Vacation, Continued

As I mentioned Monday, MK called me up and asked if he could drive to San Diego, and change my flight to meet him there. I had an awesome lazy Sunday shopping with SB, enjoying the sun at Cedar Door with SB KD and JC, and saying goodbye to JC KD and LC over some drinks. I slept in Monday and caught an afternoon flight.

MK decided he wanted to move back to San Diego (I’m not even making a formal announcement this time, what’s the point). You can click here and see all of our moves, and reminisce over where we’ve been. I’m sure there are other places we could try – remember that I asked you here to give us some suggestions.

MK really loved the water and the vibe of San Diego, it’s everything we love about Austin without allergies and heatstroke. We’ve secured a place, that’s why we went – on the bay (Mission Bay, Sail Bay to be specific.)

There are a ton of reasons I’m happy about this. One, our friends threw us a come back soon party to remind us that we met some great people when we lived there, that actually want us to come back. Two, I’m gonna get a beach cruiser. I get in good shape, and get tan. There were friends that didn’t get to visit that I hope will this time around. I might some day have family there…

We stayed with friends and had a great time. We drove back and were planning on hitting a bunch of National Parks and the Grand Canyon, but the thing isn’t even open yet. So we settled for Zion National Park and headed home – on word a huge spring storm was going to give us a little more time to ski.

I want this one

I want this one

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Can You Believe

You’ve all missed me terribly, I know! Well, of course SXSW was amazing and I actually got some really great pictures that I look forward to sharing with you. I had a blast and as always love going back to Austin the best week of the year.

The thing is, though, that I decided I wasn’t done. Or MK did, really. So we’re still vacationing. And it’s a good one. Can’t wait to catch up but you’ll have to give me some time!

outta here

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Break Time

Well, ASH and NH are gone, and we’ve got a whopping 4 day vacation until our next set of guests come. Remember, I keep telling you how much I love the company. That part is true. All my friends clean up after themselves and make such a little fuss they make for probably better company than I do when I travel. They treat me to super nice dinners and totally inappropriately extravagant gifts (NH) and help me pass time and move on from thinking about sad stuff.

I’m just sooo tired! I feel like I never caught up on good sleep. I’m up to two cups of coffee a morning, sucked on my afternoon skiing w/my hubby yesterday, and am kinda having the strangest dreams ever, that end up waking me up and making me very unhappy. MK has been very understanding and we spent the day in the basement playing LEGO Star Wars (dorks). I just want to get going again. Our next guests, SH and JM, are known for their buckets of energy. I’m hoping they can afford to lend me one.

In other news, the end of our lease is fast approaching and as you know the million dollar question is where to next. At this point I’d be happy to hear your non sucky suggestions. It’s getting a little frustrating. I’m all for back to San Diego but there aren’t any places we’ve looked at that blow us away. With MK changing his mind daily from Tampa to the US Virgin Islands (Do phones work there? Do they have grocery stores!??!) I am a little worried he’s going to be making this next move on his own. 😉

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Jaunted Says It Best

I wanted to tell you about all the juicy excitement fueling the little town of Park City as the crazies of LA etc. head in to tear up Sundance. But living here feels different than when we visited here last year anxiously looking around the airport for celebrities.

This time around, who cares. The rented Escalades are in my way, on my birthday weekend. The people shopping at the outlets for sundresses make me laugh (albeit enviously…). So meh, Sundance. 600$ for tickets to movies I’m not sure I’ll like before I wait in line to get in, no thanks. And seriously – the main website, or any other digging I can do is not showing me anything about parties I can sneak in to. Come on. I learned from SXSW, I’ve got skill. Or not.

But instead of me complaining any more, I’ll let you read these survival tips – my fave: don’t come.

j

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Normal Is Chaos

Oh, by the way- we’re in Austin. We moved into our new home on Halloween, spent the night checking out the kiddo’s costumes at the B’s, then grabbed a plane at the crack of dawn. MK wouldn’t let me party style announce our trip because apparently we had so much to do – I think that was mostly he wanted to be in peace while he had his Rudy’s, Taco Cabana, and Rudy’s breakfast tacos. And Brick Oven, and more Rudy’s.

We did accomplish going through all our things and I now have nothing to whine about missing besides my desk. It at first felt depressing but I can remind myself better now than I did years ago that it’s all an adventure some people wish for. PH was hilariously thinking it was a dream come true without any drama, setting her straight on our virtual eviction from paradise was fun. Also letting the H’s know if they don’t visit us in Winter Wonderland they are dead to us was hopefully productive – and hilarious.

Important to note is that it is November. If you feel like perusing- here’s last November. For the last two years I wrote books with NaNoWriMo in November. Last year I also blogged every day for NaBloPoMo. This year, I am going to focus on publishing a book instead of starting another one. And this bog clearly didn’t make the first week, so I’m going to keep it normal around here this month. That’s plenty.

Most importantly, there was this election- maybe you heard about it. It meant something very meaningful to me. MK and I got to take his mother to vote for the first time in her life. Regardless of the outcome – you know I’m not going to fight with you about that here – moments like that make a statement too. It was fun to watch the news into the night with her and hear MK answer all her questions.

We’ll be back in Park City soon – apparently we already missed the first snowfall. But I’m not too worried – something tells me there will be more.

The Short Version

I’m sorry I haven’t returned your phone calls or answered your questions. If others are asking you about me, refer them here. There’s more, but you don’t really want to hear ALL of it.

We had our place until the end of the month. In writing. The 84 year old owner failed to tell the (probably stoned) 30 year old manager that she gave our place to someone else. We found out Monday. We needed to be out on Wednesday. We kept the (probably stoned) manager that had let us lease the place anyway from being fired by agreeing to leave. Then the market got crazy. And we needed the internet. And my car can’t get a tow hitch. And I remembered that I have to go to the dentist Thursday, fully sedated, all day style. So we packed and shipped some stuff to some random addresses. Then we moved almost everything to another apartment, upstairs. That smells funny.

Then we stayed downstairs with the computers until the old lady yelled at us to get out. I stuck my tongue out at her. I don’t think she saw. MK had a rough day. We almost started driving Tuesday. But we didn’t. So, as of today, we will stay one more weekend to say goodbye, and we will leave Monday or Tuesday. But at the rate we’ve been going, I wouldn’t count on it…

We Did Chicago

There was a period of time there when I felt like I had a traveling job. We were flying so much I lived in an airport. We were pretty good at it. We recently changed that up for some road trips and so getting to the airport on time, parking, and checking in all had to be relearned.

We stayed at the Blackstone Hotel Thursday. I’ve never been to another hotel where they waited on us hand and foot. We ate and caught the VP debate. Friday MK traded a little from the hotel, which got us to a late start. BB and MB showed up and we met them at the Chairman’s Suite of the Sax Hotel. It ruled. There were a dozen TVs and a bar, dining room, living room, and enough hallway space for us all to try the moon walk. MB baked cookies and cakes and chex mix and brought all kinds of snacks. I decorated and covered the place in balloons and banners.

Three more friends of theirs and two of ours and it was a party. We almost didn’t want to leave! We checked out the bar scene and totally decided our room was more fun and went back.

The next day we enjoyed giant breakfast and some sightseeing, the Michigan Mile, Millennium Park, and had a drink at the top of the Hancock Tower. We went back for a little more drinking and football until we were starved enough to order pizza at Lou Malnati’s, then ate until we thought we might die. BB’s friends took off and we took MK out for birthday drinks. He got old at midnight and we went to our other not as big but still swank hotel room.

The next day was overcast but we ate and shopped and when the rain started went bowling. The hotel had a Microsoft Suite so we jammed a little Rock Band before MB and BB headed back home too. I took MK out for a birthday hamburger (his request) and we watched the end of the Red Sox game.

The next day we went to Navy Pier, then decided to challenge Lou Malnati’s with Giordano’s. It’s a tough call. Pretty much the only thing I learned about Chicago is the locals are overweight and I would be too if I lived there and ate Chicago stuffed pizza all the time…

So just like I told you here – we did enough but not too much. The idea was to be somewhere other than San Diego and to be with our close friends. We pulled that off and had a fun little break from reality. Now it’s back to work packing and planning. We’ll let my Daddy take us back to see all the good stuff we missed some time.

Don’t forget to read all my captions. They’re painstakingly there just for you.

Pictures Set One: Camera Phone pictures.

Pictures Set Two: Our Camera pictures.

Shot The Car Resale Value

The day I got back from our big vacation trip I got some very important news. AS-H, the woman that introduced me to the love of my life, got me through college, and just generally rules was in town. Well, was in LA. I drove myself back up to Newport Beach and we ate some kick butt and actually healthy Mexican at Avila’s El Ranchito. The healthy was negated by the margarita but whatever! We drove over to Huntington for a little beach and shopping stroll and one more drink before she had to jet set back home. Being a giant super powered attorney rules.

Shortly thereafter(two days), MK got a call that one of his friends from high school was staying at her parents condo in Long Beach for the weekend. We’ve both known her forever too and couldn’t say no. We drove BACK up the good old I-5 again and partied at a couple really random places. Who would have thought we could end up at a karaoke bar, in LONG BEACH? It was rather surreal. When I think surreal, I think RB. So I phoned him and he came from LA to hang out with us. Wonder of wonders, there was a ROSCOE’S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES again, so of course we had to have some 3AM breakfast goodness.

Brief aside: I didn’t go into detail last time, but Roscoe’s might be the best place on earth to eat fried chicken. Seriously. The secret is to mix the tabasco into the syrup and eat the chicken and the waffle and that mix. Holy cow. It sounds odd, but if you’re ever out this way, I’ll show you. Plus, there’s always something crazy going on there. I mean, we did eat in COMPTON and the LBC, so it’s to be expected. It’s living on the edge I tell you.

So, to total that all up, we went up to LA and back to San Diego in three whole separate trips in less than a week. It was a lot of driving. But it was totally worth it. I’m giving thought to living in the OC though, it might make it easier!

Central California

After Santa Barbara we drove north and found more interesting places. We had lunch in the city of Solvang, a crazy Danish inspired village. We were expecting Santa Ynez to be bigger but Solvang made up for it. We ate an awesome meal and tried our first Aebleskivers, shown here:

Aebleskivers

Aebleskivers

The best dessert I’ve had in a while. After walking the shopping area a bit we kept heading north and saw Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo, where we spent the night, at a normal hotel even though we were tempted to check out the Madonna Inn.

I’m putting up two separate links for pictures, here’s one of the drive and random stops,

and the other is the Hearst Castle, in San Simeon. (On these you couldn’t use flash so they aren’t perfect)

Make sure to read that captions I painstakingly add so you know what you’re looking at…

We took so many pictures there it’s easier to see them separately. The main building itself is some 70,000sq.ft. but we saw maybe 10 of that, the outbuildings, and the indoor and outdoor pools on the main tour. We were there 9-12 and some people would go back down to the Visitor Center and take the other tours offered in the same day. The views were amazing, as was the art and architecture. I for one can’t say I’ve ever even heard of this place but was super impressed.

I can’t lie when I admit Mom and Grandma wanted us to see the Ronald Regan library but we skipped it. We did, more importantly, find and drive by Neverland Ranch, because we are giant freaking dorks. We also saw The Hitching Post, where they filmed Sideways. Priorities, ladies…

Amazingly we finished our visit with one last stop in Santa Barbara and made it all the way home in just under 4 hours, which I think is awesome. There is so much to do on the California coast and it pretty much rules that it’s all doable in a day, weekend, or as much time as you want to take.

Santa Barbara

We drove up from LA to Santa Barbara and immediately began running around. We checked out quite a bit of the area by simply driving through neighborhoods. There were some really stunning properties, and with the mountains as a backdrop, many of them have front yard ocean views. You can tell a little from my pictures just how green it is, but I was too busy looking to take really great ones. The whole place feels tropical and lush like somewhere other then the US, some tropical destination.

The city itself had a distinctive college town and feel, and reminded me a little of so much about what  liked about Austin. It was easy to navigate, and we went down to the water and walked the pier sharing an ice cream. We strolled through an artwalk and down State Street, through California’s first mall, and through the many restaurants and shops. There’s a definite tourist vibe (it’s called the American Riviera) but it wasn’t overwhelming like I feel La Jolla is right now. There was certainly less beach but it’s relatively a small place so it wasn’t overcrowded.

We saw the mission and stayed the night at a great hotel called the Best Western Pepper Tree Inn. For some reason this quaint and unique hotel had the highest ratings on my phone’s suggestions so we decided to see what it was all about. For how cheap it was it spoiled us with a giant bathroom, giant living room, view of the pool, deck, and amenities everywhere. It was just what we needed to recuperate to head further up the coast.

Here are the pictures from Santa Barbara.