Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Back From California!!

 these are mostly iphone shots and from my smaller camera.  does give a good mix of my trip.  my first few days were in LA area then off to Laguna for fun with family then back to LA for a night and finally a drive north.  stopped in Atascadero to visit Steve and Renee and then head to Soledad and Pinnacles National Park to meet with my sister, her husband and my niece and her two kids.  i was busy, it went fast but it was super fun to meet up with so many friends and family!!
 i got out just in time as today there was a terrible mass shooting down there.  these are becoming far too common.  spare the gun rights, kill the people i guess.  it is funny that we have people who are deemed no fly but they can buy guns if they want.  welcome to America i guess.  Above is SR, he and RL were vets i worked with at the Emergency Vet Clinic in LA.  it was a wonderful group of folks there and they are all still good friends...friends that no matter how much time between visits you can pick right up with again.  i'd say they were all influential for me as i learned about life outside of being Mormon.
 below is downtown LA from the Air.  flew all night and arrived in the morning.  amazing how dry CA is right now.  drought was pretty obvious from the air i thought.  no real drama on the flights. i had a close connection in Seattle.  when i mentioned that my next plane was boarding as we were landing people were super nice and let me get ahead of them deboarding.  i ran to the tram, zipped to the gate and boarded.  off we went for next part of flight. i never sleep well on planes.  i flew all night again last night, first class no less and i still don't think i slept much.
 of course having a GI bug probably didn't help.  woke up in the wee hours with puking and spent the day feeling queasy.  my sister was sweet and went and bought me saltines and 7-up.  i was dreading the long drive back and the overnight flight.  nothing like being in public places with a GI bug.  i stopped a lot, drank water when i could and didn't eat but a bite or two here and there.  nothing to puke up was the goal.
 crashed after the cab dropped me off at about 5am....spendy cab ride from the airport.  will have to remember that next time i plan my flights.  have discovered i prefer sprite to 7up.
 i write out walrus rock where ever the opportunity allows.  thought this was cool.  this was in the shops of Laguna.  Claire and i went shopping that morning, then she met her mom for a spa appointment and i headed out to wander a few cool beaches in Laguna.  so many pretty places to see and i wanted to have as much beach time as i could while i was in sunny CA.
 lunches and dinners with friends.  Z works at the clinic still and below is Sully and Gnat.
 i stayed at gnats 2 nights. great to see her place.
 great to be home with Blossom.  kept talking about missing my girls...briefly forgetting that i now only have my one girl.  :-(  the cats were missed as well.  still felt the effects of the GI bug today so we just did a short bog walk.  that was probably a bit shorter as we got turned back part way due to a moose on the trail.  the trails are icy up here.  apparently they got some lovely snow, played for a day or so and then the chinooks blew in and made it all ice again.  boo!!  it was snowing as i flew in last night so just an inch or so covering all the ice.
 first class was nice.  free tv, free food, drinks...i chilled in the Alaska Air board room since i had over 3 hours to chill after my long drive south from Soledad.  it was oddly difficult for me to find a comfortable position in those big seats.  they are further from the window so the usual ways i contort myself on the regular seats just weren't working.  no doubt the GI upset was not helping.  it was nice to fly first class though.  looked out the window and didn't see wings.  some different noises up at that end.  the flight attendants were super attentive.  could totally get used to that.
 RL below with one of their cats.  they have quite a few dogs and cats.  that is the life of a vet, haha.
 their newest pup was curled up on my lap.
 stopped by the house i grew up in.  people were home but i wasn't brazen enough to go ask for a tour.  i also stopped by the Laguna beach house on 151 Dumond Drive.  a guy was out there and i mentioned that Grandpa has built it.  he didn't show any interest in giving us a tour.  looks like they have done some work, putting a front deck on it, redoing the stairs.  he can own it but it will always be ours partly.
 we all had fun at Pinnacles National Park. in the morning Monday i went with Linda and Mark for a nice hike out there.  i had bought the little flashlight at the visitors center which we were all happy i did.  part of the trail goes through a "cave" which is more of a place where all the rocks have fallen in to create this cave.  it was dark in there and the "trail" was odd, climbing up and around.  more climbing than we expected.  happy we got to experience it.  the rock formations out there were really pretty amazing.  you can't see at all driving in to the park what you are in for.  there are two entrances to the park....we decided next time we'll have to meet at King City and do the East end of the park.
 we returned to the park with SH and her two kids in the afternoon after they arrived.  IH got to use the flashlight to explore this "cave" and then she was our guide for the day.  so cute.  she is a great little hiker.  her little brother caught a ride with SH.  great kids, so cute and fun.  we all had such a great time hanging out...even if it was short.  totally worth the drive.  fun actually to drive that route.  haven't been there for years.  always loved Pismo so i stopped both ways.  just got state park passes and pulled into many coming and going.  hit some spots i hadn't hit before....short but sweet.
 sunset at Laguna.  fun seeing all my nieces and nephews down there as well.  some it had been some time since i'd seen them.  all but one of my brothers 6 kids were there.
 pulled into my old Jr High for a quick shot as we headed back to Gnats place one night.
 that is my cousin, LH below.  fun to see her.  she came down fri night and then again sat to chill with everyone at the beach.
 it was a victoria cove day.
 my niece, SH took this shot...loved it.  hope it's ok i shared it here.  :-)  we were the leaders of the hike so we took a photo together.  she saw a walrus today on a moving van and remembered that i like cute!! i have followed these cuties on the family blog and on facebook but finally meeting them live and getting to experience their wonderful personalities live was such a treat!! so appreciate SH and the Larr's for making the drive!!
 these really area all scattered.  Linda reads bedtime stories...she is super good at it!!  i was even drawn in to the tale.
 my friend Carla's puppy, Tulip...another vet another rescue pup.  i stayed one night up at her place as well.
 went with Carla and Gnat out to Claremont.  we hit a garden/aboretem that i'd never been to. got to get my cactus fix in and then we wandered around town.
 then topped it off with $20 massages in San Gabriel.
 my brother and i got a bit heated on Wednesday night.  his usual speech about all of us not meeting our potential.  in his mind this conversation is a compliment because he is trying to say we are all so smart we could have done anything.  only problem is he doesn't really say it in a way that comes across as a compliment.  don't ever say to a nurse, "you could have been a DR instead of being JUST A NURSE".  that never goes over well.  so we got into it for a bit.  i think his wife was thrilled as i tend to say what comes into my head...things like the fact that he is a bit of a bully when he argues.  we calmed down at some point and ended up staying up until 3 am talking.  mostly politics...mostly him probably.  i did offer up some of my finer blog entries on my ideas of sending violent offenders off to the war zones...they give up their citizenship, we arm them and drop them in to fight against terrorists...if they survive we can revisit the possibility of their returning as citizens with a clear record.  my other one being that all kids in US should have a Citizenship/survivor/military summer camp at the age of 12-13.  perhaps, could help change some paths to a better route.  he seemed to find these interesting ideas.
 sadly i think he argues like the lawyer he is.  apparently he has no memory of any of the many heated discussions we have had.  perhaps when you argue for a living they all blend together.  not so much for me.  a later conversation with his wife and my niece it was discovered that what i had felt was a pretty significant heated discussion several years ago hadn't been all that significant to him.  i had just mentioned that we hadn't had one of those heated talks since now i had to explain...
 that totally came back to bite me Saturday Morning in the form of a pile of documents being dropped by me as i ate breakfast.  wills and financial documents.  clearly the point of the argument from Wednesday was lost in that mornings intimidating handling of this 8 inch pile of papers.  i had told him he was a bully when he argues on Wednesday...dropping a pile of papers is a great move in court no's great to intimidate in that situation  sadly...with people you care about there are probably better ways to go about things.
 really, that just made me feel  badly for him.  i sat quietly ignoring the papers sitting between us as we ate breakfast.  the elephant in the room abated and a more civilized conversation returned.
 this was part of the trail in Pinnacles.
 just made me think about arguing.  as a lawyer, this is common for him to argue cases and to do what is needed to win or come out ahead.  this tactic may not always serve him as well with those he cares about.  when you do things like that as a lawyer it's great, intimidating, when you do it as a brother, it's really just mean and intimidating in a bully way.  you can't argue the same with family as you do in court.  i mean, you can but i suspect that the more you "win" in these sorts of arguments with family...the more you actually lose.  people fear the argument that tends to be one sided and unwinable so they just back down or find a way around you.
 the tower in Laguna at Victoria's cove.  the water was high...looked cool.
 the same is probably true for those who like to debate.  great to have these intellectual debates with colleagues but if you constantly try these debate tactics on loved ones, kids, siblings you may "win" the debate but you have lost in the bigger picture.  dominating any discussion or argument or will always feel like a win in the moment but in truth it's a loss down the road.  you always have to find a new audience to listen to you drone on about your supposed  well researched points because the old audience will tire of it.  children/family don't wish to be intimidated or lectured.  they wish to be heard and understood. those sorts of heated arguments may not be emotional for one but they often are for the other.  i remember disagreements...they are upsetting for me.  perhaps because i live alone so i have fewer folks to argue with?
 in the end we again recovered from the pile of baggage that had been placed between us that morning.  it's family, it's what you do.  don't like that these things come up though.  seems silly when you see people so infrequently to have to have these heated discussions take up any time that should be just having fun.  i'm also not known for having the ability to just lay back and nod when i disagree with something.  perhaps there is a reason i live in Alaska besides just the beauty.  haha.
 the tower and the pool in victoria cove are staples.  not sure i've seen the pool this full, by the lower tide it had drained mostly out though.  we returned later to check it out and went over to the Devils Bathtub as it's called.  many of the rocks there are worn down from time.
 Linda brought a puzzle and she and IH put it together.
 above with my friends in Atascadero. Pinnacles.
 these were of downtown LA as i drove from the airport.  i know you probably shouldn't take photos while driving, but they still came out decent.  i used Miss Google Maps for directions.  strange to turn yourself over to a computer to get around.  overall she does well, does drain the juice from the phone.  she wasn't perfect but she didn't ditch me in any bad neighborhoods so i was cool with Miss Google Maps.  my friend was surprised i hadn't used her before, but it's pretty tough to get lost on the road system in Alaska.  now off roads...well that's a different story.
 she did take me down a toll road.  hopefully i figured that out.  i paid it, but not sure if i just only have to pay one way or if i did it wrong and didn't catch the second one when i paid.  guess i could check again.  you have 5 days.
 now to get back to life and all the Christmas stuff.  the cards are addressed i just have to get a letter written and mail them out.  now thank you notes as well to all my CA peeps for helping make such a fun trek!! vacations are fun but tiring.  love to visit but i am somewhat of a home body.
 head back to work tomorrow night. will turn in early tonight.  not much sleep last night at all.  i did make it from like 6-10 am this morning after arriving home.  will get Blossom back on schedule.
 she chewed up some of the little fencing stuff i just repaired to keep her our from under the deck today...rebellion?  depression?  not sure.
 need to get back at the WARIS stuff.  had the thought that we should check into REI.  they have a room at the store that they do lectures at.  need to talk to whoever arranges that...see if we can do a walrus talk and have fish and game talk about the adventure of visiting the sanctuary.  could be cheaper than other places i've seen to rent.  see if we can get a walrus biologist to talk.  perhaps in January.  help get interest in the island.  that thought came to me right before i took off...time to follow up.  we still have some calendars that need homes...Christmas gifts anyone???  perfect for the walrus lover in your life!!  :-)
 skyline my first night back in LA.  helped walk my friends dogs, above.  so much easier walking dogs that are so small.  hehe.  love her floors...cork.
 fun seeing different trees than we see up here.
 and of course, the cactus and succulents.  always favorites of mine.
 chilling with friends in Claremont.  i'd never hung out there before.  great to experience new things in a place you spent so many years at.
 so just wanted to check back in.  i'm home...!!
 shadow fun in Claremont
thankful for:  A.  safe travels and dog and cat care while i was away so i didn't need to worry too much B.  for being able to catch up live with so many friends and family members.  C.  for great weather, warm beaches, blue skies, waves, sun....good night

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