Monday, December 30, 2013

Perfect For Me

At the beginning of this past Fall, I had to opportunity to go back to San Diego. I was born there and spent many happy weeks each summer visiting family. In October, my Grandma passed away. It was very sad, and (not to sound morbid) a relief. She and my Grandpa were best friends, and when he passed away several years ago her heart broke. Since then it seems that she was in a steady health decline, physically and mentally, waiting to return to Heaven to be back at my Grandpa's side. The funeral was beautiful. Small, filled with family and close friends, humorous, and spiritual. Just like my Grandma. It was a perfect send off. Whilst there I was able to catch up with some of my cousins that I haven't seen in FOREVER...ok, so several years...and my Dad's brothers, sister and their respective spouse.
Also while I was there, my Dad indulged me in what was termed The List. I made a list of all the things I wanted to do while we were out there. Things that we did every summer we visited. Things that reminded me of my awesome family and my childhood. Why was this a big deal? I'm the youngest of five children. While most people are rolling their eyes and thinking that I was probably spoiled...they'd be right. HOWEVER! Very rarely did I get to choose the where, the when and the what. So rare, in fact,  it never actually happened.
So, my parents, eldest sister and myself rented a hotel room and car. I figured since I was paying a lot of money for that hotel room (which I didn't pick out), I ought to have some say in what happens while we are out there. Don't think that I went crazy, I didn't. Like I mentioned before, all the things I wanted to do reminded me of family. We were out there for Grandma first and foremost.
The List went as follows:
 -Shopping at Seaport Villiage
-Go to San Diego LDS Temple
-Eat rolled tacos at El Puerto
-Go to the beach at sunset
-Take a picture of Coronado Bridge
See? A simple list. We stayed downtown, and a lot of the family happenings were further inland. My family seemed pretty on board with the whole deal, which made me extremely happy.
After we got things settled with the funeral home for the service, my family went to the San Diego LDS Temple. Now, those of you who have never been or don't know what the temple is, you can go here --->  LDS Temples  for some more information. 
Photo I took outside on the grounds.
That's me. Hi!

Ever since is was built, I have been in love with this place. It's so beautiful. When you are inside, you can truly feel God's love and peace. It's amazing. And I got to share that with my family! Score for me. What made it even more wonderful, is the sense that my Grandma was with us. It truly was beautiful and awe inspiring. It's a really neat experience to have, going to the Temple. One I've had on numerous occasions. But, going with my family was super special for me. It was perfect. 
After we went back to the hotel and changed our clothes (you go to the Temple in your Sunday best), we went to the next place on my list...El Puerto!
What can I say about El Puerto? It's small. It's dirty. It's a little sketchy. It's AMAZEBALLS! They have the best rolled tacos in the entire world. Well, I can't honestly say the entire world, but they have the best rolled tacos in my world. They are seriously roll-your-eyes-in-the-back-of-your-head good.

Oh. My. Yum.
I might have bought two orders.
After rolled taco overload, I needed to walk, so we ventured back downtown. Drove around a bit looking for an ice cream place. (Yeah, I know) There were several in the Gas Lamp District, but all the parking was miles away. So, off to Seaport Village!
As fate would have it, they have a lovely ice cream shop right there in the Village. Seaport is really touristy, with loads of tchotchkes to buy (if that's your wish). I like walking around and looking in the stores. It's right on the bay, so you have the boats coming and going. You have every nationality visiting the area, so it feels like Disneyland, but more subtle. There are parks and sitting areas, street performers and musicians, tourist, homebodies and business people. It's fun to go relax and enjoy the atmosphere by just taking it all in. People watching galore! We also saw some Navy Seals boating through the bay. It was neat. Also, Coronado Bridge happens to be right there. Holler!
My parents and me. We're cute
Street Performer. He was pretty cool
My sister, Rachel with my Dad and me
My cute parents. They are so adorable!
Coronado Bridge

If you guys know my Dad at all, you know how hard it was to convince him to take this many pictures. He doesn't like the camera pointed at him. I kept telling him I was documenting for the sake of The List, and he calmed down and indulged me.
The following day, we had my Grandma's funeral. Like I said, it was beautifully perfect. Our family stayed with each other most of the day. It was so good catching up with each other. Going back to my Dad's old house he grew up in, which is now owned by one of my cousins, reminded me of all the fun times we had when we were kids. It was also way awesome to be reminded of how friggin' hilarious my family is. Man, my cousins will make you wet your pants from laughter.
It was getting time to mark the last thing off my list. I still needed my sunset pic. So, we went to Coronado Island. *insert heavenly angels singing* I love Coronado. I'd live there. For real. Anyone want to buy me a house there? Or La Jolla? No? Ok, then.
We went shopping, took some pictures, wasted some time until sunset.
Rachel and me

Then, oh boy, did San Diego give me a sunset. It was gorgeous. The weather was beautiful the entire time we were out there. I'm not sure I could have asked for more perfect weather. Cool, slightly breezy and sunny!  We went further south of Coronado to Silver Strand Beach...then this happened:

Can you believe my phone took this?!
I mean, come on! Postcard anyone?
 Oh. My. Goodness.
Now, I love a good Texas sunset, but I haven't seen anything that can rival a California one. Now, granted, I haven't been all over the world. I know there are other beautiful places...I'm just talking about my small little piece of the world. There is something truly spiritual about a sunset. Especially when it's on a quiet beach, with your peeps. Man, oh man.
That's me again. I had to document...again.
                              At last

I learned a lot on this trip. Just let me tell you, family is what it's all about. Whatever kind of family you have (friends, co-workers, blood relatives or any combo of the aforementioned). I realized after this particular night, how right everything felt. How "at home" I felt. I realized that is was the people I was with, the setting was a bonus, that made it home.  It was awesome. For the first time in a really long time, my heart was full and stress free. I found I needed to bond with my family in this way. I found that, though I have known it my whole life, my parents really are some of the most wonderful people ever made. I learned a lot about my Grandma and what an amazing person she was. I also got the opportunity to really bond with my sister. All of us kids are best friends, but it was nice for it to be just our parents and us. I found that though my Grandma's death was sad, it was in no way the end. Through her, her family got to come together again and be a family just they way she liked it...happy, laughing, and everyone together...and eating! This trip to San Diego settled my soul and helped me realize all the things that matter: Family, togetherness, being close to Heavenly Father, seeing beauty everywhere, and remembering where you come from so you can know where you've been and where you're going. For a small time everything was a little perfect. Well, perfect for me.
On the flight home, I was looking out the window of the plane and saw this very fitting goodbye:

Where the clouds are is the ocean. It was so incredible!  

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Texas Rangers Baseball

I think I need to stop watching the baseball games at home.

It seems that every time I watch the games from my living room, the Texas Rangers lose. If I go to a game, listen to the game on the radio, or just get the updates on my cellular device, they are more apt to win.

Superstitious? Perhaps. But it's baseball, so what'd you expect?

Went to the game the other night. I realized that there are very few things greater than going to a baseball game, getting some nachos and drinking a Dr. Pepper. Delightful.  They won that game. Watched the game last night, and I'm watching the game tonight and they lost/are losing respectively. Maybe tonight is the night to change my luck and in effect change the Ranger's luck. I'm gonna turn the game off. Just in case.

I kind of feel like the dad in Silver Linings Playbook (awesome movie bt dubs), only he likes Eagles football (sick).

Something else that's fun about baseball is the walk-on songs...or whatever they are called. Suit and Tie, God's Gonna Cut You Down, Machine Head, some random christian song, Radioactive, or a rousing song that's all in Spanish.  Those are some of the songs for this year. It's always been one of the quirky things about baseball that I love. 

Well, I probably could go on and on about the Texas Rangers, but I'll reel it in a little.

This song is in my head. Enjoy!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sunbathing Don'ts

Here's the Deal...Don't go sunbathing with old sunscreen.

Went down to Port Aransas last weekend and got sunburnt. Worse than I have ever been burned. I didn't know how to handle all these white girl problems. I've lived my whole life and not ever been so red. I didn't do anything differently than I usually do. It was bizarr-o. Made me sick. Like for real, sick. Only thing I can think of is the combustible combination of  being on a medication that makes you sensitive to the sun and using last year's sunblock. Never. Again.

This is a lesson that my friends and I learned several years ago. We went to Lake Belton all day long and though we lathered up (albeit with the previous years sunblock), we all got toasted. My friend's lips swelled up to the size of sausages. We were pretty miserable. I knew this. I remembered this. I still threw that knowledge out the window and thought, "Certainly if you pay $12 for a tiny little bottle of sunblock, it ought to last until the expiration date."  Not so!

I did get a pretty picture of the beach though. It's not Hawaii, California or Florida, but for a Texas beach I thought it was beautiful. I do love Texas.
Mustang Island, TX - June 1st, 2013
 So! Moral of the story: Don't use last year's left overs. Just bite the bullet and get some new sunblock. Trust me, another $12 is worth not feeling like an itchy snake shedding it's skin. Sick. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Oh To Dream...

Here's the deal...Let's quit our jobs and go to Europe!

I'm trying to convince one of my best friends to quit her job and travel around Europe with me. Not that big of a deal, right? I've come up with a ton of reasons why we should do this, and even more things that we can do.

This is Europe:
map from
All I want to do is visit about 11-12 of the countries that make up the meat of Europe. The total size of travel is almost equivalent to the state of Texas. We would have 2 months. That's 8 weeks or 60 days. Or if you really want to get into the fine details, 1,440 hours.

While driving down to San Antonio this past weekend, I came up with so many fun things to do whilst we traipse about the European continent.  Really, I was just trying to stay awake. But, I decided that out of all the ideas I had, dressing up in Lederhosen and singing The Sound Of Music songs in Austria was the most intriguing. Come on, who doesn't want to do that?? And if you're sitting there saying, "Not me," you are so lying. 

But really, I want to go country to country. I want to learn new things. Take awesome pictures. Eat something different. Live out of a backpack (ok, huge suitcase). Stay in a haunted castle. Do a cartwheel by the Seine. Visit Korcula and play Marco/Polo. Backpack (really this time) around Bolivia. Scream, "Ricola" in the Swiss Alps. Drive down the Autobaun really, REALLY fast. Revisit Ben and Westminster. Eat some chocolate. Visit some lakes (hopefully in every country). Walk around Montmarte singing "Come What May." Maybe I'll get to visit Hitler's hidey-holes. Get some inspirations for a book I want to write. Man, there are so many things! That's just the beginning. And, to top all this off, I'll get to spend time with my brother and his family, who will be stationed in Germany.

I have roughly 14 months to research this, save for this, make this happen.

Now, the planning begins...