April 15, 2012

San Diego to Portland

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of Our Trip North to Portland

Amelia and David Blevins
Amelia and David Blevins
Betty with the Wachsmans
Jamie, Celia and JT Wachsman

IMG_3686: Betty with the Wachsmans
Betty, Dain, John, Marleta and Isa
IMG_3620: Balboa Park Fountain
Betty and Bill at Apple
IMG_3694: Betty and Bill at Apple
The Jimenez Family
Lenin, Tomas, Sofia and Kelly

IMG_3715: The Jimenez Family

We left Vista on Saturday, the last day of March. We were headed north to Los Angeles and Santa Monica. We stopped in Santa Monica to visit with Amelia and David Blevins. We had a wonderful lunch with them at the Misfit Restaurant. It is so nice to visit with old friends. After lunch we continued north and west to Ventura.

We spent two nights with Celia Wachsman and her family. Celia is the daughter of our very old friends, Steve Palmer and Patty Allen. Our daughter Birgitta and Celia were good friends as children. We had not seen Celia for years. We had not met her husband Jamie or their children. We had a great time visiting and talking and catching up on our lives. On Sunday we visited a little tourist town called Solvang, a Danish town in southern California. The shops and architecture appeared to be typically Danish. It had me amazed and laughing with delight. On our way back to Ventura, we stopped at the Santa Barbara harbor for fish-and-chips. The harbor is beautiful and the fish was the very best fish of our entire trip to California.

On Monday the 2nd of April we headed north to Palo Alto, where our son Dain lives with his long-time partner Marleta Young. It was Dain's last week working for ProofPoint, an IT security company. Dain was extremely happy and he was smiling more than I had seen years. Why so happy? He was going to start working at Facebook in one week. We had a great time connecting with them over the next several days.

Betty had ordered a Nueske's ham and it was delivered mid-week. The ham was for our Sunday Easter dinner. Betty invited her brother John to join us and Marleta had invited her friend Isa to join us for the Easter feast. What a meal it was! Betty also made her world-famous sour cream potatoes. So it was good company, good food and good wine; really such a wonderful afternoon.

One evening we visited one of my oldest friends, Steve Kempainen. Steve moved to San Francisco many years ago. He has a lovely home in the Noe Valley neighborhood. It was great to see him again after so many years. We hope that he will visit us when he next returns to Minnesota.

We did visit John's house in Oakland. It is still a work in progress. We visited his friend Nancy in Albany and arraigned to stay with her the night that we left the Bay Area. We tried to visit a distant cousin, Harry Sundstrom, but the timing was off. I really hope that we get to visit with him on our next trip to Palo Alto.

We left Dain and Marleta last Thursday evening and headed for Nancy's condo in Albany. We were up and on the road by 6:15 AM heading north again. We drove all day long and arrived in Portland, Oregon, a five in the afternoon. My nephew Bjorn and his girl Annika were home to greet us. We like visiting with Bjorn and it was good to be in his home once again.

On Saturday morning we went to Annika's lacrosse game. We had never seen this sport played before. Annika is quite the competitor and it was fun to see the 11 year-olds working so hard on such a large field.

Vera Sundstrom
IMG_3715: The Jimenez Family

We also had an invitation to lunch with my nephew Shelby and his family in Oregon City. So, Bjorn and Annika joined Betty and me on our half-hour trip to their home. Shelby and Kate had twins just eight months ago. The new babies are Abram and Vera. They are so cute. Their four-year-old Judah is really a nice kid, so well behaved. We talked all afternoon while sipping wine and beer and munching on carrots and bread. Finally we had the most wonderful bowl of stew. Shelby is quite the cook. We had such an enjoyable day. I only wish that I lived closer to my nephews. No, that won't work - because we like being by our grandkids. I guess we will just have to be satisfied with visits every other year.

On Sunday we visited with my old friend Lenin Jimenez and his family. I have known Lenin for years and because he is in the same generation, I think of him as one of my nephews. Yes, that means that I have three nephews living in the Portland area. He and Kelly had their second child a year ago and his name is Tomas. Their daughter Sofia is four-and-a-half. While still in Beaverton, Lenin and Kelly now live in a home much closer to Portland, just ten minutes to downtown. They moved from a new town house to and older three-bedroom single-family home. It was a really nice house with a nice yard in nice neighborhood. We had a good long visit talking about our families and the changes in our lives. Lenin barbecued chicken and beef and warmed tortillas on the grill. The tacos were delicious. The kids played while we talked. The cat roamed around the yard. We enjoyed the sun and the food and some beer. All in all it was a delightful afternoon.

We are leaving Portland in the morning headed east. We hope the warm weather that made life easy all winter will continue after our return.

Posted by bill at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2012

March in Vista

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of March in Southern California

A Balboa Park Pool
IMG_3603: A Peaceful Pool
Balboa Park Artist Area
IMG_3617: Balboa Park Artists
Balboa Park Fountain
IMG_3620: Balboa Park Fountain
Old Town San Diego
IMG_3624: Old Town
Fish-and-Chips at Harbor Fish
IMG_0001: Fish and Chips at Harbor Fish

Speckles Rehearsal

Oceanside Beach

Beach Art at Oceanside
IMG_3633: Beach Art

Vista and the San Diego area is not full of excitement, but it does have its attractions. One of the best attractions is Balboa Park. We actually drove the 35 miles into San Diego twice to visit the park. The first time was to see all the various cultural exhibits, which include gardens, museums, a grand old organ and dozens of artist galleries. We were lucky enough to catch a rehearsal for the Spreckels organ outdoor theater. We visited several of the gardens and the horticultural display. We walked through an art museum. And we visited dozen of little artist stores and galleries. The same day we came for that visit we went to Old Town San Diego. It is a state park in the center of San Diego, where the city began and San Diegans say California began. There are old buildings, like an early bank that is a museum owned and run by Wells Fargo - but the only bank teller there was an ATM. Both inside and outside the park, there are dozens of good Mexican restaurants and bars. There are also an overwhelming number of vendors geared to selling the tourist everything from real antiques to mementos and all kinds of curios and junk.

We returned to Balboa Park two weeks later to visit the San Diego Zoo. I am not a big lover of zoos, but here we were. It is a very large zoo with every kind of animal. I shot a number of photos and posted them for your viewing. While I do not usually like zoos, I recently saw this movie We Bought a Zoo that I really enjoyed. It was such a great family, feel-good movie. It made me think that I would like to visit the zoo that the movie is based on. Unfortunately that zoo, The Dartmoor Zoo, is located in Devon, England.

One weekend we rode with my cousins, Judy and Mary, to Victorville. We went to visit my aunt Tiny. Tiny is the last of my motherís siblings. She has been recovering from a stroke for the past eight months. We were happy to see that she is getting better. Although still impaired, her speech was much improved. It was a nice overnight and a good long visit with Mary and Judy and my cousin Steve, who lives in Victorville with Aunt Tiny.

We do enjoy walking. We did not walk as much as we did last year in Texas. We walked some in our Vista neighborhood, which was always a pleasure. The citrus trees completed their annual cycle as all the fruit ripened and was harvested in March. One of our favorite places to walk was the beach. We walked the beaches in La Jolla, Oceanside and Carlsbad. Carlsbad was our favorite place to hike. On one of our last days in San Diego County, we hiked the beach in Carlsbad and once again had some wonderful fish-and-chips at the Harbor Fish Cafe.

Saturday, the last day of March, we headed north. There will be more on that in a few weeks.

A Few Photos from the San Diego Zoo
IMG_3634: Flamingos   IMG_3639: Zebra   IMG_3649: Oryx   IMG_3653: Leopard Lunching   IMG_3654: Elephant   IMG_3664: Rhinoceros   IMG_3671: Marmat

Posted by bill at 12:38 PM | Comments (1)