Sunday, March 21, 2010

Take Me Out to the Hockey Game

This weekend was Dan's dream come true - his favorite hockey team, the NY Islanders, came to CA to play the Anaheim Ducks and the L.A. Kings. So guess who was at both games proudly supporting the enemy team? Friday's game against the Ducks was action-packed, but the Islanders lost in overtime, 5-4. We stayed the night up there and met some friends of ours, Trish, Briklyn, and their daughter Annabelle, for breakfast near Anaheim. The last time we saw them was at their baby shower before Annabelle was born, so it was fun to catch up with them and meet their sweet daughter in person!

After breakfast, we drove to L.A. and spent a few hours touring the downtown public library (we're complete nerds, I know) and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Actually, the library is very cool - it's humongous and they have a couple of small art galleries inside, plus murals and mosaics all over the walls and ceilings of each room. We stopped there because 1) it had super cheap parking and 2) we wanted to consult a tour book on L.A. to see if there was anything we shouldn't miss since we had the day there. Once we got inside we were so impressed, we toured the whole library before leaving. The tour book we found highly recommended a visit to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, which is a modern architectural masterpiece. We wanted to get an audio guide headset which would tell us about the history & construction of the building as we did a self-guided tour, but we missed the 2:00 deadline for audio guide rentals. So we toured it anyway and just made stuff up. :) The building has been featured in several movies, so it's a pretty well-known landmark in L.A. We saw "The Soloist" with Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx, and it played a huge part in that story.

We still had a few hours until the Sat. night game started, so we drove to Santa Monica where there's a famous pier with an amusement park, and the pedestrian-only 3rd Street Promenade. The Promenade is a lot like 16th Street Mall in Denver, with shops, restaurants, and tons of street performers. We spent a while walking around, ate some dinner, and headed back to L.A. for the Kings vs. Islanders game. Our friends, Dave and Cynthia, met us there, which was good for me because the game was boring, so at least I had Cynthia to talk to. L.A. scored one goal early in the 2nd period, and the Islanders lost again, 1-0. Oh well, we still had a great time making Dave & Cynthia nervous by cheering for the Islanders. They thought the L.A. fans would be less than civil to us for some reason - can't imagine why, since L.A. is known for its fine, upstanding citizens. :)

We had a great weekend, and we learned about some places in L.A. that we'd like to check out this summer when they have some outdoor concerts. I'm always up for new weekend getaway ideas!

Sporting orange & blue at the Anaheim/Islanders game

Our friends, Trish and Briklyn with their daughter, Annabelle

Making an absolutely necessary stop at this guy's favorite store in Anaheim, Hockey Giant

Some of the art & architecture inside the L.A. downtown library

Visiting the Walt Disney Concert Hall

A rooftop view of L.A. from the Concert Hall

The Walt Disney Concert Hall

L.A. has awesome, random artwork around town

A very foggy view of Santa Monica Pier (we decided to save it for another sunnier day)

Walking along Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade. If you click on it, you'll get to see a wacky guy doing yoga-body-art-poses ... or something. Everybody's a little wacky in L.A., though

Our friends, Dave & Cynthia, were a little embarrassed to be seen with the enemy at the Kings/Islanders game. There was no escaping, though, we had them surrounded! hahahaaaa!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Best Laid Plans...

Our friends Chris and Adessa asked us and our mutual friends, Paul and Ann, months ago if we wanted to go to the Cirque du Soleil "Kooza" show with them. This would be my 2nd Cirque du Soleil show ever and I was so excited! The big night came, and they had the whole thing planned perfectly. It ended up being a rainy night, but we left ourselves plenty of time for a great dinner before the show. Chris and Adessa had even borrowed their friend's Chevy Tahoe so that all 6 of us could ride together. We ate dinner at The Brigantine in Del Mar, which had incredible food and ambiance. So far, so good - see how much fun we're having?

THEN, while sitting in line waiting to turn into the parking lot for the show, the Tahoe just dies and won't restart! We were no more than 1/8th of a mile away from being there - are you kidding me? So the guys push the car to the side of the road (while us girls diligently protect our hair and outfits from the rain for as long as possible by staying inside the car), and we tried to figure out the best plan. Chris called the owner of the Tahoe, who was unavailable to come take care of his car problem. So we were left with the unhappy situation of leaving one person (Chris) with the car to have it towed back to the owner's house. The rest of us went to the show and really enjoyed it (in a guilty "I wish Chris was here" kind of way). In the end, he missed the entire performance, because he had to go with the car to see it dropped off since the owner wasn't at home that night. He says he thinks God was punishing him for watching "American Idol". (inside joke) And maybe God was blessing his wife, Adessa, because I'll admit I was a little envious of her elbow room during the show since they had us packed like sardines in tiny plastic chairs that were meant for children. But God is good, the show was fun, the company was perfect, and it wasn't the worst thing that could've happened, even for Chris. We had a lot of laughs that night and we'll always remember the story of the best laid plan that went awry!

Our manly men coming to our rescue with smiles on their faces!
Left to right: Paul, Dan & Chris

Thursday, March 4, 2010

San Diego Visitors!

My parents came to visit us in February! For two weeks! We had the best time, and it was a rare treat to have them all to ourselves for so long. Their first weekend with us was Valentine's Day weekend, and we wanted to do something special. We found out that Bill Cosby was coming to San Diego and bought tickets to see his comedy act. Our original plan was to go out to dinner before the show, but it turns out that it's a terrible idea to try to make a reservation at a restaurant on Valentine's day afternoon - who would've thought? Waitresses laughed in my face that day (well, over the phone at least). But we made our own pasta dinner at home and it was delicious, so who needs Macaroni Grill anyway? Bill Cosby was fantastic, and it was thrilling for me to see him live after watching almost every episode of "The Cosby Show" as a kid. He's 72 years old now, and just as funny as ever.

Dan and I each took a couple of days off from work to do fun stuff with my parents, but San Diego was an easy place for them to entertain themselves on the days we both were working. They spent plenty of time at the beach, went to the zoo, visited museums, and even took a 2-day excursion to Giant Sequoia National Monument, which is about 6 hours north of us in the mountains. In the evenings we enjoyed just cooking dinner, playing games, and watching the Olympics together.

We had another big celebration while my parents were here - my car hit 200,000 miles! Okay, so I've been saying for months now that my car has 200,000 miles on it, but I've been known to round numbers up - just ask Dan. (Me: "I'm hungry. It's noon already!" Dan: "Nope, it's 11:42." Me: "Whatever, I'm hungry.") I came home one night from work saying that I only had 7 miles to go before hitting 200,000, so of course we all piled in the car and wandered aimlessly around our neighborhood for 7 miles so we could celebrate together. There may have also been ice cream involved. I was driving and shouting out status updates ("3.2 miles to go! We're hanging a left!"), Dan kept snapping pictures of the odometer so we wouldn't miss the big moment (interfering with my ability to turn the steering wheel, I might add), and my parents were in the back seat laughing at how crazy we are. But hey, my car has been through a lot (most recently a mad jaunt to Mexico without us) and it's still running well AND fully paid off! If that's not a reason to celebrate, I don't know what is.

Anyway, it was so wonderful to have my folks here, and we did our best but they still left us to go back to TX. :)

We also had dinner with some friends from Denver! We got to know Gary at our church when we lived in Denver, and since we moved to CA, he married Kristen and they had their daughter Lizzie, who's 1 year old now. They came to San Diego for a vacation, and even though we'd never met Kristen or Lizzie in person, by the end of the night we felt like we were old friends.

We love having visitors! And our spare bedroom is empty now! (hint hint)

Laughing it up at the Bill Cosby comedy show on Valentine's day

The man, the legend

Our beautiful summer-like weather in San Diego

But my folks chose to trade climates for a couple of days at Giant Sequoia, where they had a lovely snowfall.

I spent the day with them at Balboa Park, where we visited museums and walked until our feet hurt

The 200,000-mile moment

Going out for ice cream to celebrate!

Visiting with Gary, Kristen, and Lizzie