Saturday, April 26. 2014
Last night was the April event for our Adventure Guides crew. We went to a Friday night home game of the San Jose Giants!
Tahoe Circle, out at the ball park
Now, I'm no sports fan, and neither is Penny. Far from it. But I have to say, we did end up having a good time. We hung out with the Sevick's from Pacific Crest: Dad Steve and daughters Kaia and Eden. We had BBQ dinner there, lots of junk food, from churros to kettle corn, and we spent too much time in the play area, with the jumpy house, slide, and more.
It was a family event, so the moms and sons were invited too, so Harold joined us. But we left mama Rita at home, giving her a much deserved break. And that was probably more than fine, given the conditions (read on) and the fact there were no other moms out there either.
It had been rainy all day, and it was pretty cold, too, for late April. Many people bailed out, despite the fact they had prepaid. But we were there to make some memories, and we did. I had promised Penny to teach her how the game is played, but she was usually too busy hanging with the other girls. So after we were all done with the play area and back in our seats for the sixth inning, it was Harold to whom I was explaining the details of the game. He was interested and was asking questions, though much of it went over his head. During that inning, the sky began to unleash. The rain was coming down in solid drops and the cold felt like it got colder. We were prepared for it all, so out came the umbrellas.
The turn in the weather must have been good luck for the SJ Giants because going into that inning, they were down 3 to nothing. And then they started turning things around, scoring 5 runs (at least two of which were walked in) in the sixth.
Since it was getting late, we all bailed for home after the end of the inning. And checking the paper this morning, I saw that the score we left on ended up being the final score, so we didn't miss any other runs. Good, very good timing!
Didn't think I would have said this, but I think we'll be doing this again this summer!
Tickets to the game
Yep, see, right there in the middle, "YMCA Wilderness Expedition". Cool!
Monday, April 7. 2014
Today was a leisurely day, a zero day, as backpackers call them, where there is nothing really on the radar, and the plan is to log zero miles.
We had a slow morning, sleeping in a bit since yesterday was such a full day. We finally got ourselves roused and dressed, and by mid morning, we were down at the harbor having a lovely breakfast on the patio.
Rob and his kids.
As we were waiting for our order, I heard a loud series of --bangs-- , two of them, followed by a short pause, then four more. I was the only one at the table that heard it, but it registered in my mind they sounded peculiar, unlike the usual backfire from a car. A minute later, I saw a police car moving fast toward the direction of the noises, with its full lights flashing and siren wailing. Moments later, more police cars, followed soon by fire trucks, paramedics, an ambulance, and even a helicopter. A few of us patrons on the patio that had heard it were convinced it was gunfire. For a full report, see the video below (apologize in advance for the 10-15 seconds of ad you will see when you run the clip).
San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com
Wow. We didn't know all that at the time. So after breakfast, we made our way down the length of the harbor to the beach. It just so happened that the Scholastic Surf Series was well underway. Seems it's a high school surf contest.
Sha-ka-laka! It was fun watching the surfers going after the 4 foot swells, coming in sets of four. The announcer (who did, by the way, use that term!) was pretty good, even telling surfer jokes. This one was my favorite: Why is a savings account better than a surfer? Because the savings account will make money and eventually mature.
We hung out on the jetty just south of the beach where the crowd was parked.
Penny and Harold on the jetty in Oceanside.
But the pool calls, and by 11AM, we were there, poolside. I was out first, staking a claim on a choice table, lounge chairs, etc. After all, we'd be there all day!
Today was the day that I'd be meeting a friend, Jeff, who lives local, then we'd head out to Stone Brewing Company's brewery and restaurant for lunch. He came by, right on time, and Rita came out to the pool to take over kid splash watching.
Jeff and I drove over the hill to Escondido, and found Stone in a semi-commercial/industrial area. There isn't even a sign out front I could photograph. Place was nice, good food, the Brussels sprouts, caramelized with bits of pancetta mixed throughout, is highly recommended. Jeff brews his own and is taking a master brewers class at the local university. Yes, he's taking it seriously.
The relief on the wall at Stone Brewing Company
After quite a long lunch, talking about nearly everything, we made our way over to Spin Records in Carlsbad. It's a cool, local used record shop that I like to hit whenever I'm in town. Picked up a CD/DVD combo from The Smashing Pumpkins and a disc of the late, great Doc Watson, then we were on our way back to the harbor, driving the in-town route, California style.
When we got back to our place, Vicky and Claire were already there, with Claire splishing and splashing in the pool. Jeff hung out with us at the pool for a little while, then had to split. I donned by swim trunks and played in the water with the kids some more.
Vicky and Claire hung around until we all got waterlogged, and we went back upstairs to clean up. Ted arrived a bit later in the evening, and we headed down to the Harbor again for dinner. There is a nice Italian place that serves Stone Brews, and we all filled up on pasta, pizza and pilsner. Luckily, it was a quiet evening and there was no gunfire or other violent acts. As we left the restaurant and strolled toward the ocean, we saw a blue heron on the dock, working on his dinner. He (assuming this bird was a male) was a good sized bird, and sure must have had eyes tuned for looking into the water. As we watched him hunt, we saw him extend his neck down toward the water, then lunge, quickly striking at a fish near the surface. He did all this without his feet ever leaving the dock. Those birds can stretch! The pictures I took of him didn't turn out great, but you get the gist of it below.
It was another good day, we were exhausted, so we bid farewell to the Oceanside Jaworski's and got ready for bed, the trains running well into the evening.
Tomorrow: Safari Park!
Sunday, April 6. 2014
We're off to the San Diego area for Spring Break 2014!
Panorama view from our balcony
This trip is going to be all animal themed. On the itinerary, we have a trip to the Safari Park in Escondido, the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, and the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. All animals, all the time! Harold is gonna absolutely love it! He is SO into wild animals and sea creatures, he may just find his calling during this trip!
Today, the cab arrived at our house at 6:20AM, right on time. The driver whisked us to SJC, and we easily caught our 8:30AM flight to SAN. At the other end, after a bit of haggling at the rental car counter (apparently, you can't combine discounts and deals together online at the Hertz website, even though their site lets you do it), we were off to Oceanside.
Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center
Since it was still early, we stopped by the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center in Carlsbad. What a nice little find! We saw lots of animals, penned (as in, caged) and in the wild (in the form of a snake crossing the path behind the Discovery Center's building), beautiful views of the lagoon (with a smokestack in the background framed by highway 5), and we learned a bit about the local ecology. Rita was considering going to Legoland today, but this place was a much better use of our time. It's educational, free from rampant commercialism, and free (though I did leave a healthy donation in their contribution vessel). Recommend for families with little kids!
Friendly reptilian resident!
The view toward the ocean.
Harold petting the snake.
Afterward, we got to the timeshare/resort/hotel/place-we-are-staying, and though it was still early and our room was not ready, the staff allowed us to have use of the pool. Weather was great, not too hot, but sunny and warm, and the kids dove right in. After a while, that is, after I got my head around changing into my swim suit in the cabana's bathroom, I joined the kids in the pool. They love playing 'surfboard' with me, which is where I go horizontal underwater, and they stand on my back, pretending to surf. I didn't have goggles, so my eyes quickly started to burn a bit, so I had to do the best I could underwater with my eyes closed.
We got the call after an hour that the room was ready and inside we went. Cleaned up, then headed up to cousin Ted's and his family's house up the 78 in Oceanside.
Ted, just where I like to see him!
Had it been THAT long since we had been to their house?!? They had done some serious remodeling, opening up the family room space and moving some things around; it looked great! Ted was making burgers and since it's well known that I do a good burger, he asked me to patty up the meat and toss them on the grill. And what a grill it was, Ted shelled out some bucks on a new grill, what a beauty! Today was also cousin Claire's birthday, what a great coincidence, so we got to celebrate with her!
Penny, Mom Vicky, and birthday girl Claire.
After some good visiting, we remembered it is a Sunday night, and Ted has work the next day, Claire has school, so we said our see-you-tomorrow's and departed, back to our place near the Oceanside harbor. Tomorrow is a zero day, and I'm meeting up with a local buddy, and we're going to lunch at a brewery nearby.
It was a long day, but a good start to Spring Break!
Harold the Rhino!
Really nice shot of Penny and Claire!
Tuesday, April 1. 2014
Becky the Buffalo Girl
The tale of Becky. She was some person. Some folks believed that she wasnâ€™t even human, she was so different. Well I donâ€™t blame them. She was sure something. She could take on two hundred animals in one corral in about 5 minutes. Becky also created a few things we know today as well. But I donâ€™t want to spoil it. . .
Becky was born in Oklahoma on April 5th. She was very normal looking, more normal looking than youâ€™d picture her right now. Curly hair, freckles on her cheeks. . . Well, when she was about 14 years old, her parents sent her out to get more food for the family, since she was very good at herding animals. Everyday she would go out to the forest with her 18 year old brother, Paul, and hunt. She would herd the animals, and her brother would shoot.
Well, one day Becky and Paul were just hunting like normal. Then all of a sudden, Becky heard a big thumping noise. Paul was busy trying to look for animals so he didnâ€™t hear it. Then Becky noticed a big stampede of. . . Buffalo! They were heading straight for Paul! She quickly shaved off tree bark that was strong and sturdy. She then quickly built a corral and herded all the buffalo into the corral before they reached Paul. When they got back home Paul called the whole town together to tell the story of his sister saving his life. Becky also kept a buffalo from the herd and named her Stemp.
Two years later, at age 16, Becky went traveling. She came upon Yosemite as we call it today, and started to hit the walls of Lyell Canyon with her new ax that her father gave her. All of a sudden, she heard a sound like raging water coming towards her. She made a hole so big that water sprayed out and splashed her on to the ground. The water still flows today, but we know it as Yosemite Falls.
Well Becky was not pleased with that trip, because she did not like surprise swimming. She kept on traveling, riding on Stemp peacefully. She heard about this beautiful place called California, and wondered what treasures she would find there. Well one day Becky was walking with Stemp, and got quite hot. She saw a medium sized puddle and started to make it bigger. She and Stemp dug up the puddle and made a lake today known as Lake Jennings. Becky swam in the lake, cool water dripping from her chin. Now that place was much better than Yosemite.
Well she was getting tired of traveling and decided to go to just one more place.
Becky heard of a place called Nevada with beautiful landscapes. When she got there Becky felt she needed a nice BIG drink of water. She saw a tiny waterfall dripping from a hole in a rock wall. Becky took a little drink, but that wouldnâ€™t at all be enough for her big appetite. She decided to dig a giant hole to make a waterfall so she could have a bigger drink. The rock wall was so sturdy that she needed Stemp to help. They both hit the wall so hard. After a few more hits, finally Becky created a nice big waterfall and took a drink. Today we call that waterfall Nevada Falls.
Becky returned home to her family. When she got back, she heard terrible news from Paul: Their parents had died while she was in California. Well Paul and Becky managed to go without their parents, and moved to California. They lived a happy life there.
By : Penny
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