Friday, August 18, 2017

Greetings from Woodland Hills

We are back in the Los Angeles area, having left Pismo Beach after breakfast and a last walk on the beach. We drove down the 101 and through the mountains, seeing ponies in the latter and surfers in the former, until we were close enough to Point Dume to picnic and climb to see sea lions -- at least until I blew out my flip-flop and almost had a panic attack climbing down over sharp rocks and scalding sand. Even so, we saw lizards and prickly pears plus a seal swimming right offshore, and it remains one of my favorite places!

Then we drove to my cousin Felicia's home in Woodland Hills, where her husband and both sons were hanging by the pool and where her sister Allison was visiting with her own two sons. Adam and I went swimming, we all played with the dog, and eventually we went to dinner at Sol y Luna, where we met Uncle Mickey (Lesley and Garrett were en route to Arizona where the latter goes to college). We had excellent chips, salsa, enchiladas, tamales, and potato tacos (mine). Afterward we hung out with the relatives and it was great to see them all!

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Greetings from Pismo Beach

I am very sleepy after another absolutely glorious oceanside vacation day, starting with a walk on the beach before breakfast watching dolphins jump in the waves. After we ate, we stopped at the beautiful art glass store in town and got some lunch things before heading out to Dinosaur Caves Park and Margo Dodd Park, both of which have sea caves and lots of pelicans and seagulls plus harbor seals and tide pools; since the tide was at its lowest point, we could walk through the caves and look at tiny crabs in the pools. Then we drove to the Central Coast Aquarium in Avila Beach, where we got to pet sharks and sea cucumbers and see all the regional animals get fed.

We had a picnic outside by the water, then we headed to Harford Pier in the Port San Luis Harbor, which has restaurants and a fish market as well as many people fishing, a multi-level dock with sea lions and sea otters hanging out on the lower level, and charter sailing and rafting tours. We didn't think we were going to have time for a whale watching cruise, which tend to be several hours, so we booked a shorter, less expensive trip to the caves and lighthouses, but we got extremely lucky in that there were humpback whales right where San Luis Obispo Bay meets the Pacific! Eventually we made our way back, walked in the water at Pismo Beach, and had pizza at Pizmo Cafe. Perfect!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Greetings from San Luis Obispo

Apart from a walk on the beach in the morning during which we saw dolphins and another in the evening during which we saw cormorants, most of our Tuesday was taken up with Noelle's wedding -- a beautiful ceremony and reception at See Canyon Fruit Ranch in the mountains outside San Luis Obispo with fantastic vegan food by Paul's brother Dave, bittersweet because Noelle's mother died nearly three years ago, but really lovely to see Noelle accompanied down the aisle by her mother's father and by Dave, and so exciting to meet her now-husband Tommy's extended family.

It was also really nice to see Maddy and hear how well she's been doing since she moved back to California. We sat with Alice and her mom, and ate an insane amount (Noelle wanted comfort foods so there was macaroni and "cheese" plus vegan spicy chick'n, French toast, mashed potatoes, an ice (non)cream truck, and a red velvet wedding cake. The isolated ranch had wild turkeys and a rooster wandering around and a stream running through that smelled like the mineral hot springs for which the area is known. When eventually we closed the place down, we said goodbye to various relatives and friends before coming back to Pismo Beach to enjoy the sunset!

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Greetings from Morro Bay

I had a perfectly awesome Monday. We woke up and walked down to the shore, where we saw whales breaching and dolphins leaping in the waves at Pismo Beach. Then we had breakfast and drove to Morro Bay, where we took a Sub-Sea Tours boat ride to Morro Rock past sea lions, sea otters, pelicans, cormorants, and the fish seen through the underwater glass sides of the boat. I even got to steer!

We had a picnic by the beach, watching sea otters while ground squirrels watched us, before driving into San Luis Obispo, where we visited the mission church (older than the U.S.) before meeting Alice and her mom at the Madonna Inn to take goofy photos of the extremely tasteful decor. We also got truffles to eat after dinner. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped for some toiletries.

Then we returned for a walk on the beach, where we only saw one whale tail but there were literally thousands of seabirds circling out where the sea mammals were. There was also a playful sea otter in the shallow waves finding clams and eating them. We walked beneath the pier and up the street to Thai Talay for dinner, having discovered that they made vegetarian curries! Tomorrow, Noelle's wedding!

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Greetings from Santa Barbara

Glorious day on the west coast started with breakfast at the hotel in Camarillo and a morning ride to Santa Barbara, during which we saw dolphins leaping in the waves and pelicans diving over the Pacific. We met up with Liz from Penn and her husband Gary at the Santa Barbara Zoo, where we saw many of our favorite animals including elephants, lions, leopards, and of course penguins, plus we took a train ride around the zoo and nearby bird sanctuary before going out to lunch at Paradise Cafe.

Then we drove through the San Marcos Pass to Pismo Beach, passing through severe wildfire damage from last month and stopping at a couple of amazing vistas. We picked up some food before checking in to our hotel, from which we walked to the boardwalk and down onto the sand. The water is quite chilly but we could see whales spouting far out past where the waves were breaking and there were lots of sand crabs! We ate sandwiches for dinner at the hotel after walking through the tourist shops:

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Greetings from Camarillo

We are all in California for our niece Noelle's wedding! We had a somewhat turbulent but okay flight; lunch was delayed because of the shaking and I left my Kindle at home on the table, but I was sitting next to a woman from Syria who works for the Defense Department and we had an interesting discussion of world politics when not distracted by the three-year-old girl in the row in front of us who had a lot to tell us.

We met Daniel at LAX, though his luggage somehow did not get on the plane with him so it is being delivered to our hotel at 2 a.m. Meanwhile we met Uncle Mickey, Lesley, and Garrett at a Mexican restaurant near the Ventura County Fair where they treated us to a really lovely dinner! Now we're in a hotel watching the series finale of Orphan Black (except Adam, who went to bed early), and tomorrow we're seeing a college friend for the first time since college!

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Poem for Saturday and Last of the Glass

Morgan's Curse
By Shel Silverstein

Followin’ the trail on the old treasure map,
I came to the spot that said, “Dig right here.”
And four feet down my spade struck wood
Just where the map said a chest would appear.
But carved in the side were written these words:
“A curse upon he who disturbs this gold.”
Signed, Morgan the Pirate, Scourge of the Seas.
I read these words and my blood ran cold.
So here I set upon untold wealth
Tryin’ to figure which is worse:
How much do I need this gold?
And how much do I need this curse?

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Tomorrow morning we are leaving Rose in charge of our house and cats and going to see our L.A. relatives -- first my uncle and his family, then Paul's brother's family at our niece's wedding, then my cousins and their children. And Daniel is meeting us there so we have him the whole week!

So today involved a lot of laundry and packing, trips to the food store for cat food and Walgreens for sunblock, plus getting my hair cut and colored. We half-watched preseason football after dinner and now we're trying to figure out which devices to bring on the plane to watch movies on United's app.

Here is one last set of photos from the Chihuly exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens. Go see the glass before it moves elsewhere!

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