They picked me up at the airport where the warmth felt almost unreal on my Decembered skin, and we got Mexican food and then drove to Los Angeles (how weird is it to have the girls you used to babysit driving you through one of the biggest cities in the country while rocking out to Bikini Kill?) where we had a heck of a time finding parking in Hollywood and watched their cousin's one-woman show that was really, really good and then stayed at her house in Santa Monica where I promptly fell asleep given my body being accustomed to a different time zone.
Her cousin cooked us amazing breakfast and then we walked down through Santa Monica, which I fell in love with, with its beautiful pastel buildings, palm trees, and flowers everywhere even though I know I couldn't afford to live there, and I finally got to dip my feet in the cold Pacific ocean and we walked around eating fresh mandarin oranges and pomegranates which were a whole new kind of delicious before driving back inland, making a stop at the Cabazon dinosaurs for giggling tourist trap purposes.
We went to Joshua Tree the next day, and while I would have loved to get up there earlier than we did, it was incredible to see, those iconic trees, the rocks everywhere that are a completely different landscape, the cactus garden beneath the sunset sky, with the moon rising over the mountains on the other side. We were only here about four hours but I could spend four days here. We drove back through the dark mountains with the luminous moon as jackrabbits darted across the road and I felt damn near euphoric surrounded by all this stark beauty. This was the soundtrack theme for pretty much the entire trip.
The plane ride back was full of golf guys coming from some convention, I was still happy to be home even though it was cold and icy, because the hearts in my city are still warm. My body still hasn't adjusted to the time change, my holidays went by in a blur, but now there's a week off and possible new musical opportunities on the horizon with some friends who dig Bad Brains and Faith No More, and the snow makes all things quiet and beautiful.