Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vacation - Thursday, Addendum

Yes, we are home! I'm suffering from a little bit of jet lag, so I'm a little slow getting my feet back under me. Bear with me, there are a bunch of pictures of my fun vacation to come yet!

In the mean time, I have to add something to our fun filled day at the zoo on Thursday!

After dinner, we headed down to Mission Beach. There is an amusement park down on the beach but when we were there, the park was closed. That was ok by me.

What we had instead was walking down the beach under a full moon! It was amazing how much light the full moon gave off. We had our socks and shoes off and went walking in the surf. Now, the afraid of everything part of me knows that stuff lives in that water that can kill me. So I took off my socks and shoes, rolled up my jeans and was just going to get my feet wet. The waves were at least two feet high coming in with an occasional bigger wave. A bigger wave came in fast and I couldn't run away fast enough! That one got me wet up to my knees! I didn't have my jeans rolled up that far, so I went home with sand in my shoes and wet pants. That was fine by me!

I wish I could paint you an accurate picture as to what it was like on that beach. The waves were almost surreal looking in the moonlight. It was as if the four of us were the only people on earth. I swear I could have sat on that beach all night just watching the waves come in. It was such a peaceful moment.

It surprises me every time though just how cold the Pacific Ocean is. I guess we are spoiled by the warm waters of Lake Erie. San Diego itself cools down after sunset so we finally called it a night and dried our feet and headed home.

If I ever just run away from home, look for me on Mission Beach at night. That's about as close to heaven as you will find on earth.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

PhotoPhun Challenge: Weather

Thanks to Lisa for picking something easy for the challenge this week. You see, I am on VACATION! Better yet, I am on vacation in beautiful sunny southern California! Life is good on my end.

Be sure to check out Lisa and Mark's blog to see what they saw in the weather.

First from beautiful Santa Paula, a clear blue sky and picture perfect weather.

Next from Simi Valley, another gorgeous day. As you can tell from the flags, we are at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

The night we went to the Channel Island Harbor to watch the sunset, the marine layer had come in and it was a little overcast. A bad day in California is better than almost any day anywhere else!

Upper Ojai had some fog the following morning, but it didn't stop us from going out and having fun!

Downtown San Diego from aboard ship in the Harbor. Un-freakin'-believable.

San Diego seems to have close to perfect weather all of the time. As you can see from the sea lions, it was a perfect day for sun bathing!

Sunday is my travel day back home. I guess I need to get back to reality. Boo!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vacation - Thursday

Welcome to the San Diego Zoo! Holy crap, what a place!

This was on the top of my list of things to do in San Diego. I knew someone years ago that went to this zoo and ever since, this has been on my bucket list. I was not disappointed in the zoo!

The first thing to do at the San Diego Zoo is to catch a ride on the tram. This narrated tram ride takes you to see a good 70% of the zoo, all from the comfort of sitting on my butt! And, you got the lay of the land so you knew which way you wanted to go to see whatever you wanted. The zoo is very hilly so getting a plan of action is very important!

Here is an over my shoulder shot of David and Edna on the tram! Not bad for not seeing what I was doing!

And then my long arm shot to get the four of us!

Here are some of the other animals that we enjoyed at our day of the zoo!

I have a fear of elephants that rivals my fear of dogs! I wouldn't choose to walk by the elephants, but the tram took us by and even stopped right in front of them. This huge bull elephant started walking towards us and by the time he got here I was ready to jump off of the tram and start running for it! Yikes!

This hyena was gnawing on a bone that was bigger than my thigh. Our guide told us that he could bite that in half if he wanted. Ouch!

It was dinner time for the grizzly bear as well.

David and Edna being silly! A little play area for the kids. Hey, we're just big kids!

Then, we took the sky tram from one side of the zoo to the other. Holy crap! As my brother Jim about being on sky rides with me at Waldameer! It is NOT pretty! But, I was a trooper and in spite of my fear, joined everyone on the ride. It sure beat walking up hill all that way!

Since you can't tell how freakin' high we are, I hung the camera over the edge so you could get a better look. And, for the record, yes, I was crapping my pants!

It's hard to determine which was my favorite. The polar bears or the pandas. They were both awesome exhibits. Unfortunately, the most exciting thing these polar bears were doing was napping! It's still pretty awesome to be THIS close to an animal that can rip me apart in seconds!

The sun must have been in her eyes! Gotta get that paw up to cover your face!

Then over to the pandas. Mom is on the bottom left, baby is on the top right. Both were munching away at the bamboo. The zoo is amazing. They grow the bamboo for the pandas to eat right on the zoo. It's planted everywhere. I love that they grow a lot of their own food for the animals.

David and Edna, being cute!

Ron and I, being cuter! (Hey, when you guys start writing a blog, you can decide who's cuter!)

They had vertical people movers to easily get you from one part up hill to another part. Steep but again, it beat walking!

This is the tank that the hippos swim around in. I was so disappointed that as soon as we got to this exhibit, the hippos were just walking out of the water. We waited for them to get back in but they just didn't want to cooperate. So I got the fish instead.

Lucky for me, the tank next door had an alligator lounging in the water! Actually I think he was looking through the glass at me wondering if I was lunch!

We spent a good part of the day "monkeying" around! I couldn't resist the bad joke!

I had to slip one pretty posy into this blog!

Beautiful landscaping at the zoo.

The flamingo pond. They really are beautiful birds. HUGE birds. They had to stand at least three or four feet high.

This is another one that freaked me out. A sleeping kimodo dragon! It is awe inspiring to be this close to a prehistoric beast like this.

I tried to take a bunch of pictures in the reptile house but with the lighting, nothing really came out. It was still a great place to walk through.

So, that was our Thursday, the San Diego Zoo. If you're in the area, this is a must see!

Vacation - Wednesday

Wednesday was our travel day.

Before traveling, Cathie took us to the Amtrak station and waited with us for the train. I gotta tell you a few things about Amtrak! While it is cheap and comfy, they have some weird rules.

We checked our two bags, they took them and immediately came back asking what was in the one bag. Ron and I had to put our heads together to really think what we just packed in that bag an hour before. I know there was clothes in there. And books. What else? A couple of cosmetic bags. Oh yeah, and my diabetic meter. It took us probably three or four minutes before we got to guess the meter when finally they were satisfied. I guess something showed up on x-ray that they weren't happy about.

Keep in mind, this is the exact same stuff we checked through Continental for our flight over here. But, Amtrak had issues with my meter. I had to take it out of the bag and carry it with me as we couldn't check any medical equipment. Ok, whatever.

Meter out of the bag they finally took our bags. To be so worried about what was in my bag, the rest of their security measures sucked! Cathie walked right out onto the platform with us and was able to stay with us until we stepped on the train. That part was awesome for me but for real, a diabetic meter can't be checked but anyone can stand on a platform? Whatever.

Here is me and my Sissy! She's on the left, I'm on the right!

We had a five hour train trip from Oxnard CA to San Diego. I'm telling you, for $32 each, there is no way we could have put enough gas in a car to get us to San Diego! This was definitely the way to go. It was a very relaxing trip in seats much bigger than airplane seats! I napped off and on but stayed awake for the most part.

The only part that freaked me out is we pulled forward into the train station in Los Angeles. We had about a 20 minute layover in LA and they we'd be on our way. I actually fell asleep some time during this layover and when I woke up we were moving backwards! What the heck happened? I was getting a little freaked out watching everything go by in reverse, so since the train was pretty full leaving LA, we waited until we stopped at a few stops and the train emptied out pretty quickly. We went and found another seat facing the now front and we were good to go!

It was a nice relaxing day in the middle of our vacation. We watched the scenery go by, we waved to people on the roads and napped and read my book. Now that's a vacation!

Our friends, David and Edna, picked us up at the train station in San Diego. The station is right in downtown San Diego and we stayed in the area for a late dinner. We went to Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill. Holy cow! This is a small hole in the wall kind of place but the fish was some of the best I ever had! If you look at the link, the menu is simple. But there are no bad choices. Ron got a cup of the Cioppino, which is a fish stew and he actually got to eat most of it! I had a few bites and had to hand it right back over or he wouldn't have gotten any of it back. Yum!

I chose for dinner a Hawaiian Wahoo that was teriyaki blackened on a sandwich. O.M.G. Just thinking of it now, I could go back there for another. If you're ever in San Diego, FIND THIS PLACE! mmmm

That was Wednesday. It was an awesome day. Just wait until you find out what we did Thursday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vacation - Odds and Ends

The little things that were done in between all of the other stuff!

There is a small aviary down the road from my sister's house. We stopped in one afternoon on the way back to the house. The winners of the day were the two geese and one duck in this pond. However, they were not cooperating with me and my camera! They went running into this alley that ran between the pens. I guess some people/birds are just camera shy. But, here are a few of the other birds in the aviary. A lot of the birds were nesting/sleeping/didn't want to be bothered. These are the ones willing to pose for me!

And then of course, every one's favorite, the peacocks! This beauty somehow got on top of the cages. I was chasing him down trying to get a shot! I think he's led other people into running into the trees trying to photograph him. Luckily, I caught on to that trick just seconds before hitting a tree!

Luckily, this one that didn't escape was much easier to photo as he remained in his pen.

Unfortunately, neither would fan out his tail feathers, but they were gorgeous nonetheless.

It was a beautiful little park and this aviary was a gem. We actually were there twice, just to say hello!

One night, Cathie, Ron and I went to the Channel Island Harbor to have dinner and watch the sunset over the water. At least that was the plan.

You know, the people of California are a different breed. No offense to any one here! But they are different. Most places have pedestrian crossings - California has surfer crossings! Gotta love 'em!

We did go to an awesome seafood restaurant. Ron had a seafood linguine which had an array of good stuff from mussels to clams, scallops and salmon and a bunch of good stuff. Cathie ordered a combo platter of more similar stuff. Me, I tried something new and had the swordfish. All of the meals were wonderful, here at the Whale's Tail!

We are right on the water at a marina. The only part of our plan that didn't work out was the watching the sunset part. There was a marine layer that came down early and it totally cut out any plans we had on a sunset. At least the moon came up early!

Of course, the food and the company couldn't be beat! Cathie, Ron and I had a wonderful evening out.

How cute are we!

Tuesday, Ron and I went out with an extra vehicle and a GPS. This time we thought we'd go tooling around Ojai. It's a quaint little touristy town. One thing I noted, is if you're going to open a business, give it a good name! If I lived here, they would get all of my business, just on name alone!

Heaven knows, sometimes I need my attitude adjusted!

There is no way I'm ever going to be able to tell you in a blog about the road we have to take every single day. Route 150 is the devil's work, I'm telling you! There is no way to get to my sister's house without taking this horrific road. Actually, up one side of the mountain it's called Route 150. I'm not sure if the other side is the same number or not but it's still a stupid road. I can't believe people aren't dying out here every day! Of course, the people that live here and travel this road drive on it like maniacs! 65 in a 45 zone around hairpin blind curves is nothing for these people. I was terrified every time we left the house. You know how the saying goes, "first you say it then you do it". Think about it.

Anyway, this is the side of the road that goes from Cathie's house into downtown Ojai. Look at it. The road you see is barely two lanes wide with no guard rails most of the way up. That road across from us is the exact same one I'm standing on. You drive up up up, winding, curving, and then end up where I am. I'd think a freakin' bridge would have been a lot easier and a lot safer. No, these people want the thrill of having to navigate these winding roads. Ugh.

My pictures can't do it justice. Maybe I'm just a big baby (ok I probably am) but I do best if I can just shut my eyes and pray until we get to where we're going. Hopefully, I'm not the one driving since my eyes are closed!

Once you get to the top of this mountain, again, the views are breath taking.

This is the Ojai Valley. What a climb.

So, Tuesday morning, we had fog all the way up into the mountain. That made my favorite road even more fun! It was kinda cool though to see the fog.

California is the land of agriculture. You don't go anywhere without seeing a farm of some sorts. It's hard not to get hungry just driving down the street. We've seen strawberries, apricots, oranges, lemons, peppers, squash, cilantro and numerous other things I can't identify. All this just from the roads driving by!

There are a couple of other things that are common in California. This sign appears just about everywhere. That does not make me happy but it sure does make sure you watch where you walk!

Another thing making sure you watch where you walk are the gophers and ground squirrels. This area is overrun by gophers and ground squirrels. I'm telling you, people say that one day California will break off and fall into the ocean after a good earthquake. Personally, I think California is going to break off and fall into the ocean because of the dang gophers! Mark my words!!

Back to agriculture - in Cathie's own yard, we have pomegranates! Before here, I never saw how they grew. I thought they just appeared in Giant Eagle, just for me!

They were not quite ripe yet or else I'd have been spending some time in her yard eating my way from bush to bush!

Other than pomegranates, she also has some lemons. I didn't try them as I have no idea how to tell if they are ripe.

Another evening activity has been some fun filled games of Rummikub! I'm telling you, it's my favorite game in the entire world! Very few people will play with me though! Any Rummikub players out there, let me know. I'm IN! Anyway, here is my Sissy letting everyone know who is the best sister! Yes, she wins, hands down.

And of course, the sisters. What a pair, huh?

So that's it for now. Today is a travel day for Ron and I as we board the Amtrak and head south to San Diego for the second half of our vacation! More pictures and fun to follow!

In the mean time, a huge thank you to Dan and Cathie for putting us up. For opening your home, for giving up a vehicle and just for being my favorite sister!