We loaded our bags (yes...we each had full on BAGS for just one night - and I was glad I'm not the only one who can't pack lightly) into the Explorer and off we went!
The first stop was South Coast Plaza. She had never been to a Sephora (can you imagine???!!) so we went there and touched and played with makeup and product like two 13 year olds. We used to drive the old ladies at the makeup counter in Bullock's Fashion Square crazy doing just that: touching and playing, and trying on. Only this time we actually bought stuff, so it was OK. We wandered and meandered around the main side of the mall, and then we walked across the bridge to the other side. The last time Marion was at South Coast there was NO other side, let alone a bridge with beautiful lights on it. We took pictures like two nerdy tourists, and laughed a lot.
Once on the other side we headed for a store she was introducing me to: The Territory Ahead. I'm in love with this store: gorgeous colors and textures, yummy tweeds and soft cottons. And the leather bags... well, don't even get me started. We shopped and tried on, and shopped some more. AND - we each made purchases, which we admired once we went to the Westin and checked in. Marion is one of the very rare people I actually enjoy shopping with. I always have. We would make a day of it: shopping and lunch.
But back to our girls night: we checked into our room, and I was regretting mightily that I'd refused LaMar's offer to make a reservation at Maggiano's. The wait was 1 1/2 hours... Same at P.F.Chang at Fashion Island. We got lucky at the Cheesecake Factory: only a 15 minute wait. We made use of the time by taking more pictures of ourselves, and admiring the clothes and shell mirrors in the windows at Gary's Island. FINALLY we ate, and talked and talked and talked... I'm afraid I forced her to order (and share) the Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake, but oh, yes - it was worth it. Yes, indeed - yum yum yum.
After dinner, each being 55 years, we were really tired. So it wasn't the crazy ladies night out of yesteryear, but it was just what we wanted. We went back to the room and compared Sephora purchases. We washed our faces, she sympathized with my zit and swollen ankle, I commiserated with her about her sensitive skin, and we talked for another couple of hours. We kept saying "I'm tired, but I'm not sleepy" until finally we were. We both snored (but just lightly, I'm sure) (oh, the joys of getting older) and I laughed in my sleep and woke her up.(Please forgive me posting the pic of you in your jammies, but it reminded me of when we had slumber parties years ago. So cute!)
When we got up - oh happy day - we are BOTH breakfast eaters! We headed again for South Coast Plaza to the OTHER side across the bridge and had a wonderful leisurely breakfast, after which we shopped a little more.
Reading back over this, I realize it doesn't sound like much. But how do you describe the time spent reconnecting with your oldest and best friend, and make it sound as wonderful and spiritually renewing as it is? We both felt as if we could have spent days and days, and never have gotten it all said. So we'll store up this memory and take it out from time to time to warm us when life is a little cold. We'll connect by phone, and hopefully, if we're very lucky and the stars align, we'll get to do this again soon - either here, or San Luis Obispo (where her mom lives) or in Washington, where she lives. Even though we're both getting on in years, she will always be to me the same beautiful girl and treasured friend I've been lucky enough to have since I was 11 years old. I love you, Marion - thank you so much for coming - I can't wait until next time!