Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Family Vacation in San Diego in the Middle of El Niño

Ron and I left Albuquerque and drove for 8 hours to Kingman, Arizona on the first day of the new year.  The next day we drove 5 more hours  across the great emptiness of the Mojave Desert and made it to Poway in California's southern-most county of San Diego.

Here are again on January 3, 2016

 We spent the night with Page and Laurie, our friends who hosted our wedding in their backyard 10 years ago this month.

The weather was warm and sunny (smile).  They were delightful company as we caught up on each of our family's lives.  Laurie made Ron's favorite breakfast - Eggs Benedict - in the morning before we headed off to the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort in Carlsbad.

Our wedding (January 14, 2006) was at Page and Laurie's Poway home
Ron's daughter, Margaret, her husband, Jeff, and five year old son, Max, were joining us for a winter vacation in California.  Coming from Cleveland, Ohio, I thought San Diego would be a treat for them. Actually, Cleveland was experiencing warm, sunny weather and no snow at all in December.  San Diego, on the other hand, was about to get an historic winter storm brought about by the Pacific Ocean's El Niño.  We picked their family up at the airport at 1:00PM on a gorgeous clear sunny day.  The San Diego Harbor was glistening below a sunny blue sky. We had a lovely resort with pools and a children's waterpark and sunset views over the Pacific Ocean.

Our condo was on the 3rd floor
Resort grounds


Max enjoyed the pool area before all the rain

Great place for a 5 year old.

Enjoying one of the many hot tubs

The view of the Pacific Ocean from our condo
Sunset was marvelous

Entering Legoland at 10AM
The next day we went to Legoland (which was just next door to our resort).  It was a beautiful morning and little Max was having the time of his life.  He rode his first roller coaster (twice) and loved it.  He rode boats and planes and horses on various rides.  We stopped for lunch and soon after the wind and clouds descended, then a heavy rain.  We donned ponchos, dodged flowing streams of rain water and exited the park although it was only 1:30PM.

On the boat ride around the world in Legos

The Taj Mahal in Legos

The Eiffel Tower in Legos
New York City in Legos

Mt. Rushmore in Legos
Jeff in Legos
We had three days of heavy rain. But the vacation must go on.  On Tuesday, January 5th, we walked the length of the Oceanside Pier in a torrential wind and rain storm. We were able to warm up at Ruby's Diner at the end of the pier before walking another 1/3 of a mile of the pier back to the car. Needless to say, your tour guide for the day (me) didn't get a tip.

Here's a Brown Pelican fighting the wind to stay put on the pier

On Wednesday, January 6th, we visited the beach during a morning respite from the rain and Max got to experience his first ocean waves.

Max at Tamarack Beach in Carlsbad (Margaret Farrar photo)

We headed for La Jolla after the beach visit.  The weather looked omninous but it was not yet raining. We had lunch at George's at the Cove  and enjoyed a marvelous view of La Jolla Cove.

Ron, Jeff, and Margaret with a ocean-view lunch spot at George's

And here are our views of La Jolla Cove:

After lunch, we drove a short distance to Scripps Institute of Oceanography to visit the Birch Aquarium.

Leopard Fish
When we left the aquarium at 2:50PM in a massive rain storm, wind and lightning, I received a loud beep from my phone - it was an "Urgent Alert" from the National Weather Service of a tornado in the immediate area and to take cover immediately.  Never having ever experienced a tornado in San Diego before, we were all a bit confused on what to do.  We decided to drive along the coast 101 route north rather than risk congestion and accidents on the I-5 freeway. Apparently the conditions in La Jolla-Torrey Pines were the worse  but we made it back to Carlsbad with careful maneuvering through the flooding Pacfiic Highway of the beach towns. The news reported that a twister had upended a tree and shut down the power to 8 houses in Vista about eight miles inland from us.   Here is a video of the area where we had lunch earlier in the day.  Social media in San Diego had fun mocking the tornado warning.

We did have some serious flooding from the El Niño generated storm.  Here is Kearny Mesa on Tuesday, January 5th:

By Friday, January 8th, it was sunny again and we all headed for the San Diego Zoo.

View of Balboa Park, Cabrillo Bridge and downtown San Diego from the Zoo Skyfari ride

Polar bear viewing pool

Max with model of baby polar bear and Margaret and Jeff next to a model of a fully grown male polar bear

Polar Bear enjoying a few rays of warm sun


Secretary Bird


Giraffe Family
Cheetah and his dog pal

Friday evening, I stayed home with Max while Ron, Margaret and Jeff  went out to McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurant in San Diego for their last night before departing Saturday morning for Cleveland, Ohio where it was warm and snowless.

Sunset over the Pacific Ocean from our Carlsbad condo balcony
The next morning, Ron and I drove back to Albuquerque via the southern route (I-8/I-10) through Tucson.  We enoyed a delicious Mexican dinner at The Guadalajara Grill in Tucson Sunday evening.  We arrived safe and sound January 11th to freezing, windy weather and snow and ice at the house.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Ted Cruz Promotes Cancer As the Cure To America's Problems

Will we elect a quack doctor who promises to "fix" America by injecting
cancer cells into our body politic?

Last night, I watched the Republican Presidential Debate on TV.  It was like watching cancer mestastisizing.  The blind ambition of candidates like Trump and Rubio, but especially Cruz, feeds a self-devouring hatred and fear in the body politic as surely as any cancer devours its own body in a misdirected and deadly attempt to destroy a few malignant cells.  Ted Cruz is the most dangerous of all as he lies and fans bigotry and hatred for government, aka "the United States of America," and the American President even while we are at war.  His demagogery and debating skills allow him to effectively "paint white as black and black as white" for angry citizens who have been lied to for many years by the oligarchs and their fawning minions including Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, et al.   Cruz' dog whistle rhetoric follows the same path as the George Wallace and Nixon campaigns.  

One of the biggest fans of using dog whistle politics, Donald Trump, was stung by the attacks on New Yorkers by Cruz, and finding it personally offensive, he slammed Cruz for his insensitivity to NYC's heroic response to the 9/11 attack

Dear voters, we are seeing a cancer mestasizing in the heart of America brought on deliberately by certain Republican demogogues. The destruction of American unity and truth will only serve the enemies of democracy.