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Poem for Tuesday and Paramount History [Aug. 22nd, 2017|12:11 am]
Cleaning an Attic )

I had plans to get a whole bunch of household chores done on Monday, but they were postponed when Adam received a notification from the University of Maryland that his apartment had failed inspection and he had until tonight to get it clean. So even though the kitchen mess was almost entirely his ex-roommate's, we had to go to College Park to clean out his kitchen, meaning that half the stuff in the freezer had to be tossed, counters and dishes had to be cleaned, measuring cups had to be replaced, and noodles had to be stored in Adam's closet.

We were tired when we got home and had emails to answer, so we watched Man of Steel while we did those. Our neighbor who was our house- and cat-sitter while we were away stopped by to give the cats a present with an electronic tail, we had chick'n in peanut sauce for dinner, then we watched Suicide Squad, which was remarkably unimpressive; I will never understand what people see in Harley Quinn or The Joker apart from the fun of cosplaying as them. From Paramount Pictures, some more warehouse treasures and working studio sights:

Paramount Fame )
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Poem for Monday and Star Trek at Paramount [Aug. 21st, 2017|12:12 am]
Garbage Truck )

We had some excitement on our first day back from California, but not the good kind. We came back to find that the disposal in our kitchen sink was apparently not working -- water was backing up into the sink and spurting out of it when we turned it off after using it. The good news turned out to be that nothing was wrong with the disposal itself, but something plastic had become wedged inside the pipe connecting it to the sewer line below, which was also making the basement laundry sink back up. So several snakings later, everything is working, but between the emergency weekend fee and the lingering terrible smell in the house, it does not feel like much of a victory.

Otherwise, our day was about laundry, unpacking, sorting random items acquired while traveling (sea shells, wedding popcorn, Paramount Pictures guest passes), and trying to catch up on email and various computer chores. Adam went walking with a friend in the morning, napped till lunchtime, and worked on an NIH project that will continue into school year. My parents came over for pizza and to see trip photos, then son went out for milkshakes with a friend from high school and Paul and I watched the beginning of the fourth season of Endeavour. Speaking of trip photos, here are some of the Star Trek-connected places at Paramount Studios, which thankfully is not pushing Discovery at all:

Star Trek at Paramount )
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Greetings from Home [Aug. 20th, 2017|12:46 am]
We are back in Maryland after an early breakfast at the La Quinta Inn at LAX (nice breakfast buffet, worst elevators of any place I've ever stayed -- it was like SDCC, you wait 20 minutes for a lift that's already full and end up carrying your luggage down five flights), then a short ride to the airport to return the rental car and a flight to Dulles.

We said farewell to Daniel, who was flying to Sea-Tac and back to work in Seattle, ate hummus and cheese on the plane, and watched Eddie the Eagle because I was in the mood for it while Adam worked on a thesis proposal. Now I am in the midst of laundry and missing the west coast, since it's hot and muggy here and there's no beach!

LAX to Dulles )
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Greetings from Los Angeles [Aug. 19th, 2017|03:04 am]
Extreme quickie as we are paying Chickapig after a great day in L.A. starting with a tour of Paramount Studios, where we got to touch Star Trek props, see New York streets in L.A., walk through the Grace and Frankie and School of Rock sets, hear about parties in the parking lot that turns into a wave tank, and learn all about the history of RKO, Desilu, and the Paramount-CBS divorce.

We had lunch at Astro Burger, drove past the Hollywood sign into Griffith Park (though the observatory was too crowded to park and take photos), then went to visit the Foleys, with whom we hung out for a few hours and went out for deli at Weilers. We have to get up early to fly out -- Daniel to Seattle, the rest of us to D.C. -- so I promise more details on Paramount and photos tomorrow!

Paramount, Friends and Cats )
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Greetings from Woodland Hills [Aug. 18th, 2017|02:11 am]
We are back in the Los Angeles area, having left Pismo Beach after breakfast and a last walk on the beach. We drove down the 101 and through the mountains, seeing ponies in the latter and surfers in the former, until we were close enough to Point Dume to picnic and climb to see sea lions -- at least until I blew out my flip-flop and almost had a panic attack climbing down over sharp rocks and scalding sand. Even so, we saw lizards and prickly pears plus a seal swimming right offshore, and it remains one of my favorite places!

Then we drove to my cousin Felicia's home in Woodland Hills, where her husband and both sons were hanging by the pool and where her sister Allison was visiting with her own two sons. Adam and I went swimming, we all played with the dog, and eventually we went to dinner at Sol y Luna, where we met Uncle Mickey (Lesley and Garrett were en route to Arizona where the latter goes to college). We had excellent chips, salsa, enchiladas, tamales, and potato tacos (mine). Afterward we hung out with the relatives and it was great to see them all!

Point Dume and Woodland Hills )
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Greetings from Pismo Beach [Aug. 17th, 2017|02:21 am]
I am sleepy after another absolutely glorious oceanside vacation day, starting with a walk on the beach before breakfast watching dolphins jump in the waves. After we ate, we stopped at the beautiful art glass store in town and got some lunch things before heading out to Dinosaur Caves Park and Margo Dodd Park, both of which have sea caves and lots of pelicans and seagulls plus harbor seals and tide pools; since the tide was at its lowest point, we could walk through the caves and look at tiny crabs in the pools. Then we drove to the Central Coast Aquarium in Avila Beach, where we got to pet sharks and sea cucumbers and see all the regional animals get fed.

We had a picnic outside by the water, then we headed to Harford Pier in the Port San Luis Harbor, which has restaurants and a fish market as well as many people fishing, a multi-level dock with sea lions and sea otters hanging out on the lower level, and charter sailing and rafting tours. We didn't think we were going to have time for a whale watching cruise, which tend to be several hours, so we booked a shorter, less expensive trip to the caves and lighthouses, but we got extremely lucky in that there were humpback whales right where San Luis Obispo Bay meets the Pacific! Eventually we made our way back, walked in the water at Pismo Beach, and had pizza at Pizmo Cafe. Perfect!

Seaside Life )
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Greetings from San Luis Obispo [Aug. 16th, 2017|02:11 am]
Apart from a walk on the beach in the morning during which we saw dolphins and another in the evening during which we saw cormorants, most of our Tuesday was taken up with Noelle's wedding -- a beautiful ceremony and reception at See Canyon Fruit Ranch in the mountains outside San Luis Obispo with fantastic vegan food by Paul's brother Dave, bittersweet because Noelle's mother died nearly three years ago, but really lovely to see Noelle accompanied down the aisle by her mother's father and by Dave, and so exciting to meet her now-husband Tommy's extended family.

It was also really nice to see Maddy and hear how well she's been doing since she moved back to California. We sat with Alice and her mom, and ate an insane amount (Noelle wanted comfort foods so there was macaroni and "cheese" plus vegan spicy chick'n, French toast, mashed potatoes, an ice (non)cream truck, and a red velvet wedding cake. The isolated ranch had wild turkeys and a rooster wandering around and a stream running through that smelled like the mineral hot springs for which the area is known. When eventually we closed the place down, we said goodbye to various relatives and friends before coming back to Pismo Beach to enjoy the sunset!

Wedding Day )
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Greetings from Morro Bay [Aug. 15th, 2017|02:11 am]
I had a perfectly awesome Monday. We woke up and walked down to the shore, where we saw whales breaching and dolphins leaping in the waves at Pismo Beach. Then we had breakfast and drove to Morro Bay, where we took a Sub-Sea Tours boat ride to Morro Rock past sea lions, sea otters, pelicans, cormorants, and the fish seen through the underwater glass sides of the boat. I even got to steer!

We had a picnic by the beach, watching sea otters while ground squirrels watched us, before driving into San Luis Obispo, where we visited the mission church (older than the U.S.) before meeting Alice and her mom at the Madonna Inn to take goofy photos of the extremely tasteful decor. We also got truffles to eat after dinner. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped for some toiletries.

Then we returned for a walk on the beach, where we only saw one whale tail but there were literally thousands of seabirds circling out where the sea mammals were. There was also a playful sea otter in the shallow waves finding clams and eating them. We walked beneath the pier and up the street to Thai Talay for dinner, having discovered that they made vegetarian curries! Tomorrow, Noelle's wedding!

Beach Day )
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Greetings from Santa Barbara [Aug. 14th, 2017|01:38 am]
Glorious day on the west coast started with breakfast at the hotel in Camarillo and a morning ride to Santa Barbara, during which we saw dolphins leaping in the waves and pelicans diving over the Pacific. We met up with [info]kittylitter1 and her husband at the Santa Barbara Zoo, where we saw many of our favorite animals including elephants, lions, leopards, and of course penguins, plus we took a train ride around the zoo and nearby bird sanctuary before going out to lunch at Paradise Cafe.

Then we drove through the San Marcos Pass to Pismo Beach, passing through severe wildfire damage from last month and stopping at a couple of amazing vistas. We picked up some food before checking in to our hotel, from which we walked to the boardwalk and down onto the sand. The water is quite chilly but we could see whales spouting far out past where the waves were breaking and there were lots of sand crabs! We ate sandwiches for dinner at the hotel after walking through the tourist shops:

Santa Barbara and Pismo Beach )
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Greetings from Camarillo [Aug. 13th, 2017|01:51 am]
We are all in California for our niece Noelle's wedding! We had a somewhat turbulent but okay flight; lunch was delayed because of the shaking and I left my Kindle at home on the table, but I was sitting next to a woman from Syria who works for the Defense Department and we had an interesting discussion of world politics when not distracted by the three-year-old girl in the row in front of us who had a lot to tell us.

We met Daniel at LAX, though his luggage somehow did not get on the plane with him so it is being delivered to our hotel at 2 a.m. Meanwhile we met Uncle Mickey, Lesley, and Garrett at a Mexican restaurant near the Ventura County Fair where they treated us to a really lovely dinner! Now we're in a hotel watching the series finale of Orphan Black (except Adam, who went to bed early), and tomorrow we're seeing a college friend for the first time since college!

Ventura Highway in the Sunshine )
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