Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wow, it's been over four and a half years since we moved to California.  Didn't have any idea we'd be here that long, and still don't have a great idea of how long we'll end up staying.  I still haven't painted our bedroom yet, so we at least can't move until that is finished. (Seriously, I have 5 different color patches all over the walls.)

As we have become more and more used to living here, it has become somewhat normal to be able to go for a walk on the beach together in the morning, or take an evening stroll at the San Diego Zoo.  Palm trees don't automatically scream VACATION to me anymore.  And I admit I have occasionally been guilty of responding to Josh's question, "How's the weather?" with the answer, "Ugh, it's cloudy."  (Although, he is the one asking about the weather, so he is guilty, too.  Was my answer really going change the fact that he was going to wear shorts and flip flops?  Probably not.)

But we still do plenty to keep things fresh here, to keep learning, to keep trying new things.  My fabulous Asian foodie friends are always feeding us new and interesting items. (Thuong fed Josh pig's blood recently. How has he become a braver eater than me?) There are still plenty of neighborhoods to more thoroughly explore, more streets to wander down and check out the shops, more hiking trails to conquer.  And as we stand on the shore, watching another beautiful sunset over Mission Beach, we still look at each other and marvel, "We live here. Crazy!"  

However, I look back on our time here with some regret, regret that I have not better recorded our adventures here.  Sure, we have plenty of pictures of our road trips and the zoo and the beach, but I want to remember more than just pictures of the big stuff.  I want to really remember what we spent our time here doing.  All the good times with friends, our favorite late night eateries--it's the little things that make up a life, but it's also the little things that fade most quickly from our memories. (I mean seriously, how many times has someone asked you on Monday what you did that weekend, and you have to sit and think.  Point made?)

And so, I commit this year to record things better than I have done in the past.  It is such an unbelievable blessing to walk through this all with the love of my life and my best friend, and I want to remember ALL of it. And not because I think anyone else will want to read it.  I am under no illusion that my life is all that interesting.  But because one day we will have a blast reading it and remembering our life together.  

And it's never too late, because San Diego, we're not done with you yet.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

What? We have a blog? Apparently I forgot...

On Sunday, we realized that we both had Wednesday AND Thursday off work. What?! Two days in a row together, unplanned?! This called for drastic mini-vacation-planning measures. We decided to go play tourist in LA.

Even though I consider LA one of the most despicable places in the world (never-ending concrete, mind-boggling traffic, outrageous life-styles), it does hold some entertaining touristy activities. Here's some highlights!
We took a tour of Warner Brothers studios and saw some sweet stuff!

The fire escape where Christian Bale sings 'Santa Fe' in Newsies...(I was SUPER excited to hear that! When I kind of went crazy, our guide said he doesn't even usually tell people about that because no one cares about Newsies, but I told him he had just made my day!)
This is the only remaining set from Casablanca! How amazing! It's the cafe in Paris where they are having lunch outside during one of Rick's flashbacks.Self-explanatory.
Um, the car from Harry Potter! WAY cooler than the bat mobile. :-)
The actual set of friends! We got to pose on the couch! One lady in our group (who was wearing a FRIENDS sweatshirt) actually cried.

We went to the Chinese theater and saw all the stars' hand prints (because somehow we missed this place on our last trip to Hollywood, even though we were right down the street from it...)
We went to The Grove (a quite fashionable mall) and saw AC Slater, I mean, Mario Lopez, and paparazzied him.
We went to the La Brea Tar Pits which is one of the world's largest fossil deposits of Ice Age animals. Probably not what most people go to LA to see, but it was interesting. Saw some crazy big mastadon skeletons and saw some excavation in progress!
We went to a Clippers game which was AWESOME! Way more exciting than watching the Lakers murder their opponents last year. The game came down to the last seconds, and there was lots of high-flying action from this year's slam dunk contest champion, Blake Griffin. And we ate ENORMOUS hot dogs that made me want to barf.

The next day, we decided to go to Disneyland! We thought that we might look a bit out of place going there without any kids...but then we decided it would be way BETTER without kids, because we wouldn't have to go on any of the lame rides or plan our food schedule around them! Anyway...

Josh decided we should get some cotton candy because we hadn't had it in years. After eating about half of it, we decided it was a BAD choice. Definitely NOT as good as we remembered.
It was a crazy but successful trip to LA! And hopefully we will not feel the need to return anytime soon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas on the Prado

There is this FABULOUS annual event in San Diego called December Nights. (It used to be called Christmas on the Prado, but since 'Christmas' isn't so politically correct anymore...whatever.) It is a two-day event at Balboa Park, the 1,400-acre cultural park in the middle of the city. (Also my favorite place in San Diego.) December Nights is kind of like a big carnival and cultural festival in one. There are carnival rides and fair-food stands, stages set up everywhere with varying performers, and most of the park's 15 museums are also free during the event. But the BEST part is at the International Cottages, where you can get food, drinks, and desserts from dozens of different countries while watching traditional music and dance performances from different countries all night. Basically, it's the best community event ever, and I made sure that Josh and I requested a night off for it MONTHS in advance.

First of all, we were rockstars in getting there. Over 300,000 people show up for the event, and getting there/parking can be BRUTAL. Last year, we were not nearly as familiar with the area, and we spent, oh, like 90 MINUTES trying to park. (Yeah, I was cranky.) This year, we avoided the interstates that were jammed with all the newbs and Josh led us on his wild, twisty route that he takes to frisbee golf. Less than 30 minutes later, we were walking into party central. Boo-yah!

Our first mission was to get some FOOD! I had to drag Josh past all the fair-food, promising him that he would feel so much better about trying some new ethnic foods than scarfing down some BBQ tri-tip or a giant turkey leg. (I'm not sure he believed me.) I waited in the Chinese line, and Josh waited in the Lebanese line, and it was awesome.
The best part, though, were our Scottish desserts. My Edinburgh Cloud (lemon fluff with homemade raspberry sauce) and Josh's double chocolate cake were AMAZING!
The most amazing part of the night was when we were watching an Israeli performer play the accordion and sing. When he started playing Hava Nagila, Josh just busted out in song. He knew every word! What the heck?! He said something about learning it in 3rd grade, but seriously, you can't remember how to say 'book' in Spanish, but you can sing an entire song in Hebrew?
The Spreckles Organ Pavilion is a magnificent focal point of the park. Built in 1914, it is the world's largest outdoor organ with 4,530 pipes. It was even more beautiful for Christmas time.
There were some great nativity scenes set up to view. The angel in this one, however, only has one wing...
We stopped by the Timken art museum (it has a Rembrandt! as Josh always makes sure to tell everyone) because I read about a Christmas tree on display decorated entirely with ornaments that were handmade by one woman in the community. They were amazing!
We had time to visit one more museum, so we decided to visit the Museum of Natural History. Looked at some fossils, tried to name the animals without looking at the answer (with ALL our knowledge from the SD Zoo), and as usual, spent WAY longer looking at each exhibit than anyone else did. Josh was most concerned with finding out if sharks really get as big as the one on the ceiling.
On our way back to the car, we passed by the largest tree in the park. It was lit with lights all around that methodically changed colors, creating an eerie effect in the fog. A beautiful end to a wonderful night :-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Museum of Making Music

Josh and I both had Saturday off, so we decided to find something new to do. (We may not get as many days off together as we would like, but oh, do we make the most of them.) I had purchased a Groupon to the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad. We didn't even know this existed until I saw it on Groupon, and it sounded right up our alley. (, check it out. It's awesome.)

We drove up to Carlsbad expecting to find a big museum-ey building, but the museum was located on one floor of a corporate-type building in the middle of a big corproate-y type building office-park (Chicago suburb style. You know what I mean.) A little odd, but we were still excited.

The museum was separated by decades from the late 1800s to present day, displaying the history of American music. Starting with JP Sousa (did you know he was part of over 13,000 performances?!?) and military band music, to the creation of amplified instruments and radio with the discovery of electricity, to the evolution of the guitar and the creation of the Strat and MTV, it covered it all. Ragtime, jazz, big band, swing, rock and roll, country, psychedelic, latin, there were clips and soundtracks of it all. And we may have done a little swing dancing while listening to some of the clips :-)

Now for my favorite things I learned...

Jazz started in New Orleans and moved up the Mississippi to St. Louis and, hey! Davenport, Iowa! (Ok, I knew that, but I am always REALLY excited to see anything about Iowa, ANYWHERE.)

And of course, we had our eyes peeled for any pictures of Bix Beiderbecke. (Oh we miss the Bix. I'm not sure anything in San Diego can quite compete with sitting by the river at the Le Claire bandshell listening to endless jazz on a sultry summer night.)
So apparently the Zildjian family (of Zildjian cymbals of course) is Armenian. The company was founded in the 1600s in Istanbul (Constantinople) when Avedis the alchemist began making cymbals with a unique fusion of copper, tin, and silver. The sultan was so impressed, he gave Avedis the surname Zildjian, meaning cymbalsmith. And now that's the family's name! I just thought that was crazy. Do you think they were sitting around that night saying, "Do we seriously have to take that name?" (And Josh was excited that he actually has this cymbal here.)
When Fender came out with the infamous Telecaster, it was actually called the Broadcaster. However, the name Broadkaster was already registered for a line of drums by Gretsch. Fender removed the name Broadcaster from the guitars, and 60 were released with no model name before they came up with Telecaster. These no-name guitars are known as No-Casters.
Taylor guitars (based on El Cajon, actually, where Josh works) created 400 guitars known as the Liberty Tree Guitars. They were made out of a more than 230 year old tulip poplar from Maryland known as the "Liberty Tree," where patriots rallied before, during, and after the Revolutionary War. Each colony had a liberty tree, and this was the last surviving one. It was blown over during Hurricaine Floyd, and Taylor was able to give it new life in the form of guitars. Very cool. (I've actually seen one of these somewhere else, because I knew the story, but I can't for the life of me remember where!)
And then there was a room at the end with lots of normal and unique instruments to play (including guitar hero!) We were in that room for a while... And yes, I beat Knights of Cydonia on hard when Josh could not. My work here is done.
Ok, the Chargers game is on, and since I live in San Diego, I feel like I should care.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Iowa Comes to Arizona

We miss Iowa football. A lot. So when the Hawkeyes made a trek out west to play in Tucson, Arizona, of COURSE we had to go! Josh, Luke, and I road-tripped it to the desert. It was great to be back at a Iowa football game and see so many Iowa people! In case you missed the game, here's how it went.

Yep, this is the car thermometer on the way to Tucson. That's for real, and it should have been a sign that this was going to be a bad day. (Seriously, we're coming from San Diego. Overbearing heat? Yeah, that doesn't exist to us.)
In case you can't tell by our faces, I will walk you through the game, score by score.

This is when Arizona scores a touchdown after blocking our punt.

This is when Arizona scores a touchdown after an interception.

Iowa scores a touchdown, and we feel a bit of hope.

Arizona returns the kick off for a touchdown. More disappointment and dejection set in.

Arizona kicks a field goal. It just keeps getting worse.

Arizona kicks another field goal. And that completes a just spectacular half, down 7-27. As you can see, by this point we almost stop caring.

The marching band was pretty good. They lifted my spirits a bit.

DJK scores a touchdown.

McNutt scores a touchdown. We're coming back! 21-27. This might be about when Josh got in a minor verbal fight with some ridiculous Arizona fans.

We intercept the ball and return it for a touchdown! We go up by 1!! Wait, we miss the extra point and it's tied. That was horrible.

Arizona scores a touchdown to go up 34-27. Stanzi gets sacked like 52 times, and we go down in flames.

So...that was our trip. It was a very depressing game, but we walked out of that stadium with our heads held high and said to Arizonans, "We may have lost, but you live HERE." And we drove back to San Diego.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

They Should Have a Reality Show About Walgreens

So Josh had a customer at Walgreens that was asking him about 'Flaxseed Oil: Cold Pressed,' and she said, "This is for colds, right?"
Josh said no.
And she said, "But it says cold on it."
And he said, "It says cold pressed."
She said, "So you don't know what that means?"
Josh said, "No, but I know it doesn't mean it's for a cold!"

Then she grabbed a bottle of cod liver oil and said, "But this is for a cold right?"
He said no.
She said, "But it's cherry flavored!"
Josh just looked at her a little dumbfounded, unsure of what being cherry flavored had to do with anything, and told her to just go talk to the pharmacist.

I thought this was pretty hilarious :-)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Signs of a Normal Life?

I was on my way to church Wednesday night for orchestra practice. It was the first time I had the chance to break out the old oboe in years!

Anyway, I was driving down the 8 on my way to College Avenue Baptist Church, stuck in a little bit of traffic, when I realized something. This orchestra practice was the first commitment I'd had, on my own without Josh, that was not related to work, in the entire year I've been here. Seriously! Most places that I HAVE to be (church music or volunteer event, softball game, uh...that's about it), I'm with Josh. Otherwise, If I'm leaving the house by myself, it is almost always pharmacy-related or to hang out with my pharmacy-friends.

It was just kind of crazy to think how unbalanced my life has been over the last year! Basically, I'm either working, hanging out with people from work, or having fun with Josh which may or may not involve other people. It's just so different from back home where I was so involved in so many different things. It's been a little bit of pharmacy overload this year, that's for sure!! But I decided that this orchestra practice was a sign that a more normal life is just ahead, peeking over the horizon at me! It will be nice to be able to get involved in some other things in the upcoming months.

But I must say, I am incredibly lucky to have a husband that I seriously don't mind spending ALL my time with :-)