Posts tagged San Diego
Posts tagged San Diego
Sorry about yesterday’s blank post - don’t know what happened. Hopefully this will work properly.
After we got back from the UK, we were looking forward to a relatively quiet month. For a few weeks, we got just that: we got back into the swing of things at work, spent quality time with our pups (who apparently REALLY missed us and acted out at Doggie Camp - Indy reportedly pooped in the fountain. Oh boy), and hung out with our friends, sharing stories about the trip. One of our friends, interestingly enough, left for Scotland a few weeks after we returned, to live, work, and play there for a year - what an adventure! We went to her going-away bonfire on the beach just a week after returning home.
The following weekend, we went to M’s annual company picnic and marveled at the fact that we’ve lived here in San Diego for over a year now. Time flies when you love your life! This year’s event was a little less… eventful (no flat screen tvs, alas), but still thoroughly enjoyable, with terrific weather and a decent spread.
The last weekend in August had been full of plans for M to go visit family in Maryland while K’s mom came out for a visit, but these did not go quite as planned. We were dealt a tough blow when M’s beloved grandfather suddenly passed away, tragically on the very day that M was about to board a plane to go visit him. There commenced a rough couple of days as we quickly adjusted plans in a last-minute attempt to get both of us back east for the funeral, and thankfully, everything turned out as well as it really could have under the circumstances. K’s mom was still able to fly out for a quick weekend visit, during which K took her to Disneyland, among other fun times together, and K was then able to take a few days off of work to be with M and his family for the beautiful memorial service for his grandfather. It was a bittersweet time for M’s family - almost all of his extended family was able to be together for those few days, so, as is often the case in these situations, sad circumstances led to happy times together.
Although K had to go home and back to work very quickly, M was able to stay with his family and help them in any way he could for several more days, into Labor Day Weekend. It was a very sad end to the month for us, but we were very thankful that we were both able to be there for each other and for M’s family. And we are so grateful for the time that we both, but of course especially M, had with his grandfather. We have both been lucky enough to have our grandparents around for most of our lives thus far, and to have built meaningful relationships with all of them, and that was a comforting thought in our grief.
Rest in peace, Grandpa C.
This year’s Fourth of July marked a milestone for M & K in San Diego: Last year on July 4th, M was on a plane headed to San Diego to start his new position, while K headed back to Maryland, to what would still be home for only a few short weeks before the final trek out west. Last year on July 4th, we were both nervous, excited, a little scared of change, yes, but ready for it. Last year on July 4th we hadn’t met any of our new friends in San Diego, K hadn’t found a job yet, heck - we didn’t even have a place to live! M crashed on the couch of a friend of a friend that first night, and stayed there for a week or so while he settled in at work and did a little preliminary apartment hunting. Meanwhile, K viewed Independence Day fireworks from the plane as she flew from Orlando back to Baltimore, and then spent her time working and packing, packing and working.
What a difference a year makes.
M & K spent Independence Day with some of our best friends here in San Diego, grilling out, playing soccer and volleyball, enjoying the beautiful weather, and finally retiring to the Little Italy apartment belonging to Tiff and Gregor, which offered an amazing view of at least 7 (and probably more) different fireworks shows around the city.
There we are on the balcony of the apartment where we would later watch the fireworks, with downtown, the bay, and Coronado behind us. Amazing place, amazing views!
The pictures really don’t do it justice - the fireworks over the San Diego skyline were just awesome, and to be able to see so many shows at once, sometimes synchronized together was so cool! And sharing the afternoon and evening with our favorite San Diegans (well, not all of them, but still) was very special, and a perfect way to celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of the epic move out west.
The first weekend of June, we had the special treat of reuniting with our good friends, Kyle and Johanna. We hadn’t seen this pair since they visited San Diego in the fall and we all had a yummy Mexican dinner together at Cafe Coyote, and it was wonderful to spend some quality time with them after so long. Our first night getting to hang out with them, we joined them for dinner and a Padres game - always a good time!
But why were they here in the first place? Well, our amazing friends were about to run their very first marathon: the famed San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon. So clearly, we were about to watch our first in-person marathon! No way we were going to miss this moment in their lives when they so conveniently scheduled it for our fine city.
The morning of the race dawned clear and bright, and we got our cameras ready and headed over to one of the crowd-approved areas near our apartment in the hopes that we’d timed it correctly. We had! We watched loads of runners go by, some clad in ridiculous, funny, eye-catching outfits like tutus, Elvis costumes, and Superman capes, and then finally we spotted them - Kyle and Johanna! We screamed and cheered and raved about how awesome they were, they saw us and smiled back, and then a moment later they were gone — pathetically, the only picture K snapped was of Johanna’s back, with Kyle hidden by another runner. But here you go anyway, she’s in the pink shorts!
Wooo! The marathon was an impressive sight, and one of my favorite views was actually from the trolley, crossing over the highway that had been blocked off for the runners. Seeing that steady stream of people running, walking, jogging up the ramp - it was very, very cool.
We had planned to just catch them at that one spot, but we made a spontaneous decision to watch them finish, so we grabbed some breakfast and then trolleyed down to the Mission Bay area where the finish line was set up. (While we were thrilled to be there for the triumphant culmination, this decision was problematic in that we had no sunscreen, and both ended up horribly, painfully burned by the end of the morning. Oops.) We again watched a long train of other runners before we finally caught sight of Johanna, who finished ahead of Kyle. She had had to leave him behind and was a little freaked out about how far behind he might be, so K met her at the end and M stayed to wait for Kyle to pass the finish. Luckily, Kyle wasn’t far behind at all, and the two were joyfully reunited soon after Johanna had finished.
These two absolutely inspire us. We were so glad to be there to celebrate their achievement with them, sunburn or no!
That night, after the runners had rested for a bit, what could we do but revisit Cafe Coyote together for a meal with the champions?? We listened to them recount what it was like to run (if you’d like to read their take on the marathon, you can find it here on their blog) and enjoyed one another’s company for a final evening before they left for home.
Congratulations to the amazing running team!
Among the aspects of Southern California that had K really excited when we first moved out here (you know, besides the amazing weather) was the proximity of the Disney parks to our new locale. Yet, somehow, it wasn’t until we met Christy, Danny, and Evo (among others) that we finally arranged to visit the two parks: Disney California Adventure Park one weekend, Disneyland the next.
Now, for those of you who may not know K all that well: big Disney fan. HUGE. But has never lived close enough to any of the Disney parks to go on a regular basis, and has never really had a friend who was as much of a fanatic to share Disney experiences with. Suddenly, all of that has changed. We spent the whole day — open to close of the park — at California Adventure, loving every minute. A favorite ride was Toy Story Mania, totally worth the wait in line. And while waiting, we were entertained by none other than Mr Potato Head!
Gotta love the spiffy 3D glasses for this ride.
Later we headed to the Sorcerer’s Workshop, where you can animate, act, and sing your own scenes — plus you can take a little quiz to discover what Disney character you would be. (K got Lady, from Lady and the Tramp. M got Sher Khan from The Jungle Book. We’re a perfect match…?) K was super excited to snag a picture with Goofy while wandering around, and M’s favorite part was riding California Screamin’, even though he couldn’t convince his scaredy-cat wife to join him and their friends.
Oh, the rides we rode, the sights we saw! M loved the Tower of Terror (another attraction K wouldn’t go near), and we all enjoyed a rousing live performance of Aladdin unlike any other show we’ve seen at a Disney park. Soarin’ Over California was just as breathtaking as we remembered it from 2009’s trip to Disney World. Still, as many things as we did, we know we barely scratched the surface.
We closed out the day with World of Color, an absolutely incredible water and lights show set to the music of some of the best-loved Disney films. We all forgot how tired we were, how much our feet hurt, how far we had to drive home afterward, in the pure Disney magic of that moment. It was truly a spectacular show.
It may come as as surprise to our devoted readers that we always really enjoy spending time at the San Diego Zoo or the Safari Park.
No? How perceptive of you!
Well, back in March M & K went with some friends (and a baby!) to enjoy a lovely spring day at the Safari Park, which we don’t get out to as frequently since it’s over half an hour away. While there, K got to see what it’s like to hatch from an egg — as you can see, it’s a surprisingly graceful experience.
M got the chance to compare himself to a gorilla - favorably or not? You decide! (K’s pretty happy with her human-sized husband.)
Friend Angie and baby Scott (not Angie’s baby, we should clarify) had an up-close encounter with a most interesting bird.
We all enjoyed the fabulous view of the Savannah area of the park — as we walked up the rise to that point, we all noted that there should really be awe-inspiring music playing as people approach this view, a la Jurassic Park.
The animals all did their best to pose for us as we meandered along the paths and took a ride on the safari tour bus.
And look! we got to see the baby rhino!! (We also got to see the baby cheetah, but sadly those photos didn’t come out very well.) It’s so much fun to go to the zoo/safari park in the spring when all the babies are out and about!
Throughout the week of Karen’s visit, the two Ks got to spend lots of quality time together. Monday night we used a Groupon (LOVE those things) to hit up a favorite local Greek place, Athens Market Taverna. Later in the week we had made plans to have sushi together, and K had the last minute GENIUS idea of racing out to La Jolla to try to catch a gorgeous Pacific sunset first which, as it turned out, worked out quite nicely.
It was a good thing the sushi was so yummy, because anything less would have been a real let down after this amazing sight!
The next night, Karen’s last full night in town, we went to one of our favorite Mexican places in Old Town, Cafe Coyote, for dinner and drinks.
And then for dinner the next night, before Karen got on her redeye back to the east coast, we went to another favorite. Mona Lisa really hit the spot, and then we discovered a great little gelato place whose name is actually escaping me right now, but which is run by a family from Pisa, Italy and has some of the most authentic Italian gelato I’ve had since actually being in Italy. (It would be such a good find if I could just remember the name of the place!) Anyway, we had to take our usual silly pictures to commemorate the occasion, and then, sooner than either of us wanted, Karen was heading back. No idea right now when we’ll get to see her again… crossing our fingers that it’s sooner rather than later, though.
Back in February (side note: how are we STILL two months behind?? we WILL catch up, we promise), M & K were busily preparing for two major events: performing Schubert’s Mass #6 in Eb with the San Diego Master Chorale, and the first visit from K’s dad, John, and stepmom Claudia. As is so often the case, when it rains, it pours — and so both of these big events were happening on the same weekend. This was actually to some degree intentional, as K’s dad had long wanted to see us perform with the Master Chorale, but that didn’t make it any less crazy or stressful! All went smoothly, though. John and Claudia arrived in San Diego just as the first performance of the weekend drew to a close, so we were able to see them at their hotel briefly before heading home to bed after the concert, which gave us a chance to make some tentative plans for the next day, which was forecast to be an absolutely beautiful Saturday.
The forecast was, happily, correct! The above photo was taken from midway up Cowles Mountain, the highest point in San Diego, which affords spectacular views, as you can see. In the distance, toward the middle-right of that photo, you can see the Coronado Islands, situated some 15 miles off the San Diego coast. Fun fact: they’re actually owned by Mexico, and serve as wildlife refuges — people are allowed to boat to the islands and snorkel and scuba dive in the surrounding waters, but actually going ashore is prohibited.
As I was saying, we hiked up Cowles Mountain with K’s dad, Claudia, and the pups on Saturday morning, and it was almost too hot! In fact, we didn’t even make it to the very top, because the dogs totally putzed out. Indy got to the point where he would drag us to every little bit of shade he saw, sit down, and refuse to move.
That is his “what exactly do you think you’re doing” look. Good times were had by all, though, even if Indy insisted on shade breaks every 45 seconds.
There we all are with K’s dad (and a little bit of the lens shield — oops)!
After our hike, we dropped the dogs off at home and headed up to Del Mar. John and Claudia wanted to take us to Poseidon, a restaurant they’d been to on previous visits. Good decision — the place had some really yummy fish tacos and another most excellent view:
We wandered the beach for a while after our food, just soaking up the sun and enjoying one another’s company. K’s dad wanted to take us to another favorite place from his other visits to San Diego: Torrey Pines. But not the golf course (although that’s definitely on his list of favorites as well) — to the cliffs just south of the golf course where hang-gliders regularly launch and where, if you know where to look, there is a steep hike down to a much more secluded, and thus much less crowded, beach. We didn’t take that hike on this particular day, but it was still a striking sight.
After our beach adventures, we had to head back downtown for our second performance, which John and Claudia attended and (we hope!) enjoyed. The next day wasn’t so free, as our performance was in the middle of the afternoon, but we did enjoy brunch with them beforehand and dinner with them afterward, at an Italian place on Coronado called Il Fornaio which we LOVED.
The next few days were similarly limited; with M & K both at work all day, John and Claudia had to entertain themselves until we could meet for dinner at night. It was hard to be too sad about that, though, since K’s dad was just as happy for her as everyone else about her new job, so he couldn’t be too disappointed that that very job was taking away her free time. Overall, it was a terrific visit, and we’re looking forward to planning the next one!
Finally you get the scoop on K’s job (nearly two months later, yeah yeah yeah).
When K met Angie at the New Year’s Eve party they went to, they got to talking about jobs. Specifically K’s distinct lack of any. Angie mentioned that prior to her current position, she’d worked briefly for the Better Business Bureau. She said she had really enjoyed the people she’d worked with, and that she thought it was a terrific starter job. Then she mentioned that she still kept in touch with her old boss who still works there, and that she was pretty sure they were hiring. Did K want her to give her the contact info and job descriptions?
Um, YES K DID.
Long story short, Angie helped get the ball rolling, and K got an interview. She tried really hard not to get her hopes up, but the more she learned about the position, the more she realized what a great fit it seemed it would be. Two weeks after the interview, she was barely holding it together. The more people asked about her job situation, the more freaked out she got.
So when the phone rang and it was a number she didn’t recognize, she jumped at it. And when she heard the words “we’d like to offer you the job,” she definitely squealed in a seriously unprofessional manner. Luckily her new boss was very understanding and not judgmental at all — at least not out loud.
So, since January 31st, K has been working at the Better Business Bureau of San Diego as a Dispute and Information Analyst. This means she handles complaints, takes phone calls from businesses and consumers and answers their questions, and researches local companies to make sure that the BBB is reporting on them accurately. And she LOVES her job!
Coincidentally, she was offered the job on an afternoon when she and M were already planning to go out to dinner, as it was San Diego’s January Restaurant Week. So a normal (and discounted!) date night at Anthony’s Fish Grotto turned into a night of celebration and joy!
Yay new job!!!