Monday, July 18, 2011

Busy Busy Weekend

Since my teenage New York grandchildren were visiting San Diego, our weekend activities (usually with everyone going his or her own way) accelerated.

On Thursday, they went with their uncle and cousins to Nickel City. All the games cost one nickel (5 cents). The younger grandchildren always enjoy going there. The teens told me that they enjoyed it as well. Then, following dinner, the family was off to Corvette Diner for dessert. My teenage granddaughter said that it was now her favorite diner. My teenage grandson had a hat made of balloons, as did the younger grandchildren. There is quite a variety of shakes and ice cream desserts from which to make your selection. The choices at our table ranged from shakes to a large banana split. After that, they went to the midnight showing of the new Harry Potter movies. Hear tell....they went to the Studio Diner in Kearny Mesa and got home around 4:30am. They probably slept all day Friday.

We met them again on Saturday in the Gaslamp Quarter of Downtown San Diego. Lunch was at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza on Fourth Avenue. The family enjoyed a great salad and several different kinds of pizza. Since I am on a protein diet, I ordered Kobe Beef Hamburgers without the rolls. They were the size of "sliders". They were very tasty and served exactly as I requested with no roll or sauce, etc. However, I didn't realize that Kobe beef has a higher fat content than regular beef. It still tasted delicious without any sauce or accoutrement's. After lunch, the teenagers toured the area with their Cardiff aunt and uncle.

On Sunday, we all went to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas. It was a pleasant experience for me since I've never accompanied the family to the beach before. After three hours of playing in the sand and surf, a restful lunch was in order. Later in the day, my grandson took my two granddaughters and myself to the Delmar Golf Center to use the driving range. He told me early in his visit to San Diego that he was taking me there. My grandson is a member of his high school's Varsity golf team. On Sunday, I saw how promising my granddaughters, both the 14 year old and the eight year old, were as golfers. For someone who never hit a golf ball, the teenager did very well, as did the eight year old. After we repeatedly complemented her, my teenage granddaughter called her father in New York and asked for golf lessons.

That evening, we had to say farewell to my New York grandchildren. We all enjoyed their visit. Perhaps they will come again....maybe to attend college.

This afternoon, as my daughter and I did an errand, we decided to go out to diner. As discussion ensued, I suggested Filippi's in Pacific Beach on Garnet Avenue. I could feel the lasagna calling me, even though I didn't get that. The food at Filippi's is great and we especially like the atmosphere at the Pacific Beach restaurant. After the children enjoyed their ice cream, we decided to go to the beach (three or four blocks away).

We found a parking spot about a block away and walked the beach. Actually, the grandchildren gleefully ran and jumped up the beach. As the sun went down, we stopped to see a man having a little show on the beach. His talent was juggling fire torches as well as balancing them as he stood on a ladder (unsupported) on a small 4' by 4' platform in the sand.

As we walked back to the car we all agreed that sometimes "spontaneous" outings can be quite enjoyable.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

San Diego Night Zoo

This afternoon I went with my daughter and family, as they took two of my East Coast grandchildren to the San Diego Night Zoo. Our East Coast visitors are 14 years old.

We arrived around 3pm and headed for the "Urban Jungle." On the way, we visited the tropical birds including the Laughing Kookaburra, which my four-year old grandson can imitate perfectly and the peaceful koalas. This time there were nine koalas sitting, sleeping or eating on branches. The spectators are usually very quiet. It's almost like they are taking on the aura of this exhibit.

Finally, we reached the giraffes and crossed the street to see two rhinos cavorting. We were just in time to watch an employee named Heidi feeding Murphy (a red river hog). As we circled around past the rhinos, we found them playing roughly with each other. It was quite a spectacle to see these large, heavy animals actually pushing each other back and forth over a length of 30 or 40 feet. After that we stopped to see one of the Night Zoo acts, Jasmine and Jade Jumpers, performing there. After enjoying their acrobatic antics, we left to find a place to eat supper.

My daughter suggested the Sabertooth Grill at Elephant Odyssey. Everyone enjoyed their choice of dishes....macaroni and cheese for the four year old, a chili bowl, a hamburger with onion rings for the teens, chicken wrap and chicken rice plates for the adults while watching the elephants. As we were eating, my daughter told us she spotted Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna on a VIP tour as we were watching Heidi feed Murphy, the red river hog in the Urban Jungle. Not that I'm a celebrity hound, but it would have been nice if she told us at the time. I remember standing outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles with my Cardiff daughter to see the Wiggles. My daughter said, "Don't look now but there is an actor standing over there, but I can't remember his name." I immediately looked in that direction. She said, "You looked. I told you not to look." It was just a natural response. I guess that at the zoo today, my San Diego daughter decided that Harry, Lisa and the children deserved their privacy. Last year, I took my San Diego granddaughter to the zoo on the day the new Polar Bear Exhibit opened. That night the TV Newscaster related that Tori Spelling was at the exact same place that afternoon. I didn't see her, but most likely wouldn't have recognized her anyway. I'm sure many famous people visit the zoo without being noticed. Well, on another subject, with full stomachs, we ventured over to the elephants.

Then, back to the entrance to take the much anticipated tour bus, the last one of the day. We all sat on the upper level and had a great forty-minute ride. In some instances, being on the upper level prevents you from seeing some animals. However, I consider it fun anyway.

At 8pm, we saw the Front Street Finale. There is a short parade which includes the spectators. We returned to an act the grandchildren had seen last week. The young performers from China were very talented. We tried to congratulate and speak with them until we realized, as they nodded and smiled, that they most likely didn't speak English. Then, on to the Skyfari aerial tram, so that our guests could see the whole park.

Just as we were ready to go home, my teenage granddaughter asked where the iguanas were. As we were near the reptile house, in our entourage went. That is, except me. I don't go into reptile houses. They came out a short while later, satisfied with what they saw. They all spoke about a large ancient turtle.

Our six hours at the zoo seemed to fly by. My teenage East Coast grandchildren have been to the Bronx Zoo in New York a number of times. I think they really enjoyed their day at the San Diego Zoo.

To my Southern California friends, you would really enjoy having a zoo membership. It enables you to visit for two or three hours anytime you want. The zoo map details which trails are easy and which are steep. You can choose to see a part of the park at your leisure so you don't miss anything. That's how our family does it.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Thanks to Our Troops

As I join my family and friends on the Fourth of July, I would like to thank the good Lord for the freedoms we enjoy so blithely in the United States of America. I say, blithely, because while we go about out lives, day out, it is so easy to take freedom for granted. As we have our cookouts and fireworks, we should remember that these freedoms are a result of the dedication of our Service Members stationed throughout the world. Their steadfast commitment enables us to live and travel in relative safety. If I see a member of our Armed Forces on my travels, I make it a point to say "Thank you." If I'm able, I will hand them a few dollars for lunch. Usually, the recipient is embarrassed, but gracious. However, I believe it is important that each person in uniform personally realize that we are thankful. I also believe that, in this suffering economy, they have less money to go around, than we do.

As we celebrate our freedoms today, please join me in prayer for our Armed Forces.

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