of Los Angeles, and in Charlotte with Sam in preparation for his wedding day!

I woke up and ran from 10:30-11:30AM (that included stretching time as well). Breakfast was prepared as I got done with stretching. Mom made these delicious Corn-Basil Pancakes that she learned from Linda (down the street). She also made eggs and cut fruit for me - I was so lucky to have a fantastic breakfast. We ate together, talked, and then prepared for our trip down to the beach once again. Mom loves going to the beach with Ben and I. We drove to the ocean and then started driving up PCH to Malibu. We decided on the drive that we would go to Paradise Cove. It was an familiar and small beach in the thick of the Malibu community. What we didn't know was that it had changed dramatically since we had last been back. It was now designed and catered to the affluent beach-goers of the area. We used to go there 10 years ago - and it was relatively cheap to park there.

The Paradise Cove beach is now $20 to park - and there is a two-drink minimum or something. To me, premier exclusivity is completely overrated. Nonetheless, mom said it was acceptable and we went to the beach there. We spent some time on the beach, reading and talking. Then got a shrimp cocktail, along with two cocktails before leaving the beach at 4 or 5pm.

I am now looking at my notes - and I find it funny that I wrote, "Resort/Private Beach Bull$h!7".

We drove back to Studio City - the old stomping grounds - and went to Out-Take-Cafe on Ventura Blvd. Dad met mom and I there for dinner. It was somewhat of another sendoff dinner before my flight to Charlotte the next morning. We talked the month's logistics, excitement, and communication methods --- the three of us together. I think it put them at ease once again. We talked for a while and enjoyed a fantastic dinner together before going back to La Canada with mom. I called Jake to invite he and Jay to the house. I hadn't seen him since June and we had developed a strong friendship in Oregon - although he is one of Ben's best friends. (Ben is my brother).

Jay and Jake came over around 9:30PM and we sat down in mom's office together. Mom, Jay, Jake, and I all caught up together. It was fun and exciting to talk about a bunch of different subjects: Duck Football, women, travels, Benjamin's antics/life, personal goals, professional goals, etc.

Jay, Jake and I then went to Penguins Yogurt shop in La Canada. Jake was the only one to get a frozen yogurt. The three of us sat down on the patio furniture there and talked some more - until 11:00PM. I gave them more details of my adventure life there, before Jake drove me back to my house. It was time to sleep before the flight back to North Carolina - and another month of life on the road.

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