Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Party 08

This past Sunday we celebrated
Michael's 45th Birthday and
Sammy's 15th Birthday.

Unfortunately I did not get
pictures of all attendees, but I
did finally get my camera out
about half way through pumpkin
carving. The rest of my time was
spent feeding a rather large bunch
and I was about three chicken pot
pies short of having enough.... thank goodness for a big huge cake!

Bridget & Logan did some pumpkin painting
instead of carving (much, much safer)

Tom, the "master carver" as Sammy dubbed him.
Tom didn't even get started carving his pumpkin
at the party, but Sammy was amazed that he
was able to draw his intricate design--free hand!Sammy
Grammy Judy & Dana
Grandma Karen & BridgetSammy & AustinMei Mei & LilyBridget
(Joey in the background)
Grampy Geo & LilyBridget & Byron
(this is the special kitty tail shot)AustinAndrew & JoeyThe Cake... funny those RIP headstones
actually say "Over the Hill" on them and we didn't
even tell them it was Michael's 45th (hee, hee)Sammy "the windbag" Lubitz gets his wish
No, you cannot get Bridget the faded Kitty
to smile--even if you bribe her with cake....

I cannot believe I did not get a picture of
Logan in his "oh so adorable" doggy costume.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

San Diego: Day Four

On Day Four we really ended
up with most of another day
to enjoy. And the weather
was beautiful...again.
Sunny and 85.

Even though we lived in San Diego for 3 years, I do not remember
spending much time in Balboa Park.

Funny thing, the first 2 years we lived in San Diego we lived in
Hillcrest, which borders Balboa Park. Anyway, I remember going
to the world famous zoo and all that, but we apparently missed
out on all the great museums on El Prado. I need to check around
and see if this stuff was actually there when we lived in SD... I can't
believe we missed it. Every visit to San Diego should include a visit
to Museum Row and Prado Restaurant.

I spent a good deal of time in the Museum of Photographic
Arts (MOPA) while Michael was on a conference call.
There were so many museums we did not have time for--we
will have to return.

There was this great walkway lined with
Palm Trees so Michael and I decided to snap
pictures of each other.
I really wanted a picture of the two of us together,
but my camera is heavy and difficult to operate
so I didn't want to ask a stranger to take our
picture. My arms are so short, so I had Michael
hold the camera... I really wanted to get that
beautiful Playhouse in the background on the left,
but we ended up with the white car. It is really
hard to take a picture like this, but we both
managed a smile and the focus isn't bad....
I took this last one out the window of our
airplane on the way back to Portland. I
think it is amazing how you cannot see
how amazingly dirty the window was.
Anyway, a lovely ending to a wonderful week!

San Diego: Day Three

So we spent our last full day
in San Diego, Michael's Birthday,
driving to a quaint little town
in the Cuyamaca Mountains
named Julian. It is a historic
gold mining town that is now
famous for apples, apples
and more apples....

The really weird thing, though, was that, really, when you are
in the little town, there are no apple trees in sight. It was
kind of "twilight zone-ish". Kind of like you stepped out of
reality and into a TV set from "Murder She Wrote" (with no
apple trees).

On our way to Julian, we finally satisfied
Michael's craving for In-n-Out Burger. It
was his birthday after all. Honestly though,
Michael goes to California about every other
week, and he gets his fix every other week, so I
did not feel the need to rush to every In-n-Out
in San Diego. And no, we did not each eat
two double doubles... this is a stock photo
I grabbed from somewhere.

So, once we finally arrived in Julian
(and it is quite a drive) we quickly noticed
the town is full of two things:
bakeries (selling mostly pies) and
antique shops. The antique shops weren't
that great, but the pies looked absolutely
We were still very full from our
burger lunch, but we did pick up a piece
of Dutch Apple Pie with Caramel Sauce
to go.
We drove out of town a bit to a winery
(where there was not a vineyard in sight),
but ironically we did see a small apple orchard.
This teepee decorated for Halloween was
actually pretty cool. This was a small
U-Pick Apple Orchard. I have no idea
where all the apples for all the pies in
town actually come from... a mystery!
Later that night we had a very
romantic birthday dinner for Michael
at a local La Jolla Italian Restaurant
named Sante. By the time we finally got to
dinner, we had the whole place
to ourselves. Nice!

San Diego: Day Two

We spent most of Day Two
in San Diego on the 59-mile
Scenic Drive.

We started out down in the area
where I used to work... although
the waterfront was always very
beautiful, the area around the
Marriott and the Convention Center
has been revitalized in the past
15 years and does not look anything
like what it did when I worked there.

The whole ballpark, Gaslamp Quarter, Downtown is beautiful
now and looks very different especially with the addition of the
Trolley System.

The scenic drive really starts around the
area where the cruise ships are docked.
Our first official "stop" was on Harbor Island
across from the Airport.

They say the 59 mile scenic drive takes 3 hours
if you don't stop at all... we stopped a few times.
Our second stop was at Cabrillo Monument (named
for Mexican Explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who
dubbed San Diego "a very good enclosed port"). We
enjoyed the great views as well as the old and new
Cabrillo (Point Loma) lighthouses.
Old Point Loma Lighthouse was built in 1855,
but was only used until 1891 as heavy fog regularly
obscured visibility from its point high on the hill
(not so great for a lighthouse).
The New Lighthouse sits down near the ocean.
I'm a little out of order here,
we actually stopped at Shelter Island
after Harbor Island and before Cabrillo,
but I'm too lazy to move things around....
At the end of the little island sits the
Yokohama Friendship Bell
(given to San Diego by one of its Japanese
Sister Cities). They also have some very
nice looking pigeons on Shelter Island :-)
So, onword. The scenic drive took us along the
coast at Mission Bay where we sorta got off
track a little, but quickly righted ourselves
and ended up at Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial
with sweeping views of San Diego from all sides.

This is a lovely place with fantastic
views and lots of memorials to veterans
and active military who have served our
country during times of conflict.

Well, interestingly enough, La Jolla Cove is
stop #11 on the scenic drive and since this was
our home base, we decided to stay home. We had
already seen a couple of the next stops on the drive
anyway when we did our little unexpected detour,
so very little was lost and we had already been on the road
for quite some time. For a day and a half we had been
driving by the turnoff for the street below our hotel. It
is appropriately named Cave Road. And here is why.
We took a little walk through La Jolla Village and
down to Cave Road and what did we find... a cave.
Some things in life just make sense.
Here is a picture of Michael with our hotel
in the background taken from Scripps Park.
A fun little grassy park with lots of activities.
There is a great little spot with seals and pelicans
lounging about on either side of the nice sandy beach.
After the park we ventured back to our hotel
through the "secret passageway". The hotel lobby
actually sits about 10 stories above the ocean, but
our room was down right across the street from the
park and the ocean. So, we took a relaxing break by
the pool at dusk...
Well, I relaxed while Michael talked
with Justin about business...

I was dying for some Baja Lobster, so we took
a stroll up Prospect and had a fantastic meal
at Alfonso's Mexican Restaurant.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunny California: San Diego, Day One

Last week we spent four days
in San Diego, CA celebrating
Michael's 45th birthday. We lived in
San Diego for 3 years while Michael
was going to Law School at University
of San Diego, so we did a bit of reminiscing.
We spent the first of our 3 full days driving
around our old neighborhoods and
visiting USD.

The weather was beautiful... and after the first day,
we didn't even have to deal with the coastal San Diego

First, we had breakfast at our hotel: The Pink Lady of La Jolla
(as Michael calls it) the La Valencia. It is a very old hotel.
The first room they took us to was a suite, but it was in the
oldest part of the hotel and the hallways smelled musty.
The room was dated (although very large) and the bedroom
had no view... I'm not even sure if it had a window actually
and that was the whole point of staying in a hotel across from
La Jolla Cove... the view! So, I asked to be moved to a newer
room and boy am I glad I asked... we were taken to a villa
room right across from the ocean with our own patio and
our own BUTLER! Crazy. The room was smaller, but much
newer and the bathroom was awesomely huge with a steam
shower that was to die for.

The above picture is not taken from our patio,
but from the restaurant way above our room
(the La Jolla Cove, although hard to see,
is down below in the background)

The first stop on our memory tour was our first
apartment together in San Diego. Michael started Law
School after returning to the States from Kyoto, Japan.
He lived in Portland for about 8 months and worked for
a Japanese subsidiary of Kyocera in Vancouver , WA. I was
still trying to finish off my undergraduate degree, so Michael
moved down to San Diego alone to start Law School--just a little
over 20 years ago. His first apartment (that he picked out
himself with the help of his parents) was hideous. I hated
it. I graduated from PSU in December 1988 and took one
look at the apartment and immediately started shopping
around for a new place to live (the apartment was not even worthy
of a picture although we did drive by it). We stayed in the Hillcrest
Neighborhood of San Diego because it is really cool.

I chose this 3 bedroom walk up (above) as our
new home. I LOVED it. It had coved ceilings
and hard wood floors. We had a guest room
and an office for Michael to do all his studying.
(The place looks exactly the same!)

Below is the market located just one block
from our apartment. I love neighborhood markets
and this one is still there and it hasn't changed either.
Next stop was the final apartment we lived
in. We ended up moving from Hillcrest to the
La Jolla UTC area to be closer to my work. I
switched jobs from the Marriott Marina (downtown)
to a job at UCSD (in La Jolla). Michael was still
about the same distance from school, but this new
place was very close to my work and since we only had
one car--it worked. The apartment (La Jolla del Sol)
was nothing special and now it has a security gate, so we
didn't venture inside the complex. We lived here for such
a short period of time (maybe 9 months) that I barely
remembered where it was.

We also spent some time that day at the USD campus
where Michael attended Law School. It is
certainly a beautiful campus, however, Michael's
time there was stressful and mainly full of difficult
classes and more difficult tests and a lot of studying,
so the memories are also a bit stressful.... I never
spent much time at the school at all.Michael actually spent some time in the rental
car on a weekly sales meeting teleconference, so I
ventured out and took some photos.This is the door of the Law School
Building where Michael took his last final exam.
I was 5 months pregnant with Joey, the movers
had picked up all our stuff, and I had the car
packed and ready to go... and waiting outside this door
for Michael. I didn't waste any
time getting back to Portland...

where we left school behind and entered
the world of real jobs and babies.

Back in San Diego... we could not return to the
hotel without visiting Michael's favorite
Mexican "dive" Nico's Taco's just a short
drive down the hill from USD.

So, we have aged over 17 years since our last
Nico's experience and I have to say... the food was good,
but did not sit quite as well in our old tummies as it
did in 1991.