Friday, July 28, 2017

Fireworks, Fiesta, Freedom!

Some people love Christmas, others can't wait for Thanksgiving, a few even call Halloween their favorite holiday, but for me there is one special day that reigns supreme: the Fourth of July!

Since the fourth was on a Tuesday this year and we wanted to get the most bang for our buck we started the celebrations on Saturday with a road trip down to San Diego's Black's Beach and to visit with cousin James at a brewery near his house.

We arrived at Black's beach and settled in for a peaceful lounge on our blanket with our picnic when all of a sudden Dan turned to me and said; "I think there are two women stuck up there on that cliff." I turned to look up at the towering cliffs, and sure enough there were two women waving frantically down to all of us on the beach and yelling for help. By the time I turned back towards the water a beach patrol truck had pulled up 20 yards from our blanket and turned on its flashers and was saying through the mega phone "Stay where you are, help is on the way down!"

This is an extremely popular spot for hang-gliders and within minutes this area was being circled by hang-gliders, other beach goers were crowding our blanket, and the people at the top of the cliff had gathered to watch from above. 

After some tense screams from the one New Jerseyian of "I'm going to die!" and "My feet are slipping!" Dan and I decided to take a stroll along the water to escape the commotion. By the time we returned to our blanket after half an hour of splashing in the surf the women had successfully been rescued.
Above the cave in this cliff is where the two tourists were stuck
As you can see in this article:, one of the women had to be roped up, and pulled out! Yikes! According to the San Diego Patch, lifeguards had to make 283 rescues this year over Fourth of July weekend as the crowds descended on the area beaches.

We followed the paths (and all the rules) and were able to stay out of trouble ourselves. As you can see from the photo below the cliffs are steep and even the paths with stairs were tricky to navigate.

Dan and Mary overlooking Black's Beach
 After our delightful picnic and dip in the Pacific we drove on down to meet cousin James at a local brewery where we shared beverages and pizza as we caught up on one another's adventures. We've decided that we will have to meet in Temecula to visit some vineyards for our next SoCal cousin meetup!

On the morning of the Fourth, I donned my three cornered hat and went for a Freedom 5K run with friends, neighbors, and many community members.

Suzi, Beth, Beth's daughter, and Mary run by Dan on N. Mills Ave
Dan and Annie stayed home from the race to cheer us runners on from the comfort of the front porch. Then she begged Dan to put her three-cornered hat on her so that she could be sufficiently patriotic for the rest of the day's activities.

Annie and Dan getting in a festive mood
 Later that day we invited friends over to view the fireworks that the city puts on in the Pomona track and field area across the street from our house. Beginning around 4:00 pm people began lining up along our street waiting for the gates to open for them to claim the best fireworks viewing spot.

Patriotic People parading down our street
 In preparation for our guests we made many nibbles (and of course a patriotic fruit tart). The fireworks did not disappoint and a good time was had by all!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Birthday Voyage to Catalina

For Dan's birthday on July 9th we hopped on the Catalina Express to enjoy his special day!
Riding the boat to Catalina Island
When we arrived we were greeted by merpeople and seashells aplenty.

Is that Cousin Meghan and her beau?
We enjoyed some time at many beaches.

Mary and Dan enjoying a cuddle at Lover's Cove

A plethora of  seashells 
We enjoyed our time at the Catalina museum which was featuring a fantastic exhibit by Dale Chihuly.
Mille Fiori

Seafoams by Dale Chihuly
We also enjoyed an electric trolley ride up to the William Wrigley Memorial (he once owned the entire island and the Chicago Cubs had their spring training there from 1920-1950).

View looking out from the memorial

Dan is annoyed that he can't feed the Foxes
We also had a grand time biking along the coast and up to the Descanso Beach Club where we each had a nice beachy cocktail while listening to a band.

Then we were steered to the Lobster Trap where we had a phenomenal meal of fresh caught sand dabs, and grilled mahi-mahi. It was fantastic! After watching the sun go down we took a ferry boat back to the main land.

Sun going down on Catalina
It was a fantastic celebration befitting of a terrific guy.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Adventures in LA County

Last month for surprise date day, Dan and I took the metro train to LA's Union Station then walked to a terrific vegan Thai restaurant then walked to MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) where we saw a fabulous exhibit by Kerry James Marshall.

Along the walk we passed by the stunning Disney Hall as well as the new Broad Modern Art museum.
Disney Hall
After the museum we went to the Grand Central Market where we picked up some fresh made pasta for dinner that evening as well as a couple fancy petit fours from Valerie Confections a locally owned bakery specializing in all sorts of treats.

Earlier in the month I spent three days in Marina del Rey for a conference on Special Events in Advancement. One night, a woman from Toronto, and two women from Nashville and I drove to Hollywood to do the Hollywood walk of fame.

Look who I found there:
My Aunt Nancy is famous!
We also enjoyed visiting the Chinese Theater and Roosevelt Hotel (where we saw the ballroom that hosted the first Oscars!).
Chinese Theater

Roosevelt Hotel
In addition, we saw where the Oscars currently take place:
Where the Oscars Happen
Marina del Rey, where my conference was happening was beautiful:
Marina del Rey view from our hotel roof
After a terrific conference learning about events and making new contacts I drove out to Santa Monica where I met up with Katie, Leah Jude, and John for dinner:
Katie, Leah, and John

Saturday, July 1, 2017

June in Meechegan

On the 14th we flew to Michigan to spend a few days with Dad and for Dan to attend and present some new research at the Omohundro conference at the University of Michigan. (GO BLUE)

On our first day there Dad and Dan went out to Seva for lunch while I met up with my friend Jenn for lunch downtown. Before lunch I stopped by Sonic Lunch where I hung out briefly with Becky and Hannah.

Hannah, May, and Beck at Sonic Lunch downtown

My Pedicab Driver
Since it was such a hot, humid day I decided to take a pedicab ride to the Washtenaw Dairy where I ordered a kids cone of Mackinac Island fudge. I walked home through Wurster Park enjoying my ice cream treat.

Later that evening Dan went to a dinner party at his old advisor's house while Dad, Becky, and I went out for dinner at Cafe Zola downtown to celebrate Father's Day early and take advantage of the Restaurant Week menu. We had a delicious meal and then we went to the Beer Grotto where an old tennis buddy was playing with her band. We enjoyed the music and sitting outside.

Mary and Beck at the Beer Grotto
Then Becky and I met up with some friends of hers at TOP (top of the Park). The band that night was Mariahi Flor de Toloache, an all woman mariachi band formed in 2008, whose bio boasts that they made history as New York City's "first and only all-female Mariachi group". While this is great and all, Dan and I attended a performance in September 2015 by the Mariachi Divas, a West Coast, two-time grammy-award winning all-female band founded in 1999. Take that Mariachi Flor de Toloache! Who new that there were so many all-female mariachi groups - WOMAN POWER!

The beautiful music reminded me of Kevin and Aline's nuptials in Puerto Vallarta in March of 2015 when the mariachi came marching into the hacienda after the bride and groom were wed!

At 10pm (when it was finally dark) the outdoor movie,"Ghostbusters", came on and we headed home, but not before running into the Stay Puft Marshmallow man (who remembers him?) and the Ghostbusters!

Mary and the Stay Puft Marshmallow man and the Ghostbusters
On Saturday while Dan was presenting at his conference Dad went for a bicycle ride then Ruth was kind enough to take us to the Huron Valley Swim Club for a dip!

Ruth, Dadoo, and Mary at the HVSC entrance
The pool was deserted and the water was great. In case anyone is curious about who won at water basketball . . . let's just say that it wasn't Kevin McG. :)

High dive and low dives
Later that day I strolled through campus and the diag.

I also peeked in the William L. Clements Library which is a rare books library that recently underwent a 2.5 year $17 million renovation and expansion, so I was interested to see the changes.
Stone carving on the outside of the Library

The main reading room has remained the same with the added improvement of reading space for scholars. During my time at U of M (and Professor Dan's) scholars were directed to the basement to do their research and reading. Now they can read the rare books and manuscripts in the light of day in the stunning Great Room.

The Avenir Foundation Room, formerly referred to as the “Great Room” at U-M’s William L. Clements Library, is now the main research space for students and scholars working with the collection. Photo by Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography
The Great Room at the Clements. Photo by Eric Bronson, Michigan Photography
That evening Dad and I joined Dan and his conference for a reception in the League. We enjoyed talking with Dan's colleagues and the selection of refreshments and nibbles! After the reception we invited some of Dan's colleagues to join us at Dominicks! Becky and Carolyn also joined us. Carolyn remembered fondly the time she went to Dominicks with our Michigan buddies before her first date with Andy (her now husband).

Mary and Carolyn in Dominick's back garden
Annie had a wonderful stay with her friends at the Heavenly Pet Resort while we were gone, but she was happy to see us and is enjoying kicking off the summer fun!

Annie always takes time to stop and smell the roses

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 . . .