Monday, April 20, 2009

Garden party

The other day Donita invited me to go here to the Huntington Library/Museum/Gardens with her.  She knows we've had lots of stuff to deal with here at the homefront and thought me getting out would be a good thing.  She was right. 

Usually my weekends are pretty boring (which is ok by me) but this weekend I was going ALL weekend.  Sat day = getting the daughter ready for prom , Sat evening = going to see Donita, husband, son and BIL play music and I didn't get to bed til 1:30 a.m.  Sunday = the gardens and then we got a call from friends to meet them for dinner.  Got home around 9:45 p.m. last night.  Whew.

Last Wed the weather was about 40 degrees and the wind was icy cold.  Sat and Sun the temps were 99.  Hot.  I actually SHAVED my legs so I could wear capris.  I made the mistake of not shaving my armpits - I should have, but I didn't.

The drive out was nice because I trust Donita's driving (I don't trust a lot of peeps driving) so I just sat back and relaxed.  I hate, hate, hate driving so just sitting there was relaxing.

We get there and just driving thru the neighborhoods in Pasadena is beautiful.  A lot of 1900 to 1950's homes, very lush, very homey.  We get to the gardens entrance and wheeeee, it's already so pretty.

First we hit the museums.  Some cool stuff: A Gutenberg bible in a written word, reading exhibit.  An Abe Lincoln exhibit that was pretty cool too.  One missive had a lock of his hair attached to it.  I found that to be a little odd, because someone took some after he died and sent it to someone.

We went to the art museum next.  Very french (very small Versailles in feeling).  A lot of inlaid and carved furniture, vases, silver, tapestries, and a  huge number of oil paintings of every size imaginable.  

Blue Boy is there, Pinky is there! Both paintings are huge.  Funny how you get in your mind the size and when you see them they are either larger or smaller than you thought they'd be.

We left the inside (and the coolness factor) and walked/hiked the grounds.  The gardens are incredible.  Broken into different types of gardens, my favorties were: The Japanese garden, the Shakespeare garden, the Tropical garden, the Desert garden.  

It's a good time to see the gardens, lots and lots of blooms every where.

I'd thought ahead and wore my knee brace and it was a good thing I did.  This was the first time I'd really walked a lot and my knee was bothered a lot.  My hips too.  I should have taken Advil but didn't think that far in advance.  LOL.  When you get to the outlying gardens there are small hills to climb so wear comfy walking shoes.

Donita suggested I wear a hat because it was hot and very sunny.  Really good suggestion.  I grabbed my wide brimmed hat and it did help although hats tend to trap heat at my head (I think I have an extra hot head) even while they help shade me.

I'm not supposed to spend time in the sun, per my doctor.  Not because of skin cancer but because UV light can trigger an autoimmune response.  Usually I limit my time in the sun because I know a day or two later I'm going to pay for it.  I could tell the heat and sun were not my friend because I started to feel ill towards the end of the day.

It was mostly the heat rather than an AI response.  If my feet get really hot, I start getting really hot (same with cold) and my feet were burning up & I was feeling nauseous.  Socks and tennis shoes is not my usual fare in the heat of the summer, my feet need to breathe!  And since I didn't have the gumption to shave my armpits I couldn't remove my 3/4 shirt and wear just my tank top...which is also a double whammy because the shirt also helps me stay out of the sun more than a tank top.  ye gawds, by this time my knee was also starting to complain and nag at me.

After sitting down for a few mins I saw a bathroom and decided to go stick my feet in cold water.  I have pretty strong thighs so I stood on one foot and stuck the other in the cold water coming out of the sink faucet.  That really helped get my body temp down.  Hahahaha, I had to laugh that people could see the old lady balancing on one foot, the other stuck in the sink.  

I'm a color, fragrance, lush type of flower person.  I really enjoyed all the splashes of color.  I also enjoyed the quiet calmness of the asian gardens.  I was surprised to see how much I loved the colors of the desert garden.  This is one of the largest desert gardens I've ever walked thru.  Usually a desert garden is pretty sparse.  This garden was hugely lush with giant cactus and succulents.  The colors were incredible, lime greens with cool teal-ish succulents, yellows and oranges.  Because there were so many the swatches of color were the first thing I noticed.  I'm not big on the look of cacti/succulents but this was color!

I often get a peculiar feeling while walking thru deserty environments.  It's so prehistoric or something.  And there is this false sense of softness to some of the cactus, and if you've ever petted a soft looking cactus (they do exist) you won't do it a second time.  You'll be picking out sharp hairlike pokey things out of your fingers/hand for days.  

So I was hot, hot, hot again and while I loved being in that garden (next time it will be the first garden I go to) I needed to get out of there.  No shade at all.  I would have loved to go down a few more paths in that garden.  

Ya know even tho the weather was too hot, my knee too dicey I had a great time.  We didnt' chatter the entire time, we hung out and soaked in the nature of growing things.  I loved the streams (soooo wanted to wade in them), the koi in ponds, the color, the textures, the coolness of the bamboo forests, the fragrance!   

After I got home, we got a call from K & J: they wanted to go to dinner.  We went.  When I told K what I'd done that day she said: "No fair!  You should have called me, I want to go there in the worst way!"  This is a great way to spend a day, although probably without children.  Unless they are stroller age.  I think it would be fab if all the girls in my various groups go there and have tea.  They have a tea lunch in the rose garden.  That would be a fun pasttime.

Thank you Donita for a great stress-relieving day.  I've got some pictures to post, but it will be later.  I've got to get my rested up butt to work! 


Donita Curioso said...

I had a great time. Beautiful gardens and very good company. Shall we try again in the fall? Cooler weather and different colors and textures. And yeah, I'd skip the museum next time. The gardens are what I find most inspiring.

I looked up my palm tree. The common name is Fishtail Palm. Gonna git me one.

Donita Curioso said...

Oh wow, we missed the conservatory. I didn't even know they had one!