I can't believe I began the summer lamenting that I wouldn't be taking any vacations this year.
Instead, I ended up planning several short road trips. The result: Plenty to write about -- but little time to do it!
I just got back from watching Megan compete in the California State Games, which is a kind of youth Olympics event, complete with young athletes marching in to witness the lighting of the torch. As the march-in was Friday night and her meet was Sunday afternoon -- and the event was in beautiful San Diego -- we made a weekend of it. My sister and her family planned a short stay in Mission Bay to coincide with it, so it was a full family affair...
...which means that breaking away to write was a near-impossibility. Hell, my husband and sister complained every time I glanced at the steady stream of email I was receiving on my Blackberry. You have no idea how much trouble they would have given me if I had gone hunting for a hotspot so I could write.
This is why I have not been online since Thursday afternoon (when the Internet in my home went down for several hours). As of this time last week, I was putting the finishing touches on part 1 of my post about our Las Vegas trip -- and promising to finish the half-done draft recounting our experiences in Palm Springs the previous week.
Those posts remain half-done drafts. And in three days, I am flying up to San Francisco for BlogHer.
Can you say "over extended"?
So... this blog will be taking a non-linear turn this week, as I jump around in time so I can catch up before BlogHer.
We'll start with the trip we just finished: San Diego.
I wish I had photos to show you of the opening ceremony for the California State Games. It really felt like the real deal. For one thing, it took place at Qualcomm Stadium. For another, there must have been thousands of youthful participants, as the march in to the stadium seemed to go on FOREVER. The really cool thing is that the entire proceeding was broadcast onto the stadium's jumbotron -- so I got to see the joyful expressions on the faces of my daughter and her teammates as they entered the field.
The reason I don't have photos is that I almost didn't make it to the Stadium on time, having opted to stay at a four-star Priceline-booked downtown hotel instead of the cheap Mission Valley inn on the trolley line, with the rest of the team. I had dropped Megan off with her coach so I knew she would arrive along with them -- but I wanted to have my own car so I could boogie when the whole thing was over.
The road leading to Qualcomm was bumper-to-bumper, and just as I got there, my cell phone froze on me. This put me into a panic: How was I going to find the other parents? How was I going to find my kid? I managed to get the phone working again by removing and replacing the battery -- but I was shaken. I was already at the ticket booth when I realized I'd left my camera in the car. I had no desire to run back to fetch it.
After what seemed like hours (I had NO IDEA there were so many kids who play softball - I don't think there was an empty field in all of San Diego last weekend!), the ceremony began with a drop-in by about a dozen Navy Seals... who literally parachuted onto the field, ending with one holding an American flag for the Star Spangled Banner. Yeah, it was kind of hokey -- but really cool at the same time. That was followed by some speeches about the value of youth athletic programs and some Gong-show ready entertainment.
The program ended with a pretty nice fireworks show.
Then came the ordeal of catching back up with our kids. As much time as it took for them to march IN to the stadium, finding them after the event took even longer. At least, it felt that way. It was nearly 10:00 p.m. by the time I had my daughter back -- neither one of us had eaten dinner. Fortunately, my sister and husband (who had driven down after work and was already relaxing with the family at their hotel in Mission Bay) were waiting for us. We phoned them a room service order and found a late dinner waiting for us when we caught up with them -- just in time to catch our second fireworks show of the night, emanating from nearby Sea World.
Saturday was our time to kick back, and we decided to do so at my sister's hotel. She and her family stayed at the Mission Bay Hilton, which is right on the bay, so it boasts a small beach, a dock where you can rent boats and jetskis, tennis courts, a spa -- and a fabulous pool (which was adjacent to a fabulous bar that serves truly fabulous pina coladas).
We figured we could get the best of both San Diego worlds by moving our party downtown for the evening. We dined on excellent tapas at Cafe Sevilla in the Gaslamp Quarter (which was within walking distance from our downtown hotel). The food was plentiful...and reasonably priced.
Sunday's gymnastics meet was a lot like any other... except that our team rocked! Megan and her friend Wesley both took first place All-Around prizes for their ages -- and the top three for most events featured at least one of our girls.
I would have pictures of this but for a nasty surprise when I turned my camera on: I must have dropped it somewhere, because I could not access any of the menus. Instead, all I could see was something that looked like a crack on the screen INSIDE the camera.
"Just go to the store where you bought it and get it fixed," my husband suggested.
The last time I tried that with a digital camera I was told it would cost nearly as much to fix as it would to buy a new one. It is also extremely unlikely that, should it be reparable, I could have it back before I go to BlogHer on Thursday. At any rate, future posts will be without photos for the foreseeable future.
It's a good thing I got some in on the half-finished posts that will be going up BEFORE I get to San Francisco.