I was going to hit IKEA to check their new 2014 items this weekend but Susan Hirasuna invited me to Santa Anita Park for Preakness viewing party. And so, I put home improvement aside, for a day at the race track. It was the first time at any horse racing track for me, and though I had heard of Santa Anita Park, the way I've heard of Hollywood Park, or so many places around LA that I know exist but I never go because they are in my mind as those inconveniently out of the way places. Santa Anita Park was one of those places that would take a tempting invite to get me there. Adding up the benefits of watching a major horse race, at a cool indoor/outdoor social club, on a beautiful clear day, with food by a chef-driven kitchen, drinks by a mixologist, chill time with Susan, I was off.
Navigating my way from DTLA to Arcadia via Siri for a little over 45 minutes, due to road closures that Siri didn't know about, I was delighted to drive up to the palm tree lined entrance that definitely gave me that You Have Arrived feeling. Valets took my car and I was ushered to the Chandelier Room where indeed I saw the four large crystal chandeliers hanging in a newly renovated room. Flanking each end of the room are jumbo monitors showing both races at the Park and at Preakness. Susan shows up and introduces me to Cesar the manager of the room who tells us that he wants to make this space on par with SoHo House. Cesar gives us a tour of the club that includes a speakeasy behind a secret door. Out on the grand stand, on one of the lounge couches, we meet Diana, who does PR for the Chandelier Room and her friend Sarah, the blogger of TheDeliciousLife.com. Sarah and I connect over our similar looking dresses, mostly white dress with minimal black trim. Yes, girls can connect over a dress.
Susan, after collecting her info, leaves for work, and Diana and Sarah assures me that I should stay. What was I going to do today any way, they question. Well, I was planning on IKEA, laundry, etc. And I didn't say this, but I was also looking for a swimming pool. In the Summer time, I hunt for swimming pools, I just need a few days in the pool. That seems to meet my pool quota. It's not enough days to justify owning a pool but the need is great. I tell Diana there's should be a pool here. She's in, but Sarah is not so sure if she would want to be seen in a bathing suit at the tracks. I know my best friend is contemplating building a pool in her place, and when she thinks, things tend to happen, so in about a year I won't need to hunt for pools any more.
In fact, as years pass, you get more and more of your needs met. You get everything that makes you feel right at home. At some point the home improvement comes to a place where you just need to manage it. For some this happens early in their life, others later, but you get what you want. But then what? Maintenance. And maintenance is what most people have a hard time doing and they hire people to do this for them or they fail to neither hire or just do it for themselves, but maintenance is the real grown up stuff. Relationships, friendships, houses, cars, horses, race tracks, pools, everything has to be maintained or they will all fall apart. For things to continue, they have to be maintained. Valuable things become trash if they are not maintained.
Now, back to the races, the view from the grand stand of the San Gabriel mountains makes me feel open the way you feel at Dodgers Stadium on game day. Seeing thousands of people in an large expansive space makes you feel expansive too, and open. Diana, Sarah and I opened up to each other about our social life, like who we're dating etc, though we are strangers. Because these mixers do just that, open you up to people. Mixing business and relaxation, maintaining grounds and traditions, that sums up Santa Anita Park. Oh, and that momentary rush and exuberance from seeing your choice horse California Chrome come in first.
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