We didn't see much of each other those three years, even when I took a day job as the regional editor at the A-J (and was able to quit the part-time admin job).
When Steve graduated in May 1997, he was recruited by Arthur Andersen to be a consultant in their health care practice. He worked one 80-hour-week in the downtown Dallas office and then left town for a year-long job in Los Angeles followed by a two-year job in St. Louis. He was gone Monday through Thursday or Friday every week for three years.
I worked nights at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before I finally convinced the Dallas Morning News to hire me.
We didn't see much of each other those three years, either.
When our schedules finally aligned in 2000, we were a little worried that we wouldn't get along. Then we realized those first few years of independence were exactly what we needed. We developed our own interests and friendships -- and then had the privilege to share them with each other.
With all that in mind, when it was time to choose this year's I-can't-be-home-over-Labor-Day-weekend destination, Los Angeles was an easy choice.
I wanted to share LA with Cooper and Katie. It was an important city to Steve and me. And Gretchen, one of my dearest friends, lives there now. We met at the Avalanche-Journal long ago.
So, Gretchen and her boyfriend, Anthony, showed us LA. We stayed in their darling Pasadena home and let them drive us all around.
A glimpse at some of the fun:
|Katie couldn't get enough of LA -- or Anthony's convertible. She screamed, laughed or sang the entire ride to and from the farmers market.|
|At the market, she joined in a jam session led by a musician dude. Doesn't she look right at home?|
|Who did we find at the Getty Center? Uncle Jim! He was in town for the Disneyland Half Marathon and drove up from Anaheim to meet us at the museum. (For those who don't yet know -- Uncle Jim has moved from Houston to the DC area for a new job.)|
|Anthony and Gretchen kept us busy for three full days of fun.|
|Oh, I love the beach. This is my view of Cooper and Katie playing at a Malibu beach. They jumped waves for three hours.|
|I still get weepy when I see a photo of the three of us. I'm so thankful for Katie and Cooper. And I miss Steve Damm so very, very much.|
|We rode the roller coaster at the Santa Monica Pier. Katie and Anthony held their arms high.|
|The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles has an incredible, newly renovated Dino Hall.|
|Handsome Cooper was fascinated by the La Brea Tar Pits.|