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 . . .

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