So here’s my official recap of the year. My annual Christmas letter, which takes the events of the entire year and crams them down to one side of one sheet of paper.
On Saturday, Lucinda and I went to San Diego to visit my father. When we do this, we make a point to find one or more other things to play tourist with while we’re there. This time, we went to La Jolla Cove again to see the seals, and we went to the “Science of Aliens” exhibit at the Air and Space Museum.
It was a nice weekend, and we’re thinking about going back in February when the seal pups are being born. Nothing like baby seals to brighten up one’s day.
Today was a holiday for some of us, but not for our friend who works at Disneyland. So we were able to go and have a day there.
Right away, we headed straight into California Adventure to ride California Screamin’. One of the ride operators even remembered us from the last time we were there, when we rode it 21 times.
The place was kind of crowded, so the lines were longer than we were used to. We rode the big roller coaster twice. Then we had lunch and went back to ride it again. After that, we headed over to Disneyland. The line for Space Mountain was too long, so we skipped that. We went to Tom Sawyer Island for a while. Then we rode Pirates, Thunder Mountain, and the Matterhorn. By then it was starting to get dark, so we went back to California Adventure and rode California Screamin’ two more times.
It wasn’t our best day at Disneyland, but it was a fun day none the less.
On Saturday afternoon, we rode the train downtown to go to the Natural History Museum to see the Spider Pavilion. It’s in the same outdoor tent that they use for the butterflies in the summer, so it’s a chance to see the spiders in a more or less natural-looking habitat.
The trip down there was a bit of an ordeal. There was a USC home game, so we thought it best not to take the car. Instead, we rode the train and planned on taking the DASH bus from the train station to the museum. Of course, that didn’t take into account the fact that the DASH bus was running an hour late because of all the traffic from the game. Things will be better when they get the Expo light rail line running.
When we got to the museum, I took a picture of Lucinda with the Megamouth shark. Compare this to the picture of her there in 2003. Next, we went to see their saber-tooth cat show. We’d read about this recently, about how they’d had to find a guy who could act as a puppeteer inside the cat suit to make the cat come alive. He did a pretty good job of it. Then we went to see the spiders. There were a lot of them, and they were quite large. Made for some good pictures, and lots of spooked kids. Apparently, there are still some butterflies in the tent, and several of the spiders had caught them and made a meal of them.
It was a fun afternoon.
Today was our trip to the Los Angeles County Fair. This promised to be extra-fun, since this time I actually have winner in the baked-goods competition.
Kathleen and I went there along with Lucinda and her friend. We rode the skyride across the fairgrounds. Then the girls rode a bunch of other rides. Kathleen and I just watched. Partly because we didn’t feel like swinging 130 feet in the air, and partly because we just didn’t want to spend the extra money on more ride tickets.
We got some Dr. Bob’s ice cream. As always, it was quite good.
After that, we walked over the “Culinary Styles” exhibit hall to see my cookies on display. That was great fun. If you want to try making them, the recipe is here:
We got some chocolate-covered bacon for Kathleen to try. As was the case last year, we all just thought it was a bit weird.
And of course, no county fair is complete without a mechanical bull ride for the kids. We also saw the 1200-pound pumpkin. Impressive, but it didn’t seem like it was good for much else. We also saw lots of cows, pigs, and goats. No county fair is complete without them.
The girls rode some more rides and played a few carnival games. Then, at the end of the day, we had six ride tickets left over, so Kathleen used them to ride the little flying ride. It looked like she had a good time.
The rest of the pictures are in Lucinda’s photo album.
Since school starts a week later than usual this year, I told Lucinda we could go to Disneyland one more time this week. The last time we went, we rode California Screamin’ 15 times. So it should not be surprising that she wanted to ride it some more today.
In the end, we rode it 21 times. One of the ride operators told us that the actual ride time is 2:52, which works out to 60:12, which is just a bit over an hour actually riding the coaster*. If someone had told me two years ago that I’d be doing this sort of thing now, I’d have thought that was impossible and crazy. But it was a fun time.
We rode a couple of times in the first car, which was fun. And we rode in each other car at one time or another. Enough times to become intimately familiar with how the ride experience varies depending on where in the train one is sitting. We also now know every twist and turn of every inch of the track. The only thing we didn’t do yet is bring a chessboard along for the picture at the end. Next time.
We took a few breaks along the way. Once to ride the Silly Symphony Swings, once for lunch, and once to walk over to Disneyland. We only rode Alice in Wonderland and the Matterhorn. And then it was back to California Adventure for more.
And at the end, we finished with our usual dinner at the Jazz Kitchen before going home. In many ways, it was an utterly absurd way to spend a day. But it was great fun.
Pictures are in Lucinda’s photo album.
* Wikipedia says the ride is 2:36, which is slightly shorter than what the rider operator told us, but either way, it’s a lot of time to spend zipping around on a roller coaster.
On Thursday, I took Lucinda to Disneyland. A lot of schools are back in session now, but Pasadena doesn’t start for another ten days, so we figured it would be a good time to go. We also had made a deal that Lucinda was going to ride California Screamin’ this time. She’d passed on it twice when we were there back in June.
When we got there, we went in and rode Soarin’ Over California first. For some reason, Lucinda didn’t want to go directly to the big roller coaster. But after that ride, we walked over there and got in line. Fortunately, the line was very short, since Lucinda was looking decidedly like a lamb being led to slaughter. In the pictures, you can see she was very skeptical. But when we got off, she said, “That was so fun! Let’s do it again!”. And we proceeded to do it three more times.
The girls also rode the Silly Symphony Swings once somewhere in there.
Next, we went to lunch and then had some ice cream. Then we went back and rode California Screamin’ three more times. Now we were up to seven, and Maddy and I said we wanted to do something else. So we walked over the Disneyland.
We rode Space Mountain three times, Splash Mountain once, Big Thunder Mountain twice, and the Matterhorn once. And after all that, we went back to California Adventure and rode California Screamin’ eight more times. That made a total of fifteen for the day. We probably would have kept going, but they were shutting the ride down at 8:00 for the World of Color show. So that made for a good excuse to stop.
Finally, we walked over to Downtown Disney for our usual dinner at the Jazz Kitchen.
It was a very fun day.
The rest of the pictures are here.
We went to Disneyland yesterday. This is the short version of the story:
This weekend, Lucinda and I took a trip to San Diego to visit with Grandpa and to go see some animals. We were supposed to leave in the morning, but Lucinda slept in. She was at her mom’s house, so I had no way to go wake her, and her mom was at work. When it got to be close to noon, I talked to her mom and told her I was going to get my lock picking kit and let myself in to wake Lucinda up. Once again, I’m eternally grateful to Richard Feynman for teaching me lock picking. It comes in handy from time to time.
We got on the road at the crack of noon and headed for San Diego. When we got there, we went out with Grandpa for Spanish food at Costa Brava. Afterward, we went back to his place to visit for a while. I was telling them the story of the morning’s adventure, and Lucinda asked me to teach her how to pick locks. So I set her up with the desk drawer lock and showed her how to do it. Have I ever mentioned how proud I am of my kid?
On Sunday morning, we went down to La Jolla Cove to see the seals. We also went down into Sunny Jim cave again. Then we went and had lunch with Grandpa before heading up to the Wild Animal Park. We took the tram ride around the park, and I got a lot of good animal pictures. As usual, my camera rocks. We also took the balloon ride, which gave me the willies, but Lucinda liked it. We spent the whole afternoon there and we had a nice time.
It was a fun weekend.
Lucinda’s pictures are here.
The animals are here:
This is Coyote. She is a cattle-dog and something else mix. And her name is pretty self-explanatory. She looks like a coyote, and she moves like a coyote.
Last weekend we went and met Coyote. She was nice, and very mellow. So this week we took Suzie out to meet her to see if they would get along. They did all right, so we brought Coyote home. She’s still new here, but Lucinda is teaching her to use the dog door.
So we’re a two-dog family again.