Saturday, June 9, 2012

San Diego Vacation May 2012

Jim's military reunion group (veterans who served in Berlin, Germany) had their annual reunion in San Diego this year. So we went along, alternately participating with the group and doing our own thing.

We happened to be there when the jacarandas were blooming - really pretty purple flowering trees everywhere we went! This is a shot outside the Mission San Diego.

On our first day, we met my niece and her family and they took us to see the USS Midway, now a museum at the port. It also happened to be Memorial Day, so there were special events and decorations on board. Then they took us to a local vegan restaurant, and we had a great lunch!

 My dad was a Naval Reservist for 25 years, and every summer he went somewhere to serve for two weeks. One summer he was a dental officer on the Midway, so I was excited to find the Medical/Dental area. It was cool to think of him being right there where I was standing! Here's a picture of equipment like that I'm pretty sure he used.

 The next day, we took a San Diego bus tour with the group, one stop being Balboa Park. Many of the buildings were erected for two World's Fairs, and now are museums and other cultural centers. Beautiful grounds.

Another stop was Coronado, where we were able to walk around the grounds of the famous old hotel and go into the lobby as well.

 We also went through LaJolla, where we were taken to the beach where many seals live - here's a few.
 We went to Mount Soledad, which is a memorial to all US veterans who have served in wars. There are small walls around it with plaques put up by families of the veterans. We found President Eisenhower, actor Cliff Robertson, Benny Goodman, and many other familiar names. I found it touching that some were plaques of husbands and wives who had both served in World War II.


We often rode the San Diego trolley system. There was a station just behind our hotel, along with the city buses. We used both to get around, and got to pay half price ($1.25) as seniors!

One day we rode the trolley to Old Town, which we realized when we got there that we had already seen a lot of when we were here several years ago. Oh well. We visited the Sheriff's Museum, which of course Jim liked. (Lots of gun exhibits) We had a nice lunch too.
On Thursday we joined the group again and were taken to the San Diego Zoo, which we had also seen, but it's so large that it didn't matter!  We were expecially interested in the elephants, because our Tucson zoo (where Jim is a docent) sent our two elephants there when they opened a brand new elephant exhibit here. One of the keepers told us how they were doing, and all is well for Connie and Shaba. This picture is a bull Indian elephant - absolutely huge - who is dumping a bin over to get to some grass. His tusks are amazing, even after being cropped, it appears. Had lunch again, and managed to get lost a couple times.

On Saturday, we went to see the Arizona Diamondbacks play the San Diego Padres. Nice coincidence that they were there when we were! We had pretty good seats in the first row of the upper deck - and they won the game! 4-2. We were pretty cold, though, since the stadium is right at the ocean and temp was in the 60's.

On our last full day, we took the trolley to the Mission San Diego. It was originally settled near the downtown area, but moved here in 1775. It's been lovingly restored, and they're still excavating some areas of it.
We had a nice time, although the weather was cool. I'm not sure the temp made it to 70. At least we had a few days when the sun came out around midday. In Tucson while we were gone, they had a couple days around 107! Good timing.

Monday, June 4, 2012

San Diego!

We've just spent a week in San Diego with Jim's Berlin military veterans group. We had a few sunny days, thank goodness! The weather is cool - high 60's - I had to buy a sweatshirt when we went to the Diamondbacks/Padres game - which we won!

I'll try to post some pix when we get home.
Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone, powered by CREDO Mobile.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

 In August 2011, I spent a long weekend in Portland, Oregon, at the first Vida Vegan Con.

Let me explain:  after several months of major stress due to Jim's surgeries (oops, should have posted that first), I needed some time off. Having been vegan for many years now, I felt lucky to have found out about this event. It was a conference for vegan bloggers - there are an incredible number of vegan blogs out there! I'm not a vegan blogger, but I've wanted to go to Portland and I figured the food should be great! It was.

Opening reception

 More explanation needed here - while doing physical therapy for my ankle (still bothering me after more than year), I sprained my right thumb - see the brace? The monkey came with me from the PT office - got a free T-shirt when I showed them this pic!

One of the lunches

Cupcakes! Vegan cupcakes!
 It was a fun weekend, and it was fun not to have to worry about getting the kind of food I want! The variety of people was incredible, especially the counter-culture types. It's a big world out there.
  One of the stressful/exciting things that happened these past months was that we ended up "having to" do some major kitchen remodeling. It began with the great idea that we should replace the kitchen windows. Well. When the workers took out the old windows they found some rotten wood - it was powdery, from water leakage. We have a porch on the second floor that wasn't draining properly (yes, we have some significant rain occasionally), so it seeped down into the kitchen wall.

So the porch had to be repaired, and then the wood replaced around the windows, then the wall was replaced, and then someone had to come to restucco the wall.

There was a small (thank goodness) amount of mold that was growing on the back wall of one of the cupboards. In order to remove the back of the cupboard, they had to remove the countertops! So we replaced them with granite. The old ones were nasty anyway - 4-inch white tile - a VERY impractical kitchen counter, difficult to keep clean. The old countertop had been backsplash also, so all that had to be ripped out.

Because of cost, we chose tile for the backsplash.

THEN - as they were moving the stove while installing the countertops, somehow the glass window in the oven door self-destructed - ever see a windshield shatter? Like that. So we also bought a new stove. Our old one was very old, although one of the best operating stoves I've ever had. The workers gave us a hefty credit on the counters to apply to the new stove.

Pictures! (Taken with phone, so colors look a little weird)

Counter plus new backsplash

Counter plus new stove!

Closeup of new countertops

We're very happy with it (although not so happy about the extra expense!) and have been enjoying the new space.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Way Long Break...

So, my year has been tumultuous, to say the least. I will elucidate later! We are going on a Vegan Caribbean cruise this weekend, so will post on that soon!