Friday, June 2, 2017

Cunadita visits Claremont!

After our visit to San Diego we told Annie that her Auntie Aline would be coming to Claremont for a visit! Annie was so excited that she climbed this sculpture and asked to be photographed (she's looking exceptionally pretty as she just got her summer cut from Dan).

Annie climbs the Art at the Pomona College Museum of Art
Aline arrived to LAX in the morning and Dan and Annie drove to pick her up. After I got off work at 3 we met up at the Scripps campus and I gave them a tour of the campus (which is on the National Register of Historic Places). I took her to the rose garden, graffiti wall, down Tulip Lane, through Seal Court, Sycamore Courtyard, and Eucalyptus Courtyard and we stopped in the Margaret Fowler Memorial Garden to admire the murals, fountains, and plants. This European style cloister garden is a stunning part of campus. A chapel was never built on campus though, so it is a secret garden rather than a cloister garden.

The below mural is by the Mexican artist Alfredo Ramos Martinez, often considered the "Father of Mexican Modernism". The Flower Vendors is 100 feet long and unfinished as Alfredo sadly passed away unexpectedly during his work on the piece.

Aline, Annie, and Mary enjoying the Art
 For dinner Dan cooked up some chayote, vegetable enchiladas with tomatillo sauce (per Alex's suggestion) and we capped off the meal with Aline's favorite dessert: Tres Leches cake to celebrate her birthday!

Feliz Cumpleanos!

Aline blowing out her candles
After dinner Annie suggested a stroll to Pomona College where we could check out the sky space art exhibit. We all enjoyed watching the changing night sky in the space.

The next morning (Aline's birthday) I dropped Aline at the Greyhound station where she took a bus to San Diego to meet her sister and head to Tijuana to visit with family! Thanks for visiting Aline!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day in San Diego and our Fourth Mission

Yesterday Dan and I drove down to San Diego to spend Memorial Day with cousin James. Conveniently, Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala (California's First Mission) was right on our route. So we stopped to pay our dues (and admission fees).

Checking out the Hut

Dan got to sit on the original (and only remaining) wall of the Mission

Father Junipero Serra
 After a quick stroll through the garden, church, and museum we headed off to meet James at his place in Point Loma.

James lives in a great neighborhood a mere two blocks from the Harbor so after hanging out we headed out to Mitch's seafood where we assessed the local fresh catches on the chalkboard and made our orders. We ate overlooking the water where we saw a sea lion swimming around in the Harbor. Then we took a walk to Shelter Island and tried to see if anyone would invite us to join their BBQs (no one did).

After getting back to James' bachelor pad we headed out to La Jolla to check out Mt. Soledad, a Veteran's Memorial at the top of La Jolla that offers great 360 degree views of San Diego.

James and Dan enjoying the view
 At the base of the memorial family or friends have dedicated spaces to honor or memorialize their loved ones who are veterans.

Muriel A. Thompson, a Corporal in the Marines, struck me as a woman ahead of her times!

The views were great from the top, but as you can see, San Diego was pretty socked in on Memorial Day.

Gray Day in San Diego
 After heading back down the windy roads of La Jolla we headed to Ellen Browning Scripps Park (yes, the same Ellen Browning Scripps who established the college where I work) and walked along the cliffs until we found some sea lions. James spotted a sea lion pup who was nursing! We stood watching this little pup nurse for quite some time before we headed back to James' place for our Memorial Day dinner.

Nursing sea lion pup
Chef James cooked up a tasty meal of veggie dogs, mango-jalepeno dogs (two thumbs up), pasta salad with veggies, old fashioneds (featuring his homemade brandied cherries!), and cherry pie a la mode to finish things off (doesn't get more patriotic than that!).

We had such a great time visiting with James - thanks for hosting us, cuz! Until next time . . .

Monday, May 22, 2017

California Adventure

We recently went to California Adventure on a "Hey, it's alright" rated crowd tracker day. And guess what? The crowds were alright. We had a fantastic time walking the park and riding all the rides. Dan's favorite ride was Soarin' Around the World:

Random Family from the Internet having fun on Soarin'
This ride is pretty great because it has fans that create a wind effect for when you're flying around the world and the wind also emits scents such as jasmine when you fly over the Taj Mahal.

My favorite was the roller coaster, California Screamin':

Mary and Dan in front of Mickey's Ferris Wheel and California Screamin'
We also rode the Cars race coaster, Radiator Springs Racers, a couple of times:
Pretty cool fake red rocks, huh?
 We passed by Ariel's Grotto and I had to snap a pic for Kevin A. (Ariel was his all-time favorite Disney character as a kid if I remember correctly).
Ariel's Grotto
 We didn't get any tattoos at the boardwalk, but it's nice to know that it's an option if we want to get a Minnie or Mickey tat next time we're there:

After we got off the swings we serendipitously came across a parade - yay! As longtime readers will know, there is a special place in my heart for a good parade, as seen documented here, here, and here.

The GI Joes were dancing in formation

Dancing JellyFish? Yah, we saw that too
Probably the most impressive parade participant was the woman who did a constant gymnastics bar routine while dressed as a cowgirl. Whew - we got tired just watching her!

Dan has not been to Northern California yet, but we did get a good taste of NorCal when we went through the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail.There was part of a real tree that was older than the state of California which included tidbits about the history of the state. Dan took an interest in this display:
Dan dissects California Adventures version of California History
 Sadly, earlier this year one of the state's great giant sequoia trees, The Pioneer Cabin Tree, in Calaveras Big Trees State Park fell over. But alas, dear readers, don't worry, Dan was still able to walk through a replica of this terrific tree at California Adventures.

Dan was mad when he found out this was a fake tree 
To really get the full Northern California experience we also went on the Bakery Tour hosted by Boudin Bakery (the original sourdough manufacturers in San Fran). We were treated to sourdough samples and then we walked through the bread factory as the bakers made the famous sourdough (and yes, they even shape some of the loaves into Mickey Mouse - this is Disney after all).

Do you see the Mickey Bread on the top rack?

A baker hard at work
The day was capped off by a fun dancing fountain extravaganza put on to Disney hits, and sung by Disney employees (and maybe helped by the crowd).

Dancing Fountains

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

May Visitor and Back to Joshua Tree

Earlier this month Peter was in town attending some presentations by students at Keck Graduate Institute here in Claremont. He came by the house and then we went out for our favorite Indian food and then gave him a tour of the Claremont Colleges.

Peter and I on the roof of Kravis at CMC
Then to celebrate classes being done we took a camping trip to Joshua Tree with our friends Zach and Jérôme. We had a great hike in the park up to an old abandoned gold mine

Abandoned Gold Mine
 We looked out over the great Salton Sea where we could see all the way down to Mexico.

Dan at the Overlook
 We also all found a spirit tree that we felt at one with.

Zach and his spirit tree

Dan finds a cool tree

Mary does yoga with her tree

Jérôme finds a tree he likes
 We had a fantastic campsite in Indian Cove and we enjoyed hanging out by the fire, talking, and make s'mores.
Our campsite
 There were lots of rocks to climb and Dan got busy climbing:
Dan climbing rocks

Sunday, April 30, 2017

This is how you celebrate Birthdays!

On Sunday Julian and Audrey were up early and excited to help celebrate Auntie Mary's birthday. Audrey quickly got to work in the kitchen helping make fruit salad for birthday brunch.

Kitchen Helper
After preparing for birthday brunch friends Katie, Maria, Chelsea, and little Leah arrived to help us party!

The kiddos creating masterpieces for the refrigerator
 After a lovely brunch we moseyed down to the Farmer's Market where many goodies were procured.
Chelsea, Leah, Katie, Audrey, and Mary post-Market
Then we walked up to Memorial Park (picking up donuts along the way) where the kiddies showed off their swinging skills and demonstrated great slide technique.

Ellen, Chris, Katie, Maria, Chelsea, and Dan enjoying some Grizzly donuts

Leah exhibiting great slide form
 After saying farewell to the girls. We hung out at the house, ate some snackies, then had a fantastic birthday dinner of Dan's famous vegetarian Bahn Mihs topped off by chocolate hazelnut cake.
Audrey, Julian, and Mary showing off their birthday chocolates
Audrey and Julian were kind enough to help Dan put the candles in the cake and even offered to help me blow out the birthday candles; lucky me! :)

Audrey, Mary, and Julian blow out the birthday candles!
 After dinner and dessert we skipped up to Pomona College where we arrived just in time to enjoy James Turrell's Skyspace: "Dividing the Light". The box in the middle is the night sky - look how it changes depending on the light displayed on the surrounding ceiling. Aunt Mary and Aunt Patty know how cool this Zen-like space is. All you others who have yet to visit Claremont: look what you have in store for you:

Admittedly, Julian and Audrey were more interested in the merry go round in the science area
We have been so lucky to have so many wonderful visitors lately! Gee, who would have thought Claremont would be so much more popular than SouthWest Missouri?!?! Up next, Uncle Peter will be in Claremont from San Francisco for a quick work trip.

McGRundallnesses Invade Claremont!

Last weekend was a blast as we had the McGRundallnesses visiting with us in Claremont on Saturday and Sunday. After camping in Zion for two nights they drove through Nevada to SoCal and after a snack and kiddie yoga we headed out for a campus tour!
Audrey's Triangle Pose

Audrey and Julian doing the Tree Pose
 To kick off the tour we explored the Pomona farm, said hello to the chickens, investigated the smurf house, and admired the various herbs, fruits, and veggies growing in the garden.

Audrey exiting the Smurf House
 After the farm we strolled through Pomona's campus and Audrey and Julian took their rightful spots in the theater's throne chairs after they had some silly antics on the outdoor theater stage.

Audrey in her Queen Chair

Julian lounging in his King Chair
 We took them to the floating living room at CMC surrounded by a moat. Everyone (except Dan) went inside to explore this unusual floating room:
CMC's floating living room as seen from Above
While we were enjoying Scripps' campus Audrey made friends with a lizard.

Audrey pet this Lizard!
Audrey and Julian were able to spot the gargoyles guarding Scripps' Denison Library. Audrey posed in front of the beautiful Denison Library doors:

Audrey is ready to enroll!
The next day all involved helped my birthday celebration be extra special!