Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dreamy Beach Wedding

Isn't this the prettiest place for a wedding? Dave and I went to the lovely ocean-side wedding of Jon and Danielle in Santa Cruz.  Jon is Kevin's future brother-in-law (his fiance Lauren's brother).  It was a beautiful day and the setting at Cowell Beach was gorgeous.  The flowers are so pretty too...

Danielle and Jon.  Husband and Wife.  October 22, 2011.
We could hear the surf in the background.  Just lovely.

Cowell Beach sunset.

Such a beautiful view at the reception

The view from our room the next morning at The Dream Inn - near Cowell Beach and the Boardwalk.  Dave and I celebrated our own 1st Wedding Anniversary at The Dream Inn.  Actually, Dave was deployed to Alaska on our first anniversary so I spent it with Boomp and Ging...but Dave and I celebrated a couple of months later...
probably in October of 1975...

Uh - What does he think he's doing?  The waves are only 6 inches high ! ????

Okay.  Now I get it.  He's kayaking.  I thought it was a surfboard.

Lovely setting for an after-wedding breakfast.

We saw Kevin and his Lauren at the Sunday breakfast hosted by Lauren's parents, who were so nice to include us.  It was a treat to get to see Kevin and Lauren again.  I just can't believe I didn't get a picture of them.  
Serious women's volleyball tournament going on here on the beach outside the restaurant.

Dave was looking for Misty May and Kerry Walsh.

Dave and I took off the next day for a drive along the coast.  These Santa Cruz dogs have a sweet life! 

A lucky dog who's best friend loves him.  What a life!

The Santa Cruz coastline

We found a Japanese tourist to take our picture.  We figured he would be fairly experienced at taking pictures. 

Downtown Santa Cruz

The Santa Cruz Boardwalk.  I took the kids here a few times when they were young.  They would have liked to have gone there
a lot...I took them there as much as I could handle.  (OK - I was not a fun, party mom...) 

Sunday at the beach...

There's the Dream Inn in the background

This is the Santa Cruz harbor.  Dave and I went out for a sail a few years ago from here when our good friend (and experienced sailor) Doug took us on an ocean coastline sail.  Dave was 1st mate.  Coincidentally, he's my first mate too.
Best Wishes Jon and Danielle for many happy years together.  We enjoyed being there at the beginning of your journey!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Mickey on College Break

When Lauren came home for her October break we also got to see Mickey who is also a regular member of the family. Here's a picture of him basking in the sun over his college break. Well, actually, he just came out of the washing machine because he was so dirty and I set him out in the sun to dry.  He is still Lauren's "Lovie" and the they are pretty much inseparable. (Any future husband needs to understand that up front.)

What we weren't aware of when we started to have kids is that we would also have soft, little stuffed animals, called "Lovies", that would literally become part of the family. But I guess I should have known because I did have "Poochie" for many years.... But it took me by surprise how attached we would become to this next generation of toys. Kevin had Bear, but being the independent guy he is, Kevin was able to leave Bear at home, thank goodness. On the other hand, I could write a book about the Adventures of Bunny (and his pal, Spike) because his escapades nearly did me in! We lost him several times over the years and each time it was awful for all of us. Drew, of course knew this and loved to see mom and dad go hunting around the house looking for Bunny. When he was about 3 or 4 years old he would hide Bunny somewhere behind a couch or in a cabinet right before he had to go to bed so he could see us racing around, looking in the car and panicking that we might have left Bunny at Burger King or wherever. Very funny. It took a while but eventually Dave and I caught on that he was doing this (we were a bit slow on the uptake). But there were also a bunch of other times when we almost lost Bunny for real and that was not fun. I don't want to re-live those heart-stopping moments! But unfortunately for Bunny, he's a guy's Lovie so he's been sleeping on a shelf for quite a few years now. (Lovies do not go to college with guys - not even high school - not even middle school...sorry Bunny).
Bunny with his sidekick, Spike
We never knew which toy the kids would fall in love with. It sort of came out of left field. Of all the stuffed toys around our house, Lauren fell in love with Mickey when her teenage babysitter let her have him from her extensive collection of stuffed toys. Bunny arrived on Drew's second Easter and Bear was an early baby gift to Kevin when he was an infant. In fact, Bear hung around the house for a couple of years before he was picked up and became the "chosen one". The only thing that was predictable in our house was that they all fell in love with their Lovies somewhere near the age of two.

It bothers me a bit that I have not been able to find Bear. I know he's around here somewhere because he gets dressed up every year in his Christmas sweater but I still wish I could find him. He might be hibernating in the attic in a box with his Christmas sweater on...Kevin - you didn't take him to your new apartment, did you?
Bear's little puppy pal - where are you Bear?

We eventually decided that we needed to have general "rules" for the Lovies - to avoid having numerous panic attacks. Essentially, Rule #1 was that they should never leave the house. We did not want to lose a Lovie or leave it behind. That would have been painful. That was our #1 most essential rule and we had to be creative about why they couldn't leave the house....just to avoid losing them and having major emotional angst. It was a leap for me to agree to let Mickey go to college - which is why he never gets checked with the baggage (we would never check Mickey with the baggage!) - he travels right along with the laptop, another thing we would never want to lose! The second rule about Lovies (which we learned too late) is that we should have at least tried to steer the kids toward a Lovie that would last for 20 years and weather some rough treatment. I've been sewing patches on Mickey for quite a few years...Bunny and Bear were a lot tougher.

As it turns out, Lovies can lead very adventurous lives. I understand that Mickey has very much enjoyed being away at college. Right now, he is a special resident (the only guy, in fact) who lives at the Chi Omega Sorority house. He loves the sorority life with all the young ladies in his room (in various stages of dress, I'm sure, but he manages to keep a straight face) and he's earning quite a few air miles as well because he travels back and forth with Lauren every semester. When he's at school, he spends most his time in bed, frequently gets picked up and hugged by his favorite girl, (sleeps with her, actually!!) and he gets to do all this without studying! (Isn't that every guy's dream college existence?) He even has the company of his best friend, Blankie so he's never alone. However, the question is...will he do a semester abroad in a foreign country? Lauren says he will. As the mom here, I'm going to have a lot of trouble sending them both off to another continent. On the other hand, I'm thinking he could look after Lauren while I'm not there - at least someone in the family would be there for her to hug at the end of the day. Now if only I could get him to call me every night when she gets in...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Moving Day!

We had an exciting day moving Kevin into the apartment that he and Lauren found in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.  It's a really, really nice section of the city, close to friends and a block from Lafayette Park.   The apartment is very cool... it's a 1920's era architectural building and tre chic but it took a combination of patience and a lot of hard work to find it.  Apparently, there are a  gazillion people fighting tooth and nail for a nice place in the City.  So, there were a few weeks of discouragement before they happened on this one - the best one of all, in fact.  So now, Kevin and Lauren have a nest to feather.

We headed into the city, a caravan of 3 cars, very early in the morning on Sunday when it was a bit foggy and overcast....we were trying to beat the traffic and mobs who would be out to see the U.S. Navy Blue Angels later in the day (more on that later...)
We've arrived!  Home Sweet Home!  That's Dave's truck parked in front (of someone's driveway!!! Oh No)
 Well, parking was tough and we had to unload so we took our chances with the parking police.  This is a very elegant building, full of architectural details from it's 1920's origin.  

They just unloaded the couch - wow - it barely made it in - they had to remove the legs!  So, here are two very relieved guys!  And, they're a bit tired by now too - I heard a lot of huffing and puffing going up the stairs because the couch wouldn't fit in the elevator.

This is the very lovely lobby.  The design details on the walls and ceiling are so unique and original to the building and I thought that was so cool.  In order to get in the building, you have to call from outside and get "buzzed" in.  You can see through the front door that someone is doing that now.  
...Kevin and Lauren are trying to fit something into the little chic elevator.  This  reminded Lauren (I mean my daughter Lauren ...boy this does get confusing!!!) reminded my daughter and me of the elevator in the boutique hotel we stayed in in Paris a few years ago.  It seems you make friends very easily in small elevators and we met some of the apartment neighbors who were really nice!  It's great because everyone knows everyone very quickly....all of us exchanging names and shaking hands and getting acquainted in the little elevator.  I'm only the 'mom helping out' but they seemed happy to meet me too!   In fact, everyone we saw went out of their way to smile and say "welcome to the building".   Everyone was so nice.  Now, I think it's easier to meet your neighbors in an apartment building than a suburban neighborhood!
The two Laurens putting things away in the kitchen.  (Purdue give students a "Fall Break" so Lauren is home for 5 days and she was excited to help out with moving day.)

Awww...they are so sweet.  

There are so many original details to the apartment, including the niche for the telephone in the front foyer...something that dates back to when each home had only one phone.  This reminded me of the home my family had in Brooklyn when I was a little girl - we had a hallway niche for the phone just like this one. There are so many other original details too- like the glass door knobs on all the doors and the original subway tiles in the bathroom which I thought were sooo cool.  And the 10 foot ceilings and moldings, plaster walls.  OK, enough I guess - I love interior design and to see original details like this is somewhat unusual and very cool IMHO...
So Kevin drove us around to see the neighborhood and you can see Lafayette Park off to the side. 
Here's more of Lafayette Park.  It's a block away from the apartment and it was very crowded later in the day with kids and dogs and people picnicing on blankets and playing games.  Nice.

More of Pacific Heights...

After the big move, Kevin and Lauren took us down to the Marina for brunch.  The Marina is where there are a bunch of restaurants and shops - great shopping...Pottery Barn, The Gap and lots of boutique shops.

More of the Marina...we're walking toward the Bay where there is an Air Show and the Blue Angels will perform.
This is "Fleet Week" in San Francisco which is a very big deal - even among liberal San Franciscans- and it happens every year....several ships and aircraft carriers come into port, just like they have since World War II  (and probably before that!!)  This year the USS Carl Vinson was one of the ships in Port and, in case you don't remember...the Vinson  was the ship that performed the burial at sea of Osama Bin Laden.

We're waiting for the air show to start....the Golden Gate bridge in the distance...lots of people in chairs and blankets.  the water is about 30 yards away.

All around the city people are on their roofs, waiting to see the Air Show and the Blue Angels.

These are the Canadian Snowbirds...Canada's military air show. They did a great job but their planes are much smaller and less powerful than the Blue Angels F-18s (and a lot quieter).
So many watercraft in the San Francisco Bay here to see the show.  The whole coastline is crammed with boats.

The Snowbirds performing over the Bay.

Ya gotta love this place!  People as far as you can see - here to celebrate Fleet Week with their families, picnic in the sun and to see the Blue Angels.

However....the fog started to roll into the "City By The Bay" and....the Blue Angles did several fly-bys and decided that they couldn't do their show.  We will miss them but they will come back next weekend to try out the weather again.  And...theres' always next year!

One of the nicest parts of the day was when a stunt pilot in the Air Show made a heart in the seems, just for Kevin and Lauren!  Awwwww!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Zion and Bryce

This trip was Dave's *@#$% ...umpty-ump... Birthday present.  I'm trying not to give anything away about his age here because he might object! Anyway, since he loooooves our National Parks, I put together an itinerary for a trip to Bryce and Zion National Parks in Arizona and Utah as a birthday present for him.  Personally, I  am known to prefer Paris but I have to admit...there ain't nothin' like this in Paris!  The scenery was ...stunning.  I took all of these pictures with a crummy $99 camera.  To see it in person is staggeringly beautiful:

One of our first views of Zion National Park
Zion...Dave announced the first day that he was going to ascend the Angel's path -  Ahhhh!!!
Heres' the beginning of the path.
Views along the way - Dave took these pics

Oh - Lauren couldn't believe Dave did another climb after the Half Dome experience in Yosemite!  Here they have chains instead of the cables at Yosemite.
Fellow climbers - Um, they look about 40 years younger than Dave... I wasn't I can't tell for sure...
*&^%   going on 25.  I can't keep up with that... I read books.  It's safer.
The path going back down the canyon at Zion.
I was here for this one - notice how it's nice and flat...and low in the valley.  Beautiful.
Dave took me on a reasonable hike and I stood under a beautiful.  I think I will have this one framed.
I see God here.
and here the water falls...
Oh Maaaaaann !!!!  It's just what you think it might be !!!  A  tarantula!!!  We saw 3 of them  in one day!   Fortunately they were keeping away from the trail.  They probably warn their young about the crazy humans along the path.
These are called "Emerald Pools".  There are no words to describe such beauty. 
My Guy!  With the climb behind him.
This is more my speed so I went with Dave on this walk.  I think he liked it just as much.
I thought this was unbelievable - we had dinner here - very informal - with these beautiful canyons in the distance.  People who live in Springdale have this as a backdrop every day!
The view from our room at our B&B.  Just some regular ole' scenery out on the back porch... !!
Our view leaving the Zion National Park.  Before the tunnel which leaves the park there's a quick (really quick) exit  to a trail that takes only an hour to walk and it is A-Mazing!
Wish I had a decent camera to capture the beauty that my cheapo camera can't.

We made a quick diversion to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We've been to the South Rim which is spectacular.  We still enjoyed this view.
The Lodge at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We had to move on so we couldn't stay here.
I would recommend it, though.

Introducing..... BRYCE NATIONAL PARK
Those funny things on top are called "HooDoos" .  No kidding.
It was surreal.

With every hour of the day, the shadows and the colors changed .

It is so expansive, colorful and overwhelming.
I saw a Higher Power  here too.
I managed to trek around with Dave here and I was very proud of myself for keeping up with him.  However,  there are tons of really old hikers here who put me to shame. the way...TONS of German tourists.  Seriously...if I closed my eyes and just listened, I would have thought I was in Germany.
Thanks to some German tourists, we had our picture taken in front of the hoodoo called "Thor's Hammer" .
It makes you feel small in comparison to nature.
It was cool here at last on a hot day.  This path through the bottom of the canyon is called "Wall Street".  No protesters here, though.
An American tourist took our picture this time - she looked even more tired than I felt but, interestingly,
her lipstick was perfect and oddly enough, I really admired that!   She was really put-together.  Thoroughly American, I thought.  After being surrounded by German and Japanese tourists for a week , it was sooo cool to see an American at a National Park - with perfect lipstick, on a rugged hike, no less!  

Another view of Wall Street.  For someone who lives in Earthquake Country...this is really scary!
Mrs. Hiker
It really looks like this!
The view never seems to end.
An awesome world.
Here He is.
And here.
Dave went out for sunrise.  I was resting my soul in a warm bed.
No words.
Bryce National Park at sunrise.  
It really looks like this.

And then it was LAKE POWELL! 
It was my idea to take a dinner cruise on Lake Powell.  Dave predicted that the average age on the dinner cruise would be 85.  He was right...  Except for one very young couple who brought their crying baby.  There wasn't one Granny who came to the rescue to ooo and ahhh.  I guess we were all crabby old types. Or maybe it was too expensive a dinner to begin with.  It was OK but we could have skipped it.
All in all......I think he enjoyed his birthday present!