Monday, May 01, 2006

Heidi's Birthday Party

The Malibu home of Ron & Kristin Turner.

Two of our closest personal friends are Heidi Sullivan & Tom Hozduk. Sunday was Heidi's birthday, so, together with our other friends, Kristin and Ron Turner, we threw a surprise party for her at the Turner's beautiful home in Malibu (which Ron, who is a world class architect designed himself -- he and his firm designed, among other things, the Staples Center here in Los Angeles). The morning fog was somewhat thick over the coastline so, at first there wasn't much to take pictures of until, suddenly, a line of 12 Lotus automobiles came careening past us.

I grabbed my camera and took a few shots. I don't think I've ever seen 12 Lotuses in my life, much less all in one caravan up PCH.


Malibu is one of those strange beachside cities/drives that is mostly ugly because the beach is cut off from view by a series of what looks like run-down shacks (but which cost millions of dollars). It's like driving down the alleyway of a slum with a rising hill on one side and a long series of shacks on the other. Shacks with Mercedes' parked out front, but still shacks. The mountainside rises up right from the highway so the most of the people in Malibu either live directly on the beach or up in the hills. Ron and Kristin live up in the hills.

Unfortunately, these hills also have landslides, so the mountain roads are somewhat treacherous. They narrow to one lane in about three places leading up to the Turners. At one point, we stopped at a stop sign erected at a place where the road was cut down to one lane. On the other side is a blind curve. We crept into the left hand lane to get up the mountain when suddenly 10 bicycle riders came at us out of nowhere. There was no wasy for them to realize that their lane didn't belong to them anymore and we saw several of them panic as they realized we were about to have a head-on collision. But, Jim was careful and, luckily, no one went out of control. If they had, the choices would have been to either hit us or go careening off the side of the mountain. Not the best choices in the world.

When we got to the Turners' we were greeted by Madison the Cat who is probably the sweetest, loudest cat I've ever met. I couldn't stop petting Madison who just rolls over on his back and lets you rub him and stroke him. And when you stop, you get MEOWS like crazy. "Get back over here and pet me!" I love this cat. Several times during the day, I would just leave everyone and go into the living room with Madison.

Kristin is a great cook and I've taken a number of photos of the house for those of you who enjoy looking at original architecture.

Here is their kitchen.

Their beautiful living room.

Kristin showing off her tasty popovers.

The kitchen and dining room areas are one huge, open space. The countertops define the kitchen.

Heidi didn't know Jim and I would be there. So, when she arrived we hid in the pantry and jumped out. It was a great! The six of us have formed a little theatre/dining party called SAFAL (Sunday Afternoon Fine Arts League) -- based on a Lucy episode -- and we have great fun. Kristin works for Crystal Cruises, which is how she met Jim since she schedules the lecturers. We usually have lots of laughs together, especially if the play is really bad.

Heidi, the birthday girl.

Tom, her handsome husband.

I love how their front yard fades down the hillside.

Ron created a very interesting house because the limitations were that the "shelf" that the house was to stand on is oblong and shallow. So, he made a two part house that is wider than it is deep. The front wall, full of windows, is actually a garage door, and both the living room and dining room/kitchen walls raise up and disappear leaving the entire structure wide open to the ocean view, turning the house into a huge outdoor patio facing the infinity lap pool. We had a mist that day, so you can't see it, but on a clear day, you can see all the way to the Palos Verdes peninsula.

Ron is currently designing a big football stadium, so this is me showing him how to do it by explaining that I felt it should be -- Oh, I don't know -- oval shaped. I'm sure he's going to consult with me from now on when he needs these kinds of ideas. As you can see below, the house is divided into two structures, the main house and the guest house.

In this photo, you can see the little bridge that connects them.

And, finally, no party photo collection would be complete without a shot of me fast asleep while playing with the cat. Jim has an entire folder full of pictures of me asleep all around the world.

Happy birthday, Heidi!
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