Tag Archives: adventure

Savoring Moments

As much as I love my job, these last few days of summer vacation have flown by much too quickly.  I’ll still be in the amazing place that I call home…and have opportunities to walk on the beach, appreciate the natural beauty around me, and watch so many interesting people.  What I won’t have though, is the unstructured time with few expectations that allows me to unwind and relax.

But…what I’ve been learning over the last year is the importance of creating mini-adventures on a regular basis–to keep me from working all the time and to make spaces for play and exploration, as well as opportunities to connect and build relationships with the people I love.  And I’ve learned that taking time to play prepares me for work…and the focus on learning that I need in the classroom.

School starts tomorrow…and I’m excited to reconnect with our second and third grade students…and meet our new first graders!  And I consciously made a choice not to work today.  Instead, my husband took the day off work and we headed out on a local adventure.

I’m not sure why I have never visited Balboa Island in Newport Beach before…what a gem!  (And a Monday in late August was a great choice–light traffic and beautiful weather!)  A scenic drive up the PCH led us to the Balboa Island Ferry.  Only three cars can fit on ferry at a time…and when we arrived we were the only car, joined by some boys on bicycles, to cross over to the island. (This picture is the ferry bringing people from the other side as we crossed.)  I loved the short ride on this small ferry–it was fun to take pictures, feel the sea breeze, and feel transported back in time on this low tech feeling vehicle.


And then we headed out to walk along the shoreline…and found this gorgeous expanse of beach.  Sand and sun and waves–my favorite combination.  We walked and walked and walked, soaking in the beauty and the calm that only the ocean can bring.


And I’m ready to head back to work tomorrow, looking forward to the energy and enthusiasm of young students, ready to savor the moments as we live and learn in a community.  I’ll be paying attention, keeping my eyes peeled, trying not to miss anything!

gull on the viewer

Food Truck Adventure

I’m not much of a foodie…and that certainly won’t surprise anyone who knows me.  But tonight we decided to have an adventure of sorts…and chase down a food truck.  My husband has been following the Pierogi Truck on Twitter, desperately wanting to relive a childhood taste memory of eating pierogis–a Polish dish that his mom made when he was a kid.  These dumpling-like creations are not easy to find…and honestly, I haven’t expressed much interest in eating them.

pierogi truck

So tonight, with the Pierogi Truck not too far from our neighborhood, we decided to take this taste adventure.  Parked in a business park near a brewery, the purple truck was waiting.  We walked up and were greeted by the two women who worked the truck and Geoff immediately engaged in a conversation about the Polish foods of his childhood.

ordering pierogis

So I had my first taste of pierogis tonight, a potato and cheese dumpling served with a sour cream or yogurt sauce on the side.  They were pretty tasty…with a beer from from Iron Fist brewery on the side.

potato and cheese pierogis

Geoff went for the sampler plate with an assortment of Polish delicacies…pierogis and Polish sausage and more.

polish sausage and more

The food was good and the adventure was better.  It was fun to go out and do something out of the ordinary, to wander into a warehouse and sip a cold beer, watch some arm wrestling, pet some dogs, and do a bit of people watching.

Iron Fist kegs

And even though pierogis will not likely ever be my favorite food, it was fun to taste them, and to watch my husband savor the flavors he’d been remembering and imagining for so long.  It was quite an adventure to head out on a Friday evening in search of a food truck.  We’re already talking about other food truck possibilities…  Who knows where our next adventure will take us!

A Mother’s Day Adventure

Sometimes one invitation creates space for new adventures and unexpected opportunities.  And for me that invitation led to today’s Mother’s Day adventure.

Tomorrow I will attend the 100Kin10 Summit at the Exploratorium in San Francisco–an effort focused on improving STEM teaching by bringing interested stakeholders in lots of different fields together to support teacher development and retention.  But more about that later…

So this morning I was on the moveheading to San Francisco on Mother’s Day to spend the day (and night) with my son and daughter-in-law.  And all of today’s travels were adventures…trying some new ways to getting where I needed and wanted to go.

I started my morning on an airline I hadn’t flown before.  I made my decision based on both price (of course) and on my need to fly into SFO.  There were lots of choices…and Southwest is usually my go to airline for short jaunts like this.  But this time I decided to try out Virgin America.  Advantages: same cost as Southwest, secured seat assignment (no worries about checking in exactly 24 hours before your flight to get your line-up number).  It also has a very different vibe…feels a bit “retro” and “hip”…especially the safety features video (a music video piece…quite amusing!).  The purple light decor and the music that played during the boarding process added to that feeling.

Virgin airlines

My flight arrived early into San Francisco…another plus, and I headed off to find the BART.  Today I would ride the Bay Area Rapid Transit system from the airport to my son’s house in the east bay.  I’ve ridden BART before, but not from SFO and not to my son’s house.  And you probably know, when you don’t do something very often, each time feels like something new.  Figuring out how to buy the ticket was probably the trickiest part of my journey…and it wasn’t too challenging.

sfo bart station

bart rails

I spent the BART ride people watching and taking photos of the scenery passing by.  While the train was relatively empty when I got on at the airport, it continued to fill as we headed from station to station toward the city.  There were travelers with luggage, young people with backpacks, families…a cute family with three exuberant boys got on at one point, the young couple with the bouquet of flowers for her mom, the guy with the electric bike that he positioned between his knees so he could sit and work his crossword puzzle for the journey, the older woman who was off to spend the day with her son, the cute older couple who held hands as they found seats, and more…

electric bike

I took this shot by shooting out the window while we traveled at a fast pace through a tunnel, capturing the reflection of people in the car with me.

window reflection

It was fun to watch and notice and recognize the different communities along the way, from the colorful houses on the hillsides between the airport and the downtown area to views of the oil rigs and shipping containers outside of Oakland, and then the expansive hillsides of the suburban east bay communities.  I arrived as scheduled, ready for my son to pick me up.

bart station distance

After being treated to lunch out with my son and daughter-in-law, we had a relaxing Mother’s Day, hanging out at their house, catching up and talking, and playing with Roscoe…their Corgi. We were still on the move as we headed out for a walk into the sunny and warm afternoon, giving me an opportunity to explore their neighborhood.

dog walking

And…it gets better…my son cooked a delicious dinner for us!  The perfect ending to a wonderful day filled with adventure, movement, and love.  I’ll be back on BART tomorrow, commuting with my son this time, as he heads in to work and I head in for the conference…


Snow in San Diego…Really??!!

A rainy Saturday set the scene for our adventure.  Remember, rain in San Diego is an event! The smallest amount makes our roads crazy and all the talk…on news stations, in coffee shops, in bars, on the street…is about the rain.


On the surface, we told ourselves that we were off to do some holiday shopping, but really we were looking for a bit of adventure!  Parking itself was an adventure…and as we searched we discovered that we were just in time for the Little Italy Tree Lighting Festival. And as we searched for parking we also spied this magnificent rainbow.


Once parked we emerged into the cool, crisp afternoon.  The rain was done for the time being, the sun made an appearance…a perfect time for a bit of exploring.


As we wandered and walked and ate and talked the sun began to set, painting splotches of brilliant pink onto the gray rain clouds in the distance.


We explored the booths at the festival as darkness arrived and looked up, turned to each other and asked…what is that?  Small white flakes floated in the air…could it be…  As always, as someone who grew up in dry, relatively warm southern CA, when I saw the flakes my first thought was ash…a fire?  No…snow swirled and danced in the glow of the lights. Snow?  Really?



Sure, it was snow.  The man-made variety.  But it did lend an air of festivity and winter-ness to the event.  It was noisy…and turned off and on as the guy manned the switch.  But when it was blowing snow, everyone around responded.  Children danced and chased the flakes, trying to capture them in their hands, on their tongues (I have no idea how it tastes), in their outstretched hats.  Adults flocked around capturing pictures of their children, of each other, and of themselves.


I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try my hand at photographing snowflakes…and this version of snow lacked the hush and wonder of the snow gifted from clouds.  But it was fun and unexpected.  Remember, we think light rainfall is a major weather event.  So snow in San Diego…  Maybe a snow day will be next…

Uncovering History: A Photo Essay

Photography takes me to interesting places.  Today my search for interesting and different subjects for my photography took me to a place I had never been–practically in my own backyard!

Traveling back in time I met Leo Carillo, of The Cisco Kid and Pancho fame. (Old cowboy movie from the 50’s) Turns out he was Angelino (from Los Angeles) and an actor turned rancher who needed a place for weekend respites away from Hollywood.  As he said (in the short video I watched), “My birthstone is adobe…”

The Leo Carillo Ranch is a park not far from where I live that transports you to another time. Old adobe buildings are set in a valley just enough removed from housing tracks and road noises that you don’t notice you are in a middle of a bustling suburban development.

The first thing I noticed as I walked around were signs asking for people not to disturb or feed the pea fowl.  Pea fowl?  That piqued my curiosity!  I started looking around for evidence of pea fowl…and boy, I was not disappointed!


Peacocks and pea hens were everywhere!  And they were totally nonplussed by people taking photos.  The woman who works in the visitor center told us that these pea fowl are all descendants of the original six that Leo Carillo brought to the ranch.  There were the showy males with their bright blue heads and gorgeous tail feathers that they spread and show, smaller and plainer females in shades of brown, and smaller still were the youngsters. There must have been at least 50 that I saw strutting around the grounds.  Apparently Leo brought them because they eat snakes and lizards and are loud enough to keep coyotes (which are very common in our area) away.  I love this guy posing on top of the truck!


This park is the result of an effort to preserve historic buildings and provide open spaces in the community.  There are antiques windmills and rustic old buildings…beautiful to look at and fun to photograph.  We saw many professional photographers shooting family Christmas photos throughout the park.



I love the old adobe buildings…and I found myself photographing windows and doors. There is something beautiful about the imperfections…and the colors are amazing!


The foliage was also gorgeous.  Bright orange birds of paradise, the most enormous prickly pear cactus I’ve seen, palms and eucalyptus…and even a “young” redwood (60 years old). These are only a fraction of the photos I took today!


I had a wonderful adventure today and learned some interesting history about my area.  I look forward to taking others to see this hidden treasure…I’m sure I will enjoy some more afternoons exploring the past and envisioning the future.

What treasures lie undiscovered in your place?