Tag Archives: San Diego

One More San Diego Day (or I Don’t Know When I’ll Be Doing This Again)

This past weekend I did a day trip to San Diego for what will possibly be the last time for a while. My grandma is moving from San Diego to up north where she will be close to my aunt, uncle, and my parents. I’m super excited for my grandma because I think this move will be a really great thing for her. But it’s still a weird feeling that I won’t have any more family in San Diego anymore.

My entire life my grandparents lived in San Diego. They bought their house a year or two before I was born. Then a few years ago they moved to their apartment which was only a few freeway exits further from their house. When my grandpa died, my grandma moved to assisted living but it was in the same building as their apartment. So that move didn’t really feel like a big move. But now she’s doing the biggest move in my lifetime.

On my drive down I was trying to not think about how this was probably the last time I’d be doing this drive for a long time. I’ve been going to San Diego my entire life. And once I moved to LA, I started to do the drive on my own for visits with my grandparents and for Thanksgiving. I would guess that I probably did the drive 3 times a year on average for the last 16 1/2 years. So that’s about 50 times that I’ve done that drive. I have so many random landmarks that I look out for on that drive to help pass the time. And I’ve had a lot of random driving adventures on that drive as well.

I probably won’t be driving to where my grandma is moving to (it’s about a 7 hour drive for me) so I’ll be flying to visit her and for Thanksgiving. In some ways it’s nice to know that I won’t be doing that drive again because it is a bit tiring, but it’s sad to know that I can’t do a day trip to see my grandma and that I will have to do more planning when I want to see her.

For this last trip to San Diego, I went down to help with the prep for my grandma to move. 2 of my aunts where there as well as my parents (and the dog). There were so many people in my grandma’s place that it did get a little crazy in there, but I was just trying to help wherever I could. My dad and I put together boxes and got artwork off the wall. I didn’t really do any of the packing, but I also wasn’t going to be the person unpacking so I wanted to let others do that job. They would know what was in each box so I didn’t want to ruin their planning.

And the main job that I knew that I would have that day would be to be a distraction. While I think my grandma is excited to be closer to family, I think this move is a bit scary and overwhelming for her. We are doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible, but it’s still an unknown for her and I think she still sometimes struggles knowing that it’s just her and not her and my grandpa. But I made sure that my grandma was feeling ok throughout the day. And I joked to her how her only job was to sit back and enjoy us doing all the work.

We got a lot of stuff packed up while I was there. I went back home that evening but there were movers to help move all the heavy stuff the next morning (and there will be movers at the new place to help unload all the heavy stuff). Fortunately, my grandma’s new place will be just about the same size as her current one so we didn’t have to worry about downsizing her things. We’ve done that when they moved from their house to their apartment and then again when my grandma moved from the apartment to where she was living. It was stressful trying to do that and I know it made my grandma emotional deciding what to keep. So I’m glad that we didn’t have to do that part again.

On my drive home, I was a bit sad. I’m so happy for my grandma and I am so glad she won’t be as isolated as she has been in San Diego. But this is the end of something that has been a part of my life for my entire life. I am not someone who moves that often (it’s almost been 8 years since I moved into my house) and my parents still have the house that they got before I was born. So maybe I’m just not used to transitions like this. I do still have some friends who live in San Diego (although normally they come to LA to see me) so I know I’ll be back down there eventually. But for now, I’m saying goodbye to San Diego and closing the chapter of my life that has family living there.

Girls Day In San Diego (or It Might Be My Last Time Doing This Drive)

Even though I was just in San Diego for Thanksgiving recently, I was back down there this week. My mom was down with my grandma and I decided to use my day off work to go down to be with them. I don’t usually have time with just my mom and grandma so it was pretty nice to get to do that.

I got down to San Diego just after lunchtime and met my mom at the hotel she was staying at. Right after we got there we headed over to my grandma’s place to spend time with her. She does have some memory issues, but she was having a good day while I was there. We went for a walk to sit outside in the sunshine and when we got back to her place we spent some time looking through photo albums of trips she had done in the past.

My grandma was saying how she didn’t remember going on the trips, but she still enjoyed looking at the photos. And she did remember the people on the trips and some of the specific activities they did.

We spent a few hours with my grandma and then my mom and I had to go back to the hotel. My mom had some business stuff she had to take care of and the person we were working with was meeting us there. But I think my grandma appreciated our visit that day and it helped to break up the routine of her day.

After my mom was done with the business stuff, she and I walked to a restaurant for dinner. It’s not too common for my mom and I to have dinner alone, so that was a nice treat for me. And I thought the sign outside of the restaurant was pretty funny. We went to a brew house for dinner, but neither my mom nor I drink beer. But we technically went to the beer side of the sign.

I thought about spending the night in San Diego because I was originally going to meet a friend of mine who lives down there, but he wasn’t able to meet up with me that evening. So I decided to drive back home. Some people consider it a bit much to do the drive to and from San Diego in a day, but I don’t mind it. Also, I prefer to sleep in my own bed and I knew that I had stuff I needed to do around my house the next day.

The drive to and from San Diego is pretty routine for me. I’ve been doing this since I moved to LA in 2001. My grandparents have lived in San Diego my entire life so I’m just so used to going there to see them. Even when they moved from their house to their new place it was still in San Diego and only a few freeway exits further for me to go. I have the drive down so much that I have landmarks I use to help me figure out how much more I have in my drive. But this might have been the last time I do the drive to see my grandma in San Diego.

Next month, my grandma is moving to be closer to family. Right now, I’m the person geographically closest to her and I’m 2 hours away. I could always go down in an emergency, but I can’t go on a regular basis to visit her. But she is moving somewhere that is minutes from my aunt and uncle and pretty close to my parents too. This way, she can have visits from family more often and we all know that this is going to be the best thing for my grandma.

I’m hoping to be able to go down to San Diego for the day to help pack up my grandma’s stuff when my family is there, but as of right now I’m scheduled to work that day. I’m hoping to get the day off so I can help, but it depends if someone else can cover the time that I’ll be missing. It might be very last-minute that I find out that I can go that day so I’m not really planning on it.

So if I don’t go down to help pack things up, I’ve just had my last day trip to San Diego to see my grandma. It’s so weird to think that could be true since I’ve done it so many times. I do have friends down there so I might still go down from time to time to see them, but it’s different from going there to be with family. I also know that when my grandma isn’t in San Diego I won’t necessarily see my parents as often as I see them whenever they come down to see her.

Those are all very selfish thoughts when I know that my grandma is going to benefit so much from the move. But it is a sad thought to think about something that I have done for so long isn’t really going to be a thing for me anymore. But that just means I’ll have to go up to Northern California to see everyone and I’m ok with that!

Family Thanksgiving (or Relaxing In San Diego)

As I have the past few years, I was down in San Diego for Thanksgiving. My grandma lives there and she cannot travel, so the rest of us come to her to celebrate. And again, my parents rented a house that was big enough for a good chunk of my family to stay in so I didn’t really have to worry too much about planning for the trip.

I ended up going down after I was done with work on Tuesday. I know traffic could be potentially bad so I was prepared to spend a long time in my car. I had to make a quick stop first to pick up some pies I was bringing with me, but it was technically on the way so it wasn’t that much of a detour for my trip. With no traffic, it’s about 2 hours to get to San Diego. But there was one time (not Thanksgiving but another holiday) where it was over 7 hours to get there. But somehow there really wasn’t too much traffic when I was driving and it was under 3 hours to get there. And I arrived just in time to see a gorgeous sunset.

The next day, I started by having to work one of my jobs for a few hours but it was before much was happening at the house. And once I was done working, I grabbed my Kindle and went outside to read. It was pretty hot so I was hanging out in the shade. But I wanted to take advantage of the amazing view that we had from the house.

That evening was my grandma’s birthday party. Even though we had stuff planned every day, the trip was pretty lazy and I didn’t have to do too much at all. It was nice to have time to relax and I definitely took advantage of that.

On Thanksgiving, I had my workout with my family and then I tried to help my mom get everything ready for dinner. We’ve found that it’s actually much easier to make most of the stuff we eat in advance so there wasn’t a ton that had to be cooked. But I did help get the table ready with the plant/place cards I made and decorated with the photos that my mom had printed out.

Everyone loved the plants, especially after we explained the meaning behind them. And it was so fun having family photos on the table because we were all checking them out and remembering when those photos were taken. And while the kid’s table didn’t have photos, they did have their plants and I think they were able to entertain themselves.

It was a bit stressful for my mom to do dinner again, but it turned out amazing! All the food was so good and getting to spend time with almost all of my family is something that I know I am lucky to get to do. It’s nice that we do this every year and that we know this tradition will continue.

After dinner we cleaned up and then things were pretty casual. We were mainly hanging out as a family in the living room and my cousin’s kids were entertaining us. It was the perfect way to spend the evening.

The day after Thanksgiving I had to spend the morning working but for most of the time I was working in the kitchen so I was around everyone. My great-aunt, great-uncle, and second cousin came by later and when they arrived I ended up finishing my work shift in the room I slept in. But I was done about an hour after they arrived so I didn’t miss out on too much family time.

I spent most of that afternoon outside with my grandma. My cousin’s kids were playing in the pool and my grandma and I were watching them. And Tucker seemed to be very focused on them too.

My grandma has some memory issues, but she was having some pretty good days while I was there. So we were talking about the pool that she had at her old house and how all the grandkids loved to play in it. We were always in the pool whenever we were visiting them. And my grandma loved to see kids playing in the pool and having fun. My cousin and her kids aren’t in San Diego that often, so I know my grandma appreciates the time that she does have with them.

And no family gathering would be complete without a game of backgammon. My grandma is amazing at the game and my grandpa used to say that she was a witch because she can always get the roll she needs. She struggled a bit with the game, but she still managed to beat my cousin by getting all the doubles that she needed to come back in the end to win!

As much as I would have liked to have stayed longer, I did have to get back to LA so I could get ready for the next day. I left just before dinnertime and was lucky again that traffic wasn’t that bad. But to get to spend 4 days with my family is something that I know not everyone can do so I’m glad that my schedule and jobs allow me to do that.

The next time we will all be together will be Thanksgiving next year. I’ll see my immediate family before that (and hopefully my grandma too), but to get everyone in the extended family is a once-a-year thing. But that’s ok because we seem to maximize the time we have together.

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How Is It Almost Thanksgiving?!? (or Working On My Checklist)

I swear this month has flown by way too fast! I was just looking at my calendar and realized how little time I have left before Thanksgiving! And of course, I have a bunch of things that I need to get done before I go down to San Diego to be with my family and most things I haven’t even gotten close to starting.

The biggest thing I needed to work on fortunately was something I am already done with. I am working on something for the family that will be part of our name cards for dinner. I can’t share too much about it since I know my family reads this and I want it to be a surprise, but it’s been a multi-step project. But I have worked on this over the past month and I’m down to the last few steps. And I think most of those steps are going to be things I need to do once I’m in San Diego so that’s taking some of the stress off of me.

And as it has been the past few years, my mom has asked me to help out with some of the food. I’m very happy to do that because I get to make things that I like and I know that everyone else enjoys them too. I’m going to make the same dips that I have made before and those are pretty easy to get together. I only have one bowl for my food processor so that does make it take a bit longer, but it’s easy enough to do in an afternoon. I’ll also probably make banana bread again too since everyone likes having that as a breakfast or snack option.

My mom also asked me to help out with getting some of the pies for Thanksgiving dinner, but she asked me to order some instead of having to make some. So I placed an order online with The Pie Hole for some Thanksgiving pies and will be picking those up on my way down to San Diego! We always have amazing desserts but I think these will be extra amazing! And since I’m ordering these it’s a pretty simple thing I can do to help out.

Most of the other stuff I need to do to get ready for Thanksgiving are things that can’t be done until right before I go. I’ve already double checked what my work schedule will be during that week (I’ll be working from San Diego) and I know what work stuff I need to pack with me. I’ll eventually figure out what clothes I want to bring, but I know for sure it will include my workout gear since I’ll be doing a family workout on Thanksgiving morning! But the rest of my wardrobe will be figured out the weekend before I leave since I will have to do laundry and that type of stuff before figuring out what I want to have with me.

There isn’t that much time left between now and Thanksgiving especially since I have been adding things to my calendar without thinking about how soon I will be going to San Diego. But I’m working on blocking out time to do all the things I need to take care of so the weekend before I go isn’t going to be too crazy or stressful. At least this time I don’t have to do an MRI the day before I leave! That was just added stress on top of planning stress last year!

But this time, I get to just have fun while stressing out a bit for the next week and a half before I go and when I get down to San Diego I won’t have to worry about much at all. I can focus on having a nice time with my family and enjoying the craziness that having 4 generations of a family together brings. And knowing my family, there will be at least a little bit of craziness happening. But that’s what makes getting together once a year for Thanksgiving so awesome!

And before I know it, I’m sure I’ll be posting on here how I can’t believe that it’s almost 2018, or the 4th of July, or my birthday, or something. Time really does fly by faster as you get older and it always takes me by surprise.

San Diego Day Trip (or The Backgammon Witch)

I was down in San Diego for a day trip not too long ago, but I was able to do another day trip down there this past weekend. I’m glad I’m able to go down there more often because my grandma is in San Diego. She understands that I can’t be there all the time, but I know that she appreciates it when I’m able to get down there too.

This time, my parents were in San Diego for the week visiting my grandma (unlike last time when their trip was for the surgery I was supposed to have) and they had been doing a lot of fun stuff. I couldn’t visit during the week because of my schedule, but I was able to take time off on Saturday so I could spend a few hours down there with everyone.

I’m glad I took the time off work because there were so many accidents on the freeway on the drive down. It usually takes me 2 hours to get there, but this time it was 3 hours. If I hadn’t gotten the time off work, I only would have had an hour or so with my family before I had to go back to LA.

Once I got there, my parents and I went out for lunch. Originally my grandma was possibly going to come with us, but it was easier for her to eat lunch at home. So the 3 of us (plus the dog) went out for a casual lunch at a Greek restaurant just around the corner from where my grandma lives. It was nice getting to catch my parents up on some of the stuff happening in my life and what I’m trying to plan to do coming up. I was hoping to get to Tahoe sometime soon, but I don’t think that will be happening until the winter now.

After our lunch, we headed up to my grandma’s apartment. It was nice to see her at her place since I hadn’t been up there in a while (when I was there last time, I waited in my car while my dad got her). Her apartment is really nice and has some of my favorite pictures of our family on her desk and tv table. And it also has her backgammon set.

My grandparents used to play backgammon every single day. My grandpa would always say that my grandma is a witch because she could always get double sixes or whatever roll she needed at the time she needed it. She would win most of the time and it was so funny seeing my grandpa get frustrated that she always got lucky with the dice.

I don’t know how much backgammon my grandma has played since my grandpa passed away. But my parents had told me that while they’ve been on this trip they have been playing backgammon with her. And it’s like she never stopped playing! She’s just as good as she always has been and she still has all her witch powers. My dad took this photo from the day before I was there of my grandma right after she won a game against my mom.

I love that expression on her face! You can tell how proud she is that she can still kick my mom’s butt in backgammon. And while I was there, my mom and grandma played some more.

This time, my grandma wasn’t as lucky with the dice (and she kept saying how badly she was playing) so my mom was lucky and was able to win a game. But seeing my grandma so happy doing something that I’ve seen her do my entire life made me so happy. My grandparents had taught all their grandkids how to play backgammon, but it’s been a while since I’ve played. But I think I’ll need to brush up on my skills because I have a feeling we will be playing a lot at Thanksgiving this year.

After visiting with my grandma, we went back to the place my parents were staying at. My parents’ friends were going to be coming over to hang out with them and I was going to visit with them as well. A lot of the conversation was about medical stuff (that’s the case a lot of the time around my family) and clearly Tucker was pretty bored by all the talk.

I stayed for about an hour with everyone and then headed out when they were all walking down to the beach. I have a friend who recently moved to San Diego and I was going to have dinner with him and his sister before heading back up to LA. It was a pretty chill dinner and was a nice way to feel like I did have a bit of a mini-vacation with my day trip down to San Diego. Usually I’m down and back so quickly that it doesn’t feel like I did much more than drive a lot.

On my drive back up, I happened to time it out perfectly and was driving past Disneyland just as the fireworks were going off. It was actually a better view from the freeway than what we had by the castle the last time we were there! Seeing the fireworks made me miss Disneyland a bit, but it’s only about another month before I can go back with my pass.

While my trip down to San Diego wasn’t that much longer than the time it took me to drive there and back, it was still a nice break from LA. I don’t think I’ll be down there again before Thanksgiving, but you never know. I’m lucky that it’s not too far for me to get there and that I can easily do it as a day trip.

San Diego Day (or Some More Family Time)

When I thought I was having surgery, the plan was to recover in LA with my parents for about a week and then head to San Diego to recover for almost another week. We wanted to make sure that I had enough time with help from my parents before they left (and obviously if I needed help longer we would have figured something out). Once the surgery was cancelled, my parents’ trip stayed the same but I didn’t go with them to San Diego right away. I decided to work so I didn’t have to use up the hours I had banked from work and then just went to San Diego for the day.

I’m pretty used to going to San Diego just for the day. It’s a bit of a drive, but not too unbearable. Plus, this was going to be a great opportunity for me to take my new car on a longer drive for the first time. The drive down was pretty easy (although I’ve figured out some new things that I want to see about getting for my car) and I was at my parents’ rental house right when they wanted me to get there.

As soon as I arrived, my dad and I went to get my grandma from her place. It’s much easier for her to get into my car than my mom’s since mine is lower to the ground. Plus that gave me extra time with my grandma. When we got her in my car and started to drive to the rental house, she realized that she left her sunglasses in her walker which was in my trunk. Fortunately, I have some random sunglasses in my car for just this occasion. I handed a pair to my grandma and I think she looked pretty amazing in the red sunglasses I had!

Once we got back to the rental house, most of the time we spent as a family was watching old home movies. My mom has turned most of our home movies into DVDs and it’s pretty fun to watch them. A lot of them are from family vacations and I’m glad that we have the videos since I was a teenager and don’t remember the trips as well as I’d like to. But I do still remember some of the really random moments from the trips like when we were in the amazon 17 years ago and I caught a piranha.

I posted that photo online and some of my friends commented that I look the same, but I think I look much older now. Or maybe I just looked really old when I was 16/17!

And as usual when I go down to San Diego to be with my family, my mom cooked an amazing dinner for us. There was a nice little outdoor eating area at the rental house and it was perfect weather for all of us to sit outside and enjoy a relaxing and delicious dinner.

And I know that my grandma really appreciates me coming to visit, even if it is only for a few hours. She seemed so happy with us all being together and I know that she had a great time. I thought maybe seeing some of the home movies would make her sad because my grandpa is in them, but that didn’t bother her. She didn’t remember everything that we did for each trip, but when there was stuff she did remember she seemed to light up and have funny stories to share about that part of the trip.

I didn’t get to spent too much time in San Diego because I had to be back in LA at a reasonable hour. I ended up spending about 5 hours there (and the total drive time round trip was about 4 hours), but it was totally worth it. I don’t get to see my grandma that often and I know I need to see her more. If I hadn’t gone to San Diego this time, I don’t know when I would have seen her again. Maybe at Thanksgiving but the last time I saw her was Thanksgiving and I would hate for an entire year to pass without a visit.

I know I need to make more of an effort to go to San Diego to see my grandma. It’s not that bad of a trip and just going out to lunch or dinner with her seems to make a huge difference in her day. I just need to work out when I can get down there again before Thanksgiving!

Full Thanksgiving Week (or Lots Of Family Time)

I feel like I’m still decompressing from my Thanksgiving week. It was such a great week and even though it was the same length as most of my Thanksgiving trips, I felt like I got more family time this year than I have in the past.

I was able to get my work shifted to be a bit earlier during Thanksgiving week, so I could start my drive to San Diego 2 hours earlier than normal. That made a huge difference in my drive since I ended up missing the big rush of traffic and was able to get down to San Diego in about 2 1/2 hours (normal for me is 2 hours and last Thanksgiving was over 4). My drive got a bit delayed when I was almost to the rental house when I got pulled over by a cop. Turned out my loaner car from the mechanic didn’t have the current registration sticker on it! It took some time for the cop to write the ticket, but since I’m not the owner of the car it isn’t my ticket.

Even with the time spent waiting for the ticket, the drive was easy and fast and once I got to the rental house I relaxed. I felt like I was totally in vacation mode and the view we had from the house really helped.

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And Tucker decided to make himself very comfortable by using me as his personal pillow. At least I know he loves me since he was always laying on my legs if I was on the ground or on my feet if I was sitting in a chair.

tucker

The day I arrived, we didn’t do too much. Most of us had gotten to San Diego that day, so we were fine with relaxing and not rushing around. My parents, brother, sister-in-law, and I went out to dinner that night which was nice since we were going to be around a ton of family the rest of the week.

On Wednesday of Thanksgiving week, I had to work from the rental house in the morning. There was a breakfast bar in the kitchen so I worked from there. It was a bit noisy, but it allowed me to still hang out with my family while I was working. I didn’t want to isolate myself so it worked out nicely! After my shift was done, I went with my dad to take the dog to a dog park (he needed to get out some energy). It was another pretty low-key day until dinnertime. We all headed over to my aunt’s house for dinner that night. Almost the entire family was there (we were only missing 1 person) and it was awesome!

It was a casual dinner which was nice. I ended up at a table with my brother, sister-in-law, cousin, and my cousin’s kids (so we were at a kids table), but that was fine. Eating dinner was pretty quick and most of the time we were there was spent in the living room talking. I was telling my grandma how you can look up census paperwork online and showed her how I found the paperwork her parents (my great-grandparents) filled out when she was little. Their maid was listed on their paperwork since she lived there and my grandma was telling us all stories about the maid and her parents. It was a really special thing to get to hear ┬ásince we don’t know a ton of stories from when my grandma was growing up.

Thanksgiving day was pretty busy. My morning included the family workout at Orangetheory (which is quickly becoming one of my favorite traditions!) and then I was trying to help out my mom with getting dinner ready. A lot of stuff was done in advance but there was still plenty to do the day of. One of my jobs was to help with the big table we were using, but unfortunately even with all of the muscle in the family, we weren’t able to get the extra leaf in the table. But we managed to get everyone in between the main table and a card table (for the little kids), so it worked out well.

table

On Thanksgiving Day, my cousin Adam and his girlfriend arrived and with them there we had the entire family at Thanksgiving for the first time in a very long time! It was a very full dinner, but it was incredible to have 17 people from 4 generations together.

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This was also the first time in 6 years that the 5 of us in my generation (my cousins, brother, and I) were all together. I’m hoping this will be happening more often, but we had to get a photo together just in case it is a few more years before we can do this again.

cousins

The day after Thanksgiving, I had to work a full shift for work. I was able to get my hours shifted early again, so I only had to work from 8am-1pm. And I worked in the kitchen so I was spending time with my family in between customers (we didn’t get a ton of people calling or using our chat system so there was a lot downtime). My brother and sister-in-law left to go back to Santa Barbara while I was working, but everyone else was going to be coming back to the house for dinner again that night.

That last night in San Diego had another incredible sunset and my mom and grandma pulled some chairs over to the big windows so they could relax and watch the sun go down. We also tried to see the green flash with the sunset, but it was a bit too cloudy.

family

After having leftovers for dinner, I got back into my loaner car to make the drive back to LA. It would have been nice to spend another day in San Diego, but I really needed to get back. I said goodbye to everyone (a lot of them I might not see again until next Thanksgiving) and made the drive back up. Fortunately, I had a very easy drive (and didn’t get pulled over again) and was home in time to unpack before needing to go to bed.

Overall, it was a pretty wonderful Thanksgiving week. I know that I’m so lucky that my family can get together like this and I’m very grateful that we all make the effort to continue this family tradition.

A Day In San Diego (or Celebrating An Anniversary And A Birthday)

Even though I was out pretty late this past Saturday night, I got up early on Sunday morning so I could head out for the day. My parents were down in San Diego visiting my grandma and this past Sunday was their 34th anniversary! So since they were so close to me, I drove down so I could spend the day with them (and with my grandma and aunt).

Growing up, it was pretty cool that my parents’ anniversary was only 2 days before my birthday because we could celebrate them together or back to back. But I don’t think I’ve seen my parents on their anniversary since I moved to LA so this was a pretty special treat! Plus, as I joked to them, we all saved money on stamps not having to mail cards to each other.

My drive down was pretty uneventful (thankfully) and I got there just around lunch time. My parents had found an apartment to rent for the weekend so we had a nice place to hang out for the day. It was pretty close to where my grandma lives so my aunt was going to pick her up and bring her over to be with us. But before they got there, I got some time with my parents and the dog.

I know I just saw my parents 2 weeks ago, but it was really nice getting to see them. And I hadn’t seen Tucker since April and he seems to have gotten bigger since then! My grandma and aunt were supposed to arrive about 30 minutes after I got there, so my parents and I went for a walk in the neighborhood where they were staying so I could stretch my legs and the dog could get some energy out.

Tucker

It was a nice day for a walk and I loved being right next to the ocean. And of course Tucker loved getting to check out all the other dogs that were out on their lunchtime walk.

Right after we got back to where my parents were staying, my grandma and aunt showed up. We all hung out outside enjoying some food (I brought leftovers from the night before) and catching up with each other. I hadn’t seen my grandma or aunt for a while, so it was good to get to see them again (I won’t see either again until Thanksgiving but that’s not too long from now).

We all gave my parents their anniversary cards and they opened them and shared them with everyone. My parents do homemade cards for each other and we got to see what cards they made this year. And then I opened my birthday cards (I only opened the ones from my parents, grandma, and aunt since I didn’t bring the others with me) and shared them with everyone as well.

After opening cards (and thanking my grandma for my birthday check that will help me fix some more stuff on my car), we just spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying time as a family together. I’ve really come to appreciate the quiet time I get to spend with my family since so many times when we are together it is for an event and things are a bit crazy and hectic. Just being with each other is a nice change.

My mom cooked dinner that night (it’s easy and usually better than going out) and we had a pretty early dinner since my parents knew I didn’t want to drive back too late. My dad, aunt, and I discussed how we might have even more family joining us this year for our Thanksgiving morning workout at Orangetheory and we are pretty excited about that. It should be a fun workout (as always) and I’m so happy that we started this new tradition with the family.

After dinner we spent a little bit more time together and then it was time for my aunt to drive my grandma back home. After they left, I stuck around a bit longer because my parents were giving me their leftovers from what they had cooked that weekend in San Diego (I’ve been eating their leftovers all week!). They also had some stuff for me to take back home (mainly donations to take to My Friends Place) so they helped me pack up my car.

I should be seeing my parents again in October (I’m hoping to make it to Tahoe since it’s been a while since I’ve been out there) so it’s not going to be too long before I get to hang out with them again. And as I said, Thanksgiving is coming quickly and I know I’ll be with them for a few days then as well.

Overall, I’m so happy that my parents just happened to be in San Diego on their anniversary so I got to spend the day with them. It was a nice way to spend the day and since I’m used to driving to San Diego just for the day, it wasn’t bad to drive down and back within a few hours. And even though it wasn’t my birthday, it still felt like I got to celebrate my birthday with them which is something that hasn’t happened since I turned 18. Hopefully we can celebrate their anniversary and my birthday together before another 15 years pass.

Bachelorette Adventures (or 24 Hours In San Diego)

After all the other adventures I had done recently, one of the final adventures for my February was going to my friend Rayshell’s bachelorette party! While I had been super excited about this for a while, I was a bit stressed with all my other scheduling things I had to work with. But the closer we got to the weekend, the more excited and less stressed I got. By the time it was time to go, I couldn’t wait!

The bachelorette party was in San Diego and was from Friday night until Sunday morning. Because of my workout schedule, meeting my sister-in-law for dinner, and rush hour traffic; I made the decision not to drive down on Friday night. I wouldn’t be getting there until after midnight so I figured it would be best to drive down on Saturday morning. But since I was driving down on Saturday instead of Friday, I was able to drive down with another friend also going to the bachelorette party! She had offered to drive (which I was so grateful for!) and I was the navigator. Between some random traffic and a big freeway closure, it took a little longer than expected. But we were still in San Diego at noon on Saturday.

Rayshell’s maid of honor had found an amazing house for us to stay in while we were there. There were a ton of rooms and couches for everyone to crash on. The only downside was that you had to walk up about 2 flights of stairs to get to the front door and then another flight of stairs inside to get to the main part of the house. It was a good workout, but my hips didn’t love it. I limited how many times I walked up and down so it wasn’t too horrible.

After we arrived, there was a bit of time to get some food and relax for a minute before we headed out for our first adventure of the party. Rayshell really wanted to try out an escape room and they found one that wasn’t too far from the house we rented for the weekend. The escape room we had was a zombie theme and we had to unlock various locks to find an antidote and the code to get out of the door in under an hour. With me being claustrophobic and having issues with fainting when things jump out at me (which is ironic since I worked at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios for 3 years), I asked the employees there if I would be fine. They told me that it never gets dark inside the locked room and while there is a zombie inside the room, you always see her and there are no startle scares. So I figured it would be fine for me to be inside and I went in with the rest of the group (we had arranged for the escape room to just be for us, but typically they will add in other groups to fill the room).

In the first part of the escape room, we had to get a code to get into the main room. We had figured out that it had to do with the numbers on the periodic table. So I was leaning over to read the numbers so we could figure out the answer when the sheet on a table right in front of me started moving and making noise (I think it was supposed to be a fake dead body). I honestly freaked out. It was pretty horrible. I didn’t faint (I’m still surprised that I didn’t), but I almost fell to my knees and I burst into tears. It wasn’t my best moment and I’m not proud that it happened, but it was my honest reaction to being scared like that.

Rayshell wanted me to leave after then, but I told her that I could calm down and the employee inside the room saw how freaked out I was and told me that in the other room there wasn’t anything like that to scare me. I wish that the employee that I had asked before going in the room had warned me about that. I asked him afterward why he hadn’t, and he didn’t think it would scare me since it was fake.

After my freak out, I focused on how I could help get us out of the room. I found some locks that needed to be unlocked and focused on opening those. I worked on solving equations and other things and pretty much stayed in one section of the room where nothing scared me and the actress playing the zombie couldn’t get me (if you were tagged you had to stand off to the side in “quarantine” for a couple of minutes before you could join back in).

In the end, we didn’t get out of the room. We opened a lot of the locks we needed to and even had the code to get out of the door. But because we didn’t get one thing unlocked, we couldn’t get to the keys that unlocked the cabinet that had the antidote we needed to win the escape room. But it doesn’t matter that we didn’t win, we all had a really great time (not counting my freak out time).

Escape Room

After the escape room, we headed back to the house to relax before getting ready for dinner. We ended up on the rooftop deck playing Cards Against Humanity. We got to enjoy a gorgeous sunset and had so much fun playing the game.

Cards Against Humanity

Next we all got ready to go to dinner and we all gave Rayshell the lingerie gifts that we got her (that was the plan for all of our gifts). And of course, we had to get some pictures with the bachelorette before we went out!

Levin Sandwich

We went to dinner in Little Italy at Trattoria Fantastica and had a table on the patio (they had a heat lamp so it was nice out there).

Bachelorette Group

We got some wine for the table and everyone was able to find something yummy to eat, even with the dietary restrictions people might have (they even had gluten-free pasta!). I got short rib pasta and it was really great (I also ate it all since that was really my first real meal of the day)!

Dinner

After we all got full on pasta (and for some people, drinks), we headed out to the Altitude Sky Lounge which is on the 22nd floor of a hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter. I’m not a nightclub/lounge person, but even I was in love with the view that we saw up there!

San Diego

Some of the girls had fun dancing, but a couple of us who aren’t really dancing people found a couch that overlooked the view and had a heat lamp above us (not everyone was dressed totally weather appropriate because we wanted to look cute). We also enjoyed sitting on the couch watching the craziness going on around us. There was one couple that we were mesmerized watching. The best way to describe it was that the guy was pretty much dancing like how we would imagine a monkey would dancing and was hard not to watch. When the bouncers walked over our way and ended up blocking the view, one of the girls asked the bouncers to move because we were watching them dance. Even the bouncers were mesmerized watching them and totally got why we wanted a clear view to enjoy the show.

The next stop for the night was another club for more dancing. But 4 of us were feeling pretty tired and not up to dancing so we split up and some went out and the rest went back to the house. I’m glad I left when I did because when I was going back up the stairs to the house, my hip decided to go out and I couldn’t get it to stop hurting. So after chatting with the other 3 girls who left early with me, we all got ready to go to bed and went to sleep. Even though there were beds downstairs I could sleep in, I couldn’t get down the stairs with my hip so I ended up sleeping on a couch (it wasn’t so bad).

Sunday morning everyone kind of got up around the same time. Most of the girls were going to go out for breakfast, but the friend I drove with and I wanted to leave by 9am because we wanted to beat the traffic and I had the Oscar party to get to! So we said goodbye to everyone and headed back to LA.

It was a crazy quick trip (we left LA at 9am Saturday and got back 11am Sunday), but it was full of so much fun stuff and awesome adventures! I really haven’t been to San Diego outside of family stuff, so it was great to explore the city with some friends and doing things that aren’t usually what I get to do down there.

The bachelorette party was the last event leading up to Rayshell’s wedding. I’m hoping that she and I can hang out for a happy hour before her wedding (we are overdue for one), but I’m really looking forward to the wedding. I know it’s going to be gorgeous and it’s another opportunity for me to celebrate my amazing friend!

Adventures In Car Repairs (or It’s Better Than New)

When I was driving down to San Diego, I was about half of the way through the trip when suddenly I heard a horrible noise coming from the bottom of my car. It was so loud that it covered up the noise of my radio. I thought that maybe I blew a tire (that’s happened before) so I pulled over to the side of the road and contacted 511 (which is the highway roadside service).

When the 511 guy arrived, I explained that I heard a horrible noise from under my car and had no idea what caused it. He looked at all my tires and under my car and couldn’t find anything. He said that maybe I had hit something and was dragging it but it’s gone now.

I got back into my car and continued my drive, but the horrible noise continued. I even called my parents and asked if I should take my car to a mechanic that night to have it fixed in the morning. They told me not to, so I went straight to the rental house.

I had done some online research and some people reported a similar noise to what I had and it was a rock caught in the wheel. So my dad and I tried to dislodge anything that might have been in there the next morning and it seemed to make the noise go away considerably.

The rest of my trip in San Diego the noise continued to happen in my car, so when I got back to LA I took it to the repair shop that I now use (they are the ones who fixed the water pump in my car when I was towed home from San Diego).

At first, they thought it might be a $4000 repair and I freaked out. My car may not even be worth that much, but it’s cheaper than a new car. I told the shop that I’d wait until they knew what the problem was because I knew that I’d be panicking at home waiting for what they had to say. About an hour later, they told me that they had some somewhat good news.

It wasn’t the $4000 repair, but instead it was an issue with my wheel that they had mentioned to me last time I was there (it didn’t need to be fixed then so I didn’t do it). They also noticed that my axle was looking close to breaking, so they encouraged me to fix that too.

All of these things were adding up, so I asked them if they could do any sort of deal for me since it was a lot of work and I don’t have a lot of money. They quoted me a price that was expensive but I could deal with (thanks to the Hanukkah check I had gotten from my grandma at Thanksgiving), and I left my car at the shop overnight to be fixed.

The next day I was able to pick up my car. They honored the price that they had quoted me even though the repair ended up being more expensive (the bill reflects about $150 discount on the price). And not only is the noise gone from under my car, it drives better now than it did when I got it in 2008 (I bought it used)!

It’s funny that this happened to my car when it did. I was talking with my dad at Thanksgiving about having to get new tires soon for my car and how much that would cost. My dad asked me how much longer I was planning on keeping my car. Honestly, I want to keep my car for at least another 3 or 4 years (preferable more unless I win the lottery or something). So he said that putting money into the car is just what you have to do to keep it going. And my dad knows about that since his car is a 1992 Subaru SVX and he just decided recently that he might get a new car soon.

I know that these are all things you have to deal with as a responsible adult, but my financial situation really doesn’t allow for these sorts of things. I’m working on budgeting right now, but my priority on my budget is getting my credit card debt eliminated. That’s not going to happen anytime soon (unless again, I win the lottery), but I’m taking baby steps toward it. This repair isn’t helping that goal, but it is helping me not have to spend more money down the line on more expensive car repairs or a new car sooner than I want to get one.