Sunday, June 17, 2018

Honeymoon- Day 1- LAX to DUB

Honeymoon or bust!
We have been looking forward to this trip for months.  


We always pay extra for Delta Comfort Plus (so Eric can enjoy the luxury of legroom).
It didn't occur to me until we were seated on our second flight that I could have worked this honeymoon angle.  
We would like a free upgrade!  
Maybe on our way back...


And like magic, we are there!  Turbulence wasn't so bad.  Especially for Eric, and everyone else on the plane.  I only screamed upon landing once, and then in the air I may have gasped a few times.  Eric just told everyone I was watching the World Cup.  We are in Europe now.  They got it.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

One month itinerary- Ireland, Scotland, England, Belgium, Germany, and France

Yes, this is ambitious, but each country has such distinct culture, architecture, and food that I figure we can do a highlights tour and get a taste of each one.  Otherwise things start to get a little monotonous.  I am sure we will have a crazy accent by the time we leave.  Haha.  I am so proud of myself with this itinerary, it is a masterpiece.  We are so excited about this trip.  Eric will add six new countries to his list and I will add three (Ireland, Scotland and Germany).

I don't have the day to day established, well, not every day.  But the accommodations and travel arrangements have been made.  The daily activities will depend on weather and reading as we go.

June 17/18- Los Angeles to Dublin, Ireland

June 19- Dublin, Ireland

  • Guinness Tour
  • Sightsee

June 20- Ennis, Ireland

  • Car rental/drive/sightsee
  • Visit the Cliffs of Moher

June 21- Dingle town, Ireland
  • Drive/sightsee
  • Visit Kinsale
  • Fly to Scotland 

June 22- Falkirk, Scotland

  • Visit Cork
  • Get picked up by Karlijn!  Stay at her house.

June 23- Falkirk, Scotland

  • Visit Edinburgh 

June 24- Falkirk, Scotland

  • Visit Stirling 

June 25- Falkirk, Scotland

  • Go for a hike (in Scotland!)

June 26- London, England

  • Train to London

June 27- London, England

  • Sightsee
  • Changing of the Guard
  • Afternoon tea at the Wolseley

June 28- Bruges, Belgium

  • Chunnel (under the sea we go!) while England plays against Belgium (football).  We are a little bummed we are going to miss it.
  • Sightsee

June 29- Bruges, Belgium

  • Sightsee 

June 30- Brussels, Belgium

  • Train to Brussels
  • Sightsee

July 1- Brussels, Belgium

  • Visit Mechelen and Antwerp

July 2- Berlin, Germany

  • Flight to Berlin (Kimmie and Lea fly to Berlin!)
  • Sightsee 

July 3- Berlin, Germany

  • Sightsee

July 4-  Bamberg, Germany

  • Train to Bamberg
  • Sightsee

July 5-Rothenberg, Germany

  • Train to Rothenberg
  • Sightsee

July 6- Colmar, France

  • Train or bus to Ansbach for a car rental to drive to Kehl, Germany to take a bus over the border to Strasbourg, France for a train to Colmar.  This is the actually the easiest way get there, I think.  Hopefully the travel goes smoothly.

July 7- Colmar, France

  • Bike through vineyards 

July 8- Colmar, France

  • Bike through vineyards 

July 9- Paris, France

  • Train to Paris (I really, really hope there aren't any train strikes...)
  • Eiffel Tower at sunset!

July 10- Paris, France

  • Disneyland Paris?
  • Sightsee 

July 11- Quimper, France

  • Train to Quimper
  • Tour de France!
  • Sightsee 

July 12- Paris, France

  • Train to Paris
  • Moulin Rouge!

July 13- Paris, France to Los Angeles

  • Back to reality.  Well, not really.  I think we leave for Idaho four days upon our return. 
“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” –Henry Miller

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Live Oak Park

As an early Father's Day get-together Marla and I planned a picnic at Live Oak Park, in Fallbrook.
I have so many fond memories at Live Oak Park as we would come here for school field trips, as well as family picnics, but I haven't returned since elementary school.

Luckily my dad remembered the Luiseño Native American mortars, because as soon as he said it, it triggered a memory.  The park has changed a little (there are a lot more picnic tables and the playground is now "safe" and not as fun), so we were unsure if they were they were still on display, but we went on a mortar hunt and found them, twenty five in one boulder.  
It makes you wonder what other artifacts are in the area.

It was 80 degrees, with plenty of shade from the gigantic oak trees.
It couldn't have been a prettier day. 
Live Oak Park is still just as pretty as I remember.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Oceanside Grunion Run

Every little girl has their dreams, ever since the fourth grade, after a beach camping Junior Ranger presentation, mine was to witness a grunion run.  Today, my dreams came true...
Just before midnight, Marla, Eric, the girls, and I went to the beach for all of our first ever grunion run, and we had company.  Not the shady characters that we were expecting at midnight in Oceanside, but thirty or more fellow grunion runners, people with flashlights, screaming, and running  from the ebb and flow of the rising tide as they tried to find and collect grunions.

Eric found his calling, he is a master grunion runner.

Four months out of the year, on full and new moons, at high tide, female grunions move with water as the waves break onto the sand, dig a little hole, and then release their eggs.  As the females have their rear ends buried, males find them, wrap around their bodies, and then release their sperm.  
Fishy sex education!
As Eric was trying to hold onto one of the silvery, slippery fish, he emptied out a female's ovaries.
So, the whole story checks out.

I don't think this was a dream of the girls, but it is something they will never forget!
We probably spent an hour and a half at the beach, but the time just flew by.

There wasn't the quantity of fish that I was expecting, with fish covering the sand, but it means that the next time, it should be better.  April and May were "observation only" months, and when we do this again, I would like to see it then.  These poor little fish have no chance at all to spawn when it is "open season."  Not with hungry grunion runners around.

So, so much fun.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

Master's Graduate

I am not here just to visit.

I decided to go ahead and walk at graduation.  With a master's in Spanish I have a lot to celebrate.
This is pre-hood.

And then post.
The hood is a symbol of passage from student to master.
As you can tell, I look so much more sophisticated.  


We were there for over three hours, two and half of that for the ceremony.
Not that we had a choice, but it was worth it to get whacked in the head by an incoming cap...

I have had so much support along the way.  I am so fortunate. 

Cal State professors are inspirational. 

¡Lo hicimos, amigas!

Of course I have to get a picture with my number one fan!
Thank you, Eric!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Bike to Work Day! 2018

Yay!  It is that time of year, when biking to work is promoted and acknowledged!
Every day is bike to work day for me... but I don't mind sharing the train or the bike path.

After signing up with you have your choice of pitstops which supply accolades and free goodies.

The one my coworker and I go to is at City Hall, right across the street from the train stop.

Susan had little luck with the wheel, but I won a bike lock that lights up!

And of course, everyone gets a t-shirt.
Until next year!  
And every day in between then and now.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Oceanside Big Year (10th day)

The first Saturday of each month the Buena Vista Audubon Society hosts a birding event at Whelan Lake in Oceanside.  The lake is part of the San Luis Rey watershed and is also an important 73-acre bird sanctuary.  Upon Ellen Whelan's death she donated the property to a Board of Trustees so the land could be protected and continue to be a sanctuary for migratory and resident waterfowl.  (Smart lady.)

The property is closed to the public except for birding events, or if you call the caretaker, Greg, at least 24 hours in advance to schedule an appointment.

The ol' Whelan house.

Once again, the experts were impressed by the numbers of people that showed up, nine of us new to birding.

There have been 170 bird species sighted here. 
Perfect for the today's global event!

I really need a new lens, mine just doesn't do it for birding.  I feel like my pictures are blurry Bigfoot pictures, but they will just have to do.

#31- Townsend's Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)
This yellow warbler has two white wing bars.

#32- Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla)
The warblers are so hard to photograph because they are constantly hopping around, eating insects.

#33- Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

#34- Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)
These birds are so pretty and tropical looking, even though they are found as far north as Canada.
They have a yellow body and a red head.

The ol' barn, where a barn owl supposedly lives.

#35- American Kestrel (Falco sparverius).
Apparently every farm has one.

#36- Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheuticus melanocephalus).
He is named because of his short, deep based bill.

#37- Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)

#38- Spotted Towhee (Pipulo maculatus)

In the far distance, barely visible are two Gadwalls, distinguished by the male's black butt.
#39- Gadwall (Anas strepera)

#40- White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)
Even while soaring overhead, you can tell this apart this primarily white kite by the black wrist patch.
I am up to forty!  I got a sarcastic applause from the caretaker of the property as most people saw more today than I have spotted all year but I don't mind.  I am not counting ones that I don't feel like I got a good enough look at.  Which SOME people would find commendable! 
Anyway, I am working on it, slowly but surely. 

Cheers to birding on this Global Big Day!

I will definitely be going back to Whelan Lake.