4th of July in San Diego

Lizzy (my sister) turned 40 this Sunday.  We all met up in San Diego (Chris’ home town) to celebrate. Since Valerie was helping to take care of the twins and Nicco was in Arlington, it was up to the girls and me to represent the Houston Chases.  We flew out on the morning of the 4th…. uneventful flight, I slept most of it.  San Diego weather was very interesting… not too hot, not too cold.  Supposed to be wonderful, but I guess I am used to extremes, guess it’s a good thing I live where I do.  We went from the airport straight to Chris’ and Deb’s apartment.  We grabbed a bite of lunch, then went with Deb to look at some of her boats (she is a ship’s captain).  Wow, what an incredible job she has!!  After we got checked into the hotel, we took a nap, then back to Chris’ apartment for his dinner party – I tried to label the pictures (if you click on the link and go to the website Wink)
After an incredible dinner, Chris led us down to the waterfront where we watched the fireworks, which were set off from a barge in the bay.  I thought some of these pictures were pretty cool!
We stayed at the Ramada Plaza – a great hotel – many thanks to the manager Charlie!!  Had a great night’s sleep and had breakfast the next morning at the Tickled Trout. After breakfast we headed off to the San Diego Zoo. Spent the whole afternoon there, lots of neat exhibits… lots and lots of walking up and down hills!  The air tram and the bus tour were welcome breaks!  We met up with Dan, Liz, and their clan for about five minutes, then they headed off to see what we had already seen and we went on to the Polar Bears.  After the Zoo, we drove to Island Prime Restaurant. This was a pretty snooty boaters restaurant that seemed a little too stuffy for its own good.  The food was spot on – We had Calamari, Baked Brie, and French Onion Soup for appetizers, with Kobe burgers for the main course.  Only problem was it took over two hours to get it!!  Luckily the view was great and we were able to do a lot of people watching… almost as much fun as the zoo Thinking)  Around 6:15, Chris came and picked us up in the parking lot and we met up with the rest of the family and cruised the bay.  Deb took us by where the Navy is training Sea Lions and Dolphins, we saw the submarines, and all kinds of cool military stuff. Weather finally got a bit cool on the water – it was nice!  After the cruise, we headed back to the hotel and slept pretty hard. 
 Sunday was probably the coolest day of all.  Chris’ friend Todd offered to show us Sunset Cliffs Beach – San Diego style!! We met up with Chris and headed over.  The girls are still talking about it.  The pictures do not do justice to how pristine and beautiful the beach is.  Not the soft tropical beaches for the sun bunnies, but a real live hard ocean scary real beach!!! Thanks again Todd.
After a good soaking, we got to see Todd’s house, which he has been remodeling for the past year.  To say he is a craftsmen is a huge understatement!!
Finally, time for Church – we went to St. Agnes, which seemed like a pretty tight knit community.  Very nice church.  They usually have a Portuguese mass every Sunday… I assume most of the Tuna fishermen used to be Portuguese.  Interestingly, there was no parking lot I could see.  I assume that is because the fishermen did not need cars… The Priest who gave the mass was a visiting student from Rome – turns out the student priests get no stipend while they are studying, so their only source of income is acting as a "substitute Priest" during the summer!  Learn something new every day Open-mouthed!
After church, another nap, then we went to Lizzie’s party.  Had a great time, met lots of nice folks and left pretty early since we had caught a ride with Andy and his baby Matthew was getting pretty tired.  At the hotel, we watched a Jackie Chan movie, then called it a night.
Monday was Sea World Day.  Most of the family went and did the tourist thing.  The highlight of the day for me (besides the budweiser beer samples :)) was when the seagull stole fish out of Emily’s hand.  Check out the pictures for a close up of that one!!  Dinner that night was prime rib at the Tickled Trout (as was breakfast) – we closed the place down.
Tuesday, we had breakfast at…. you guessed it – The Tickled Trout!!!  Then off to one of my favorite spots – The Birch Aquarium. It was absolutely everything I had hoped it would be.  Beautiful, exhilirating, educational and downright refreshing.  The girls are still talking about the hands on tidal pool.  One of the urchins grabbed Katherine’s fingers and about scared her to death.  They played with the lobsters for almost half an hour!  Hope you like the pictures (I took a few :))
Got back in time to clean out the room, then off to the airport and back home (Horton Hears a Who on the ride back – whee!) Valerie picked us up around 11:00 and our adventure was over!
Many thanks to Chris and Deb for their awesome hospitality!! Enjoyed seeing all of the family. Gotta do it sooner next time!
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