Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mysteries and other things

So vacation may be over, but am I ready to give up this blog? I don't think so. I've been thinking about blogging for a while now. I don't want to do just a "deals/coupons" blog, don't want to just ramble on about my life, per se, I guess I want to make a difference somehow. I've had an idea percolating for a while now and I'm just waiting for my daughter's okay to speak of it. So, stay tuned for the outcome! If Kenna ok's it, then I will set up a whole new blog. I don't want our names used and you shall see why if I do it. Mystery IS my middle name!

Friday, March 19, 2010

California is but a memory.....

Finally home and I just can't believe how tired out I am from vacation! I know that sounds really funny but it's true. The drive from Carlsbad took longer than getting to the LA area! AND I had about an hour of uphill/downhill mountainous terrain which is NOT my cup of tea. I had to read my book the whole way. I've always had an issue with depth perception. My doc said it was something to do with my eyes and my ears not communicating with my brain! But it really messes with me when it comes to heights and other stuff.

So, to continue on with yesterday's stuff.....

Den, Kenna and I exploring the city areas of Oceanside and Carlsbad looking for lunch options. We ended up eating at Island Burgers because I was craving their Chicken sandwich. Remember: still burgered out! I love the Island Burgers Chicken. I know, "but they are burgers!" But they do a Grilled Chicken sandwich sooooooooo good. Add to that it's only $7.95 for the huge Chicken sandwich, fries and a drink is a deal. Moist, yummy marinated Chicken on whole wheat with onion straws, avacado and mayo. Delish! Iced Tea and it's perfection!!!

So then we meandered down the beach and ended up curiously close to where Mom and Dad were lunching with Nikaya Kipp, who is from Nashville and a former student of Mom's, I used to babysit her and her Dad was a teacher with Mom....ya know, we know her! We found their lunching place and caught up with her.

Then we went to a store near her office (massage therapist and I wish I'd had an appointment!) which reminded me so much of the "old days" of going to wholesale shows. It was booth after booth of ridiculously overpriced stuff which was really pretty and cutesy but I know how much it wholesales for, ya know? We did get a cool present for Barb (Den's Mom). They had the cutest butterfly mobile....and she loves butterflies.

Anyway, that whole area of Solano Beach is so awesome! It's a Design area full of really expensive furniture. Loved it. Couldn't afford it but loved it! Then we all split up again and Den, Kenna and I went back for one last beach adventure. McKenna needed to get her bottle filled up with California Sand!

Later, we all went back to Sammy's Woodfire Pizza (Hey, Sammy, come to Phoenix!) I got the same Chicken, Hummus and Kalamata Olive on Lovash sandwich....why mess with Heaven! Mom and Dad got the Lobster Bisque and that's what I'm having next time. There WILL be a next time! YUM!

Got Dad's pics downloaded to my computer too so enjoy the pics as well. I loved, loved, loved this trip. It was really great to do the trip with my Mom and Dad. We are so lucky to enjoy each other so much! Kenna really needed the break, as did I! I think Den is much happier too! I didn't say Good bye so much as: TTFN California. In the words of your Governor: "I'll be back!"

Back to the Daily Grind....

I'm being hurried by the hubby. Gotta get on the road. It's about a quarter to ten and I said we'd leave at 10...and by God, we're going to! Oh, yesterday was fun. I'm not ready to leave and I'll have to wait to post my last day thoughts when I get home today. Gotta keep that time commitment and Kenna's still under the covers. Good bye California...........I hope I see you again soon.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I've got the vacation's almost over blues......;(


I tried to add more to yesterday's post but I have to tell you that while I LOVE this hotel, blatantly advertise for La Quinta Carlsbad, CA here, their internet leaves a bit to be desired. Actually a LOT to be desired. Sometimes you can surf crazy fast and other times it's like dial up! So the area that the hotel is in has a Porsche dealership two doors down (and the cars are kept OUTSIDE!) and the homes around it are so beautiful...the hotel must have been here forever to afford such an address!

So yesterday found us back on the first beach, with the dog friendly park across the street from it. We decided this is a really terrific place for kids and pups alike! Luckily, Den and Kenna made it back across the area where the beach crew decided to bull doze the beach to get the water near the park back out into the ocean a bit....because they dozed about three times and suddenly the water rushed and about a 20 foot drop occurred within minutes. The lifeguards were very busy telling kids (and adults) to move it away from the area.

It's hard to explain but apparently they didn't want so much water in the park area. It was quite interesting to watch. It would have made it difficult for my guys to get off the beach the easy way, the other way being extremely rocky. Yikes.

So after the beach we chilled for a while and then went for a very non-Irish Olive Garden dinner! I don't care for Cabbage and Corned Beef. Who needs it? Ick. Now, onto our last day....I think we're going to go exploring around Carlsbad town. It's a fun little area. Nice little shops and tons of cafes. Or back to Sammy's. Who knows where the day will take us. Mom and Dad are lunching with one of Mom's former students (whom I used to babysit!) so it's just Me, Den and Kenna to explore.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Another day in Paradise!

Last night we went to another of our favorite restaurants. Ruby's diner. You may be able to have a little slice of heaven if your Costco carries their sliders in the frozen section. If not, then you better come here! It's an old-fashioned theme with real shakes and malts and the best burgers you could try. I had a Kobe burger with Portobellos and Provolone. YUM!

Oh, and to make it neater, we went to the local Costco before dinner to see what they might have that ours don't carry. They had gift certificates to Ruby's Diner: $50 worth of certificates for $40! That's a NO BRAINER! We also had a coupon from a package of the sliders for a free shake. I'm thrifty ya know? Good deals, good deals!

Now we're trying to figure out what to do with the day. Late day sleeping in. Gee, must be on vacation, huh? More later.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I don't want to leave here.............

It's Tuesday which gives us the rest of today, tomorrow and Thursday. We leave Friday. It has NOT been long enough. Reality hits Friday the minute we pull into our driveway. Back to drop off and pick up from school, homework, dinner: AGHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Don't EVEN think about reality. Back to vacation:

Lunch was in Encinitas today and it was okay but nothing spectacular. We hit another Thrift store and Mom found a couple of things. I found a book. Yea.

Serenity at the beach! Well, okay, not QUITE serenity. We (the girls) went to the beach where dogs can be. Quite a feat to find in this area. Paid $3 to park for an hour and took Syd down to "embrace her beach diva~!" Um, sure. She told us it wasn't her "cuppa".

Let's just say that even though the signs say all kinds of things like: dogs must be on leases, etc. Not a dog was being either watched or leashed by their owners. Except Syd! When together, dogs tend to gather and display "pack like mentality". Which means about five to six dogs all running together, getting wet and then shaking off wherever they might be (and that was usually right NEXT to ME!!!!), humping the dog nearest to them, a couple trying to hump those impossible to reach, but humping was happening. EVERYWHERE!!!

Dogs were peeing, pooping, running, jumping and cavorting around in very dog-like ways. The Chihuahuas who thought they were large labs, the two beautiful white standard poodles, the well mannered were around too....but the packs scared the shit right outta little Syd. Twice! She found a place between two rocks and that's where she stayed...until Kenna pulled her out and made her venture near the water. Then she was okay for a while. She sort of enjoyed the beach for a bit and then before our car got ticketed, we took our very sandy and wet selves back up the hill to the car and back to the hotel.

Den and Dad went to the USS Midway today to tour it. They made it back to the hotel a few minutes before us. They went to a Barbecue restaurant which was used in filming scenes for "Top Gun." How cool is that? I don't do tight enclosed spaces like ships, so I'm glad they went together. Now, Miss K and Nana are back from the pool (Kenna's idea of a shower because who cares about chlorine, Mom? Green hair is quite fashionable!) Hey, ya gotta get the sand off somehow!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday, Monday....

So, what did we actually do today? We ended up going to this scrumptious little Mom and Pop restaurant for lunch and then Mom, McKenna and I went to the movies! We found a theater in San Marcos which was playing Kenna's" Percy Jackson and the Olympians" movie...and I have wanted to see "The Blindside" for some we decided to go the 12 miles there. I found a few restaurant choices ahead of time ;) and we piled into two cars.

We found the first restaurant and decided it looked fine for our needs.
It promised good food and pie. Who can go wrong with that? So in we go and sit down. Now, it kind of reminds me of our good friend's Jack and Judy's place and that is a good sign. The waiters all know the "regulars" and it's pretty busy. We all ordered and waited. We were really impressed with the quality of food. I got breakfast, which is quite interesting, considering I usually HATE breakfast foods.

Remember, I am officially "burgered" out so I passed on those but Mom, Den and Dad had them. They were hand pattied and not the frozen hockey puck type! I ordered a skillet with hash browns, eggs, sausage and cheddar...with sausage gravy. Oh, was I the smart one! It was delish! Rye toast which was really good too! We were all very impressed and quite excited when we saw the deal of the day: all slices of pie for $2! We ordered blueberry crumble (K), Coconut Cream(DD), Lemon Meringue(DM), Custard(L) and Chocolate Peanut Butter(S). They bake them all on premises and they each were phenomenal!

Then, perhaps due to the pie, Den decided he was a little under the weather, so he and Dad went back to the hotel to veg and the women went on to the movies. We did a spot of thrifting before hand, but two of the three places I mapped were out of business. Boo hoo....Nana found some stuff though!

I had wanted to see The Blindside for quite a while and it did NOT disappoint. Now, I really understood many of the situations with the "friends" that Leanne Tuohy dealt with...and I'm sure some stuff was worse for them being in the South....but I did relate to it all. I remember when family members wouldn't talk to my brother and I even remember a cousin telling him that they couldn't play Frisbee with him because he was a N word. I'm pretty sure that there were much better, more graphic bad things that happened to that family which weren't in the movie version.

I'm okay with Sandra Bullock winning Best Actress. I also think that Gabby Sidibe should have won but the Academy wasn't ready to give the Oscar to a fat, black actress! Sadly...............but still I'm okay with Sandra getting it. I cried during The Blindside.

Well, my dinner has arrived and I'm going to go eat! We're eating Calzones from one of our fav pizza places, . In tonight. Being on vaca is very tiring! Well, I got a Ham & Salami Calzone and it was to DIE FOR! Garlic Cheese Bread!!! Kenna got Quatro Formaggio Pizza (4 cheese) and Mom and Pop shared a Spinach Calzone. Den had Sausage and Peppers Calzone and obviously he's feeling better to eat that!

All this eating makes me sleepy and all this sleeping makes me hungry! (family fun quote)

I have NOT eaten so much in months. Surely, I must walk forever tomorrow to compensate. Too bad the hips are NOT going to agree...they are hurting puppies. Ugh.


What to do, what to do...........

Anyone who knows me, knows that I tend to OVER think things. Yes, anxiety is my middle name! Part of my anxious issues includes always having a plan for vacation. I mean planning down to where we eat each meal and what we're doing each day. Well, I'm trying to "live in the moment" and I purposefully haven't planned every tiny detail out this trip! I do have a few dining choices up my sleeve, but otherwise, I'm winging it.

So, therein lies the issue! What should we do today? Well, the only things we bandied about were that Den really wants to tour the USS Midway. My dad thought that sounded good too, as his brother Russ was stationed on the Midway during VN. So the guys are going to do that sometime and my Mom and I wanted to hit all the really cool resale shops around of my fav's is just off the beach. I am wondering if it's still there.

I don't know when we'll go but I think it will be fun! I am trying hard to "let go...." and I am pretty sure it's not supposed to be a thing you "try" to do!!!! Eh, we shall see.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

We're Finally at the Beach!

We woke up after a somewhat noisy night at the La Quinta Irvine, CA. We were quite ready to see some water. After a pretty quick drive we made our way into Oceanside. We decided to find a little beach along this stretch due to the much easier walk to actual beach than the rocky, steep descent that most of Carlsbad has. We were lucky to find parking places right near a public beach entrance. Excitement! Oh, what? No puppies on the beach? Okay.

So Kenna, Daddy and Poppy (other name of Bumpa, Grandpa, Dick) made their way to the shore for a shell-seeking afternoon. Nana and I went to the public dog park across the street. We found a very nice bench and set about making friends with several canines who came to make Syd's (Nana and Poppy's dog) acquaintance. This made Syd's day and Mom and I really enjoyed hanging out watching the birds. There was this really cool bird which looked like some sort of Heron and several really neat looking ducks. All black head and white bill but different than the duck bills I'm familiar with...and all much smaller in size.

We bonded with quite a few ladies on the trail we were near and also bought some Girl Scout cookies from a girl quite close to her 500 box goal. What a terrific idea to bring a wagon full of cookies to a park full of picnics near a bunch of surfers! They were doing a wicked business!

Then off to Sammy's Woodfire Pizza for a "Linner" (lunch/dinner) of yummies. This is one of Den's favorite eating spots here. I think my tastes must have improved from our last visit. It was quite delish this time! We'll probably hit it up again before we leave. Everyone was happy with their meal and we ran the gamut from Salads to Pizza to Wraps.

I'll post more picks on facebook but I've included a few. Kenna and Nana are swimming in the pool and Den is snoring on the couch. Love this family-friendly hotel right down the street from a Porsche dealership with mega million homes surrounding. So wonderful. I really would move here if I hit a Mega Millions lotto myself! This is the shit.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Maya with Mommy holding her, Maya with Me holding her, Sheba kitty and Kenna plays peekaboo with a hotel door!

Off to Visit Elizabeth and Baby Maya!

So we packed up and headed for Hollywood! Actually a little West of Hollywood....didn't see the Hollywood sign, although we were on the other side of the mountain where it is located. Bummer. Wanted a picture. Little bit of a freaky drive. I don't do mountainous roads well and there were a few today. A few bits of traffic too! Imagine traffic jams in LA!

Got to Elizabeth's and was so happy to get to catch up with her and see Maya for the first time! We also got to meet Elizabeth's cool cat Sheba.......I want her! We completely loved our afternoon of cousin time. Then more traffic and finally Irvine La Quinta! Burgers for dinner from

Yum! Maybe not the best burger in the world, but it was very good and the condiments and bun were extremely fresh. Den is affectionately called the Burger Boy! However, I think a grilled chicken is needed in my thinks I'm "burgered" out for a while!

Vegging at the hotel tonight and then on down to the BEACH and Carlsbad tomorrow. I need to bond with the Ocean again. I miss the sound of waves. Guess I'll have to listen to them tonight on the Ipod to put me to sleep! Oh, I lied. I think Ruby's burgers are tomorrow's feature.

I want Italian soon though. Or chicken or just some soup! Another burger, really? And this was MY idea to hit as many famous burger joints as possible? I guess that's true!

Me Argue? Nah! Cool as a Cucumber!

So, do any of you ever get into arguments on vacation? The first day of our Grand California Adventure was fraught with some big issues. Let's face it: vacation is a hell of a lot of work! We're finally on the road and blam. Not perfect! Aghhhhhhhhhhhhhh...........and I thought that everything would be fine if we could only venture from our home and be cramped in a car surrounded by luggage, going somewhere we've never been!

Some good things came about. Drive time from Phoenix to Ontario, California? Not the six hours I had envisioned....rather like less than 5! Driving the speed limit!! So, we got here at 2 p.m. (1 p.m. AZ time). California does Daylight Savings Time (AZ doesn't) so after tonight we'll be in sync with our computers and watches! We wanted to make it here before everyone ELSE from AZ descended on LA for their spring vacations!

I can't even remember half of what we argued over....oh, where to eat lunch on the road. Den doesn't care for In and Out Burger (what? How can you NOT like fresh yummy burgers, Burger Boy?) But we were in Palm Springs and went to a HUGE I&O and couldn't believe the volume they were doing! WOW!

Oh, I know what the first argument was! I'm editing that whole scene out. I don't want to go there!

Then there was the ultimate Dumb Mommy moment. Kenna got a Build a Bear gift certificate for Christmas. She has been bugging me to take her to get her Bear built. I saw that Ontario Mills Mall had a store. I thought this would be a great surprise for her on vaca. We all went to the mall. We all walked into the massive mall and found the store. We all walked in: except Kenna. She stood at the entrance with her arms folded. I walked back over and asked her what was up. She said, "I don't want to go in there it's for babies!" I then expressed my desire to surprise her for vaca. She said that she'd outgrown that store and didn't want to go in.

Huh? Teen books, now no stuffing an animal and dressing it in radically silly clothing you pick out for an additional fee? Surely, someone has taken my little girl away and replaced her with a surly tween!

So, my mind is racing with : "How do I save this Mom Faux Pas?" And I think, Fashion! So I told the rest of the clan (Den, Mom and Dad) to pick us up at the OTHER END OF THE MASSIVE MALL and I walked with my daughter to the brand new Betsey Johnson outlet I'd read about. Now, this was a hike! We made it to the store and oggled all the really awesome stuff (which even in outlet form we could NOT afford!) and then went down to a less costly store and found some Uber cute leggings in black with similar two tiered black skirt and Goth Girl was good and Mom's reputation was back in "coolness mode." (Now, Mom this stuff is NOT coming out of my money allotment, right?") Um, right!

Then we couldn't find Olive Garden no matter where we drove...but ended up at Mel's Drive In. It's actually NOT a drive in but a sit down. We sat down, we loved! It's from the Drive in featured in American Graffiti and OMG was it good! Kenna got her salad with massive amounts of Tomatoes and all things vegetarian. We started with Chocolate Malts and Mom had a Salmon dinner which she said was awesome. Patty Melt girl here was happy! Kudos Mel's Drive In!

I was asleep in the room at 8 p.m. Woke up at 6 a.m. Cali time! On vacation? Really! Time for breakfast!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Vacation Eve...

Well, it's now 11:34 and we're still up. Shocking, no. Normal, yes! We shall sleep really good Tomorrow Night! The HP won for the laptop toss up. The Sony had "chicklet" keys. Slightly raised and I liked the HP much better. Wicked cool looking also!

I let Den get it ready and do the initial goofing around. I'll start on it tomorrow. Oh, got a cool Arc Mouse too....just like Mom's! I think we've packed enough to last a month........and Kenna's nails are bright neon green (she can't have nail polish on at her school so it's really a "break" for her!).

Guess I'm off to dreamland and tomorrow will be here soon!

Ca-Li-For-Nia Here We Come!

So I am pretty much packed and waiting for Den and Kenna to get home to go pick out my new laptop! My former one officially clinked because the lid won't close and I'm entirely sick of dealing with it's little foibles. So off to Costco for either an HP or a Sony we go!

McKenna has packed, but I'm thinking I'll take a look and see just what got put in there, before we actually leave. She thinks that two pairs of pants, the underwear she's wearing and a couple of tops makes a suitcase for a week. Um, right.

We went to Bookman's yesterday and we spent my gift certificate I won from the Local First Arizona fair. While there, they were nice enough to have a trivia contest (my forte) so we won an additional $5 voucher because I happened to know that Chuck Norris was born in Oklahoma. Before you ask, "Why, no, I am NOT a Chuck Norris aficionado, just a trivia junkie!" Kenna took some stuff in for trade and they actually bought a movie, so all told we made it out for less than $3 real money!

I was amazed at my "little" girl's choices. Some sort of Vampire book (not shocking), James Van Praagh's LOOKING BEYOND: A Teens Guide to the Spiritual World, Silver Ravenwolf's Teen Witch and a Harry Potter-esque type Dragon tales book. Quite specific reading for an eight year old, yes?

Here's to a week of wonderment and fun as Nana and Bumpa (otherwise known as my parents Lucy and Dick), Den, Kenna and I leave for an exciting and much needed vacation to Los Angeles and then down to Carlsbad, CA. Enjoy the journey!