February 21st, 2018



My post o' doom never happened last week, so I'll have to follow up separately with updates on books, movies, TV, etc.

THIS post is about our visit to Southern California to see the kids. :)

We drove down to L.A. late Friday afternoon, after I pre-worked 7 hours between Thursday night and Friday (don't ask—this is what happens every time I leave town for vacation now). Bad time to use Highway 99! We hit the rush hour of every town between Sacramento and the other side of Fresno, so it was slow and frustrating. Also, I really need Google to tell me what the various smells along 99 are. Lots of what seemed like cattle stink (including IN some of the larger cities), and a brief encounter with... fertilizer? Other chemicals? By the bathroom stop halfway up the grapevine, I wasn't even surprised anymore: Beets? Moldy earth? Eh, whatever...

Friday night's hotel in Sherman Oaks was terrible. The non-smoking room reeked of cigarettes, the drapes didn't fully cover the window, and the heater was broken. So, it was a cold, wakeful night. Our visit with The Boy at UCLA went well, though. We spent a lot of it dealing with his dying phone, and whether it was insured (apparently not, which makes no sense, but whatever). $320 to fix the screen and its connection. You know what doesn't mix? Teenaged boys and smart phones! This is the second time one of his friends has knocked our son's phone out of his hands and damaged it. The previous phone survived, but the display was borked on this one. Gah.

We also had time for brunch, a campus tour, meeting a couple of our son's friends (the ones still in town), and calzones at Enzo's (which were fantastic). We'd hoped to see Black Panther, but the phone issue ate up the time. It also superseded my vague thoughts of visiting the La Brea tarpits, since I have never been there. DINOSAURS! But, no. The Boy looked good, though, and is happy.

We drove down to Oceanside after dinner, and then to La Jolla on Sunday to see our daughter. Being the planner she is, she had quite a lot of things she wanted to do.

First brunch, which was worth the long wait. Our waiter looked like a black-haired Justin Bateman. Then a tour of the UC San Diego campus by golf cart (for time constraints and HalfshellHusband's walking limitations). You need actual muscles to steer a golf cart, so it almost got the better of our daughter, but she prevailed. We drove in an actual car to San Diego to visit the Point Loma lighthouse and see the views. spectacular! Also some whales off in the distance, where you could just make out the occasional water spout. Balboa Park was next. There's a whole little village dedicated to artists' studios, with stuff for sale. We didn't go to the zoo (which I would love to do someday), but walked through other parts of the park and saw neat buildings and street-fair entertainment. After that, a long wait for dinner at Puesto (fantastic and interesting tacos), and then back on the road so our daughter could study the rest of the night.

We'd intended to stay in Encinitas that night (we didn't expect to leave La Jolla before nine), but the hotel apparently tried to charge our credit card a couple of times earlier in the day, got a refusal, and released our reservation. They were happy to re-book us for a $20 price increase, but we decided to try driving across L.A. and the grapevine and staying north of there. After a night in Bakersfield, we made it home at 2:00 on Monday. Enough time for a bike ride! After a seemingly endless amount of petting the cat, who was very happy to see us...

A very good if tiring trip, though HalfshellHusband still doesn't begin to know the hell of driving to or from San Diego in a single day. May he never have to!