Weather jinx

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Apparently, I’m some sort of weather jinx. Because despite the fact that San Diego is 70 degrees and sunny pretty much all the time, the day that I write that into our itinerary, it’s cloudy and crappy. Originally, my plan for our final day was to go for a swim, relax around the pool/beach and just chill in the sunshine. Since it didn’t really occur to me that I needed a plan B, there had to be some improvising when we woke up to another overcast day. The previous day’s forecast had said it was going to burn off at 10 am, which you may have noticed from the zoo pictures didn’t happen. So, since today’s forecast wasn’t supposed to burn off until 1:00, I wasn’t exactly holding my breath.

So, hung out in the room for a little while. (Here’s T, rocking the SINGLE bathrobe they provided. Such attention to detail. Sigh… )

Eventually, we got hungry, so we checked out and headed into Coronado for breakfast at a cute little place that I’d photographed on Saturday:

It was a cute little diner where they were apparently doing some sort of photo shoot. I don’t know what it was for, but it was quite the production, with actors and make-up people and the whole nine yards. The photographer was apparently the valedictorian of his “How To Be A Show Biz Cliche class. (“Take a few minutes and develop a back-story. Why are you here?” For a still photo shoot. With child actors. “Um, cuz my mom said I had to?”)”

But aside from some uncontrollable eye-rolling, we had a nice breakfast. I liked that they had the little jukeboxes at the counter and I loved the words next to the clock on the wall:

Afterward, we walked around Balboa Park, which is a collection of museums and historical buildings from California’s Spanish days:

A lot of the museums were closed on Monday, but we wandered into the Botanical building:

Which was amazing inside:

There was this huge gorgeous section of orchids:

At the other end of the park was the Globe Theater (home of San Diego’s long-standing Shakespeare Festival) which had this creepy sculpture of Shakespeare that I couldn’t resist taking a picture of. The poor Bard. He deserves better than to be a disembodied head floating over two chopped off hands encased in rock. <Shakes head sadly.>

We had to get creative with the rest of our day. We went to Whole Foods to get plane food. We went and picked up some tortillas at the mexican place we’d gone to on Saturday and walked around Old Town a little bit. We had more In N Out burger. We found a park with this crazy long multi-use path and took a really long walk (about 4.5 – 5 miles) which was a nice way to spend the last hours before you are about to be stuffed onto an airplane. But before long, it was time to head back for home. After a short flight, brief layover, followed by a longer flight, we were stumbling to our parking shuttle at 11:45. It was a nice vacation, but at that point, even nicer to be home.

It’s all happening at the zoo

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Today the itinerary had us going to the San Diego Zoo, which is my one of my very favorite zoos. I’ve been visiting it since I was a little kid and it’s the zoo I measure all others against. It had been a long time since I’d been back, easily 10 or 11 years, so I was pretty excited:

I think I take a picture of this flamingo/peacock combo every time. I’ve probably photographed these flamingos great-great-grandparents. (How long do flamingos live, anyway?)

We got there pretty soon after they opened, which was great because it wasn’t crowded yet and they were feeding some of the animals. We made a beeline for the big cats, before they fell asleep for the day. Almost all of them were stalking around in front of their habitats, looking exactly like our cats at home. One notable exception was the mountain lion, who was watching us haughtily from up on high:

And the leopards, who were too busy chasing each other around their enclosure:

It was pretty ridiculous to watch them in action. We also swung by the pandas before that exhibit got crazy crowded. Everyone was sleeping, which was still pretty cute:

Later on, we would stand in a crazy long line to see them eating, which was even cuter:

Next highlight was the hippo exhibit, which has a unique underwater viewing area. Last time I was there, the hippo had a baby, which was so much fun to watch. So, I was delighted that they had a new baby boy, who was about a year old. When we got there, he was lazily chasing the ducks around his pen, which got him all riled up and then he started playing with Mama Hippo:

They were so cute. He even did a barrel roll in the water, which was something I didn’t even know hippos could do. Eventually, they petered out and retreated to take a nap on the other side of the pen, so we moved on. We managed to see most of the zoo before lunch, certainly all of our favorite parts. Such as the muddy polar bear:

And the lovey, sleepy tiger “cubs”:

I made T take a picture of me next to the extinct giant cat (apparently, this was a life-sized statue.)

After a little break for lunch, we hit the last few sections of the zoo we’d missed. For some reason, we had a hard time finding the Orangutan trail:

Apparently, it’s at the nexus of the universe… 😉 But we asked a nice zoo employee and he helped us out. (Hint, you have to go through the aviary… ) There were a bunch of youngsters playing down below, but I thought these two were so adorable just surveying all of the hub-bub.

Both of us were tired of walking around, so we took advantage of the bus tour that came with our zoo ticket and spent a very pleasant 45 minutes looking at animals from the comfort of a double-decker bus. (Very similar to tourists in NYC… ) We got a chance to see the baby koala actually awake (which is really rare, they sleep 22 hours a day.) and a few other fun things we would have missed. Then we hit up the Skyfari for an arial view of the zoo:

I was too scared to hang my camera over the side for a picture, so that will have to do… Then we re-visited a few of our favorite exhibits, just to make sure nothing good was happening. (This is where we got to see to eating pandas.) Then a last zoo snack for the boy:

We were pretty tired, but both agreed that we’d planned our day pretty perfectly. And even the cloudy weather had really worked in our favor, as it was the perfect walking around temperature. We’d been planning to go out for a drink after dinner, but were too tired for that to be appealing, so we opted to grab a bottle of wine and some chocolate at Trader Joes and have a drink on our balcony. It was very pleasant, sitting out there, looking out at the water and chatting. Despite my overall disappointment in our hotel choice, that was one area where it was a very excellent selection.

A well-deserved vacation

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For the boy, that is! In addition, to all of the fun-filled unpacking of boxes at home, T had been dealing with a big office move/renovation at work and had no escape from all of the moving chaos. So, I was happy that we’d booked a little getaway down to San Diego for the big anniversary. Even with the very early wake-up call, we were both pretty excited to get out the door. I mean, with this in the forecast, what’s not to be excited about?

Although Seattle was looking like they were going to have some decent weather as well:

After picking up the rental car and a stop at In-N-Out burger for the boy, we were off to the hotel. We’d booked a fancy room over on Coronado Island, because we thought it would be fun to stay there and felt that the occasion deserved special lodging. When we got there, however, our room wasn’t ready. I was a bit annoyed because a.) it was 3:00 in the afternoon and b.) I’d filled out our time of arrival when I’d booked the room. So, we ended up hanging out in the pool area for about half an hour. Not huge deal, but not the best way to kick off our weekend.

Our room was also a bit on the underwhelming side, so note to future San Diego travellers, avoid the Loews Coronado. The thing it did have going for it was this lovely balcony overlooking the marina:

T tested out it’s relaxing capabilities and found them excellent.

After a little while, we headed into Coronado to wander around before dinner. It’s a super cute little town dominated by a historic old hotel called the Del Coronado:

I even talked the boy into taking my picture:

The hotel is right on the beach, where there was some super-fancy event set up:

I felt a little sad for them, having their big fancy party right next to a public path and a bunch of random gawkers, but whoever designed it did a nice job. Afterward, it was off to Old Town for some margaritas and mexican food. Yum!

We went to a place that we used to go when my sister lived in San Diego and it was as good as I remembered. Deliciousness.

Number 15

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Today is my 15th wedding anniversary. Holy crap! I happened to be looking at my phone at a very fortuitous time, so I grabbed a quick screenshot:

Ha! Here we are, fifteen years younger. Two crazy kids…

Happy anniversary, T. It’s been quite a ride!

A very moving weekend

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After a week of box packing and general preparations, the big day was finally here. We were up super early to go pick up the rental truck and do the final bits of furniture disassembly/prep. I went and picked up J and breakfast, while T brought the truck back to our place. Earlier in the week, T had the genius idea to stack boxes in our storage area:

Which meant it was way easier to load boxes into the truck. He’d already gotten this much done by the time we got back to the apartment:

Unfortunately, also as we arrived back at the house, my mom called. Apparently, my grandmother, (who had fallen and cracked her pelvis earlier in the week), had suddenly taken a very serious turn for the worse and was not expected to live much longer. As I was trying to figure out how I could get down to Oregon to see her, I talked to my mom again and it turned out she’d actually passed away late that night. It was very sad, but my grandmother was 88 and had lived a very full life. So, I had to put aside my sadness and get back to work. So very much work…

George had his priorities in order: as long as I’m near my cat-feeder, I’ll be a-okay!

Little by little, the big truck got filled…

And then everything had to be taken to the new place and unloaded. M joined the party and helped us unload stuff. And at the end of it all, we were pretty wiped out. I made a run to get some snacks and beers for the boys that we enjoyed in our new backyard:

I am so grateful to M & J for their help. We definitely owe them help on their next move. After the obligatory post-move pizza, we did a little unpacking (mostly assembling the bedroom into a sleep-able state) and then collapsed.

The next morning, I woke up way earlier than T and joined the kitties in the sunny living room:

They seem to be settling in very well. I think that window is going to be a big favorite with all of the animals. It’s like pet-TV.

Eventually the boy got up and we had to head out for some errands (cleaning up the old apartment, obligatory Target trip for a few odds and ends). But before tackling all of that, we decided to go out for breakfast in the new neighborhood:

I’d heard about this place for years, but never felt like making the trip over to check it out. But now, it’s all too conveniently located near the new place. They are known for their 12-egg omelet/huge portions. Here’s T with his “mini” breakfast:

The walls of the place were covered with crayon drawing done by various (adult) patrons. This one was right next to us and was far and away my favorite:

So rad. It made our day of errand-running and box unpacking feel so much more enjoyable. We almost didn’t mind missing the incredibly gorgeous sunny weather happening outside. Almost. 🙂

Vaya con dios

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Naturally, the last day of tri camp had the nicest weather. We had to say good-bye to a few ladies, but there was a small group of us who were able to go out for one last ride before we packed up and hit the road. Sally proposed a ride up to the prison, which was a six mile climb. I’d been hoping for something a little more low-key for the final ride, but I decided to give it a go. As with yesterday, there were a few stops to regroup/make adjustments/take pictures:

But eventually, it was just all about the climbing.

This early in the season, long climbs like these are just not fun. It’s basically a low-grade sufferfest. I hung in there for a while, but eventually I’d had enough and cut the ride short. I opted to do a little out and back on my own which was far more enjoyable than climbing the final mile of the hill. Some of the other girls gave me a hard time about it and seemed disappointed that I’d quit, but I stand by my decision. All things considered, it was still great to ride out in the sunshine on a largely traffic-free road.

Then it was time to pack up, say my good-byes and hit the road. I’d left my phone charger in Burbank, which meant I got to spend a little more time with my Burbank girls before catching my flight.

Heidi lives very close to the airport, which made for the most pleasant wait for a flight ever. I mean, sitting in a sunny backyard, watching the antics of these two?

Awesome. It was so great to spend a little more time with them and ended my weekend on a nice relaxing note. My flight back was uneventful (which is my favorite kind). It was a fun trip, but also nice to be back home and see the boy. Besides, we had work to do. Lots of boxes to pack before next weekend…

Here comes the sun

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There was still a dusting of snow when we woke up the next morning, but the sun was shining and there weren’t a bunch of black clouds on the horizon so we were feeling optimistic that a bike ride could happen. (I didn’t haul that damn thing all the way down here to not ride it at least once!) One of the ladies had gotten up really early and gone for a sunrise run. I love this picture she captured of Dan’s horses:

After breakfast, we went over to Dan’s side of the compound to attend a lecture he’d offered to give about bike fitting. (For those who are unaware, Dan’s a leading expert on this topic and trains fitters from all over the country, so this was awesome.) We waited in his fit studio for the magic to start:

Dan has a wall full of all sorts of saddles, handlebars, stems and numerous other bike parts. It was impressive, to say the least:

Here’s the man himself:

Dan announced that we’d be talking about road bike fit, which I was visibly excited about. (Ever since I got Slim, I have not been able to get my road bike to get back to be being comfortable once I took the aero bars off of it.) When I made a comment about being excited about this, he offered to let me be the guinea pig that he did the fit on. SCORE! I ran over to get my bike clothes and shoes. The fit process was really interesting. It was a lot like the eye doctor. He’d make an adjustment and then another and ask which one I liked better. (And like the eye doctor, there were times where it was hard to know… )

But at the end of the process, I got a sheet of numbers that I am going to take to a local bike shop and have them help me get my bike set-up. So awesome. After all of that virtual riding, it was time to hit the road for reals. As usual, it took forever to get everyone ready and situated with loaner bikes.

But soon enough, we were ready to hit the road. Gail was leaving camp (she lives on the other side of the foothills and had a race the following day) so she snapped a group shot for us:

(We look cold, don’t we?) Once we got moving, we warmed up pretty quickly. The wind made things a little chilly, but the sunshine was awesome.

And, per usual, there was much picture taking at the rendezvous points:

I was very happy I’d brought Slim. I felt good on the bike and, for once, wasn’t the last person struggling up the hills. Despite this being the second time I’d been on the bike outside. And per usual, it was fun to ride with an awesome group of ladies:

There were a number of stops to take pictures/adjust bike fit/shed layers, which made for a fun day.

Afterward, it was back to the compound for a delicious dinner and some lovely wine. Then a bunch of us brought our wine and kept Kristi and Christina company while they packed up their bikes. Some girls tried out some new saddles and there was general tomfoolery. Mannequins may have been posed with…

It was a pretty fun way to cap off the final night of tri camp…