Monday, April 27, 2009

California Spring Break, Day Two

The morning of Day Two, Jay and I got to take the Twins to their art class.  (Yes, art class.  For toddlers.  It was precious.)  They were a handful--all of us got covered in paint and glue and stickers--but we had so much fun!  I still think, out of all the cool things we got to do and see on our trip, playing with the twins ranks pretty high up on our list of favorites.  
Me in Aunt's gorgeous backyard after art class talking (okay, fine, gossiping) with Katie on the phone.   Jay put Girl Twin's bow in my hair (I may be lacking in fashion sense, but I don't usually wear orange and hot pink together).

Later that afternoon, we went to Big Bend National Park with Aunt and the Twins.  It was a cool, overcast day.  The Twins were soooo funny--they loved running around outside.  

These pictures make me laugh.  Every once in awhile I forget that I married a giant, but then I'll see pictures or something like this and get jolted back to reality.  Note not only where Jay's head hits the tree in relation to mine, but also his impressive wingspan.

The redwoods were beautiful--so tall and old and majestic.  

I'm not a huge fan of Twilight (the premise is interesting and the books are entertaining, but the whole thing is way over-hyped.  The movie was okay, but the acting was horrible.  This belongs in another post on another day.), but the moss-covered trees reminded me of the scenery in the movie.  Jay said he would pretend to be my Edward, but I told him no because a) I like a guy who can tan and b) I didn't want him to try scampering up a tree with me on his back.  

The day was cool and there were very few tourists; the woods were so quiet it felt almost like we were intruding.  At one point, Jay and I stopped to rest at a picnic table surrounded by trees and moss and ferns.  The ground was springy and the air was damp.  It was peaceful and serene.

Standing next to the roots of an enormous redwood that fell a long time ago.  When I was little, I would climb up the roots and walk along the top of this tree.  

A pretty little waterfall at the end of our hike.

There is something irresistible to me about fences, particularly antiquated or moss-covered ones.  This was no exception.  

A series of super-flattering pictures, courtesy of Jay.

Jay the wildlife photographer.  The jay is eating a piece of cheese the Twins dropped.

We had so much fun in California.  Have I mentioned that yet?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

California Spring Break, Day One

Well, it's been nearly a month since our spring break trip to California, and I still haven't posted anything about it.  The lame thing about Jay and I going to different schools is that we have different schedules, and spring break was no exception.  The lucky thing is that I get Fridays off and have random days off all the time (chalk it up to Catholic holidays, I guess), so I had Thursday and Friday off during Jay's spring break.  We really had an itch to go on vacation, and not just a little jaunt to Austin--we wanted to get out of Texas.  Not that Texas isn't the greatest state in the Union or anything (y'all can just put those lynchin' materials down now, y'hear?); we just wanted a change in scenery.  

After much deliberation and calculation of costs, we decided to go to visit my Aunt and Uncle in the Bay Area.  I went to elementary school in San Francisco and San Jose, and since my mom's family all lived there, our family would drive back to visit every summer after we moved to Utah.  Jay and I had a marvelous time--Aunt and Uncle were superb hosts.  

Here are some pictures from our first day in town.  First off, we went on a walk to some beautiful gardens a couple blocks away from the house.  We were accompanied by The Twins, Aunt and Uncle's absolutely adorable almost 2 year olds.  (We have some beautiful pictures of them, but to protect them from potential internet creepers, I won't post any here.  I'm planning on uploading a couple to my [private] profile on Facebook so that I can brag on them.)

I know it's weird, but I think snails are cute.  I haven't seen many of them in Utah or Texas, so maybe they make me feel nostalgic for my childhood in California when I used to find them in the yard and poke them with things.  There's just something endearing about those inquisitive little retractable antennae and that pretty little shell.  Slugs, in case you were wondering, are gross.  
Later that afternoon, we drove with Aunt to Half Moon Bay where she treated us to a divine lunch at the Ritz-Carlton (pictured below).  After this brief taste of opulence, I warned Jay that I am expecting such luxuries in the future.  He warned me to be prepared for a life of disappointment.

Do not be deceived by this picture.  Aunt may look overdressed, but she's actually the smart one: the wind was so cold that my face and arms were completely numb long before we made it back to the car.

The Bay was really beautiful, exquisitely fringed by dramatic cliffs.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Alamo Tea Party

Jay and I went down to the Alamo on April 15th for San Antonio's "Tea Party."  Though I'd like to consider myself an activist (as in, a person who actively works to promote causes I believe in) in many areas, including politics, I must confess that my motivation for attending this event stemmed more from a desire to people watch than it did from a desire to protest.  

And people watch we did.  We arrived at 7:30, an hour and a half late, so the throngs of people had significantly diminished (Glenn Beck was already gone), but there were still several hundred people milling around and listening to a speaker.  She wasn't a very good speaker, unfortunately, which probably contributed to the dwindling crowds.  We stealthily shot some photos of our favorite signs and protesters, but towards the end I started asking people to pose.  

I love the "lost purse" poster, and I got a kick out of the "Basic Math: Obama = Liar" poster because it's so random.  He could have just as easily written "Basic English: Obama is a liar" or "Basic History: Obama lied" or "Fact: Obama lies" or any number of other variations.  I should have asked him for clarification.  

Loved all the variations of the "you can keep the change" posters.  This little girl stood there with her signs for a long time.  The back of one of them said something like, "Your pork broke my piggy bank."

Several demonstrators decided to use this venue to air out their Texas pride.

Dangling tea bags!  Note the red white and blue clothing of the cute couple.  

Looks like someone went a little crazy with a Cricut and scraps of scrapbook paper.  I like the quote, though.  For more interesting Thomas Jefferson quotes, click here.

One other sign I liked but didn't get a picture of was carried by an older gentleman who wore clothing that made it obvious he had been in the military at some point.  His poster read, "Send in the Navy Seals to deal with the Pirates in Washington D.C."

I had a lot of fun; I'm really glad we went.  There were definitely some crazies in attendance (hard-core Obama haters, white supremacists, dooms-dayers and advocates of Texas secession, to name a few), but they just added some spice to the gathering.  Can't say I had much patience with the racists, but I was really pleased that so many people turned out to show their support for a cause they believed in.  All too often, we Americans become complacent with our freedoms and we forget our civil responsibilities, not only to vote, but to peaceably assemble and let our voices be heard by those we have elected to represent us.  

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Towing Strickly Enforced

Yes, this is a professionally printed sign for a parking lot in downtown San Antonio.  

And because I hate to think of people being kept up at night wondering, as I was, what exactly this threatening-sounding adverb means, I am providing enlightenment here.