Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Much Needed Vacation

During Spring Break this year, we got in my mom's car and headed out to San Diego (gas is cheaper in her car - thanks mom!).  Last time we went, in October, we stayed on Coronado Island at a really cute hotel and it was such a relaxing trip, so we wanted to go again.  San Diego is just so close, and is an easy getaway with an ocean view! 

If you know Ian and I, we don't just drive non-stop somewhere, we have to take stops at interesting places along the way.  So, during this trip, we stopped at the Imperial Sand Dunes, did some shopping and then ended up at Days Inn Hotel Circle for two night in San Diego (thanks mom and Joe, again!).  It was a fast trip, I kind of wish we would have stayed another night, but was a much needed rest from home and work.  We have been working on replacing the insulation in our attic (old, crumbly foam), so Ian (and his dad, Henry) have been bagging up and removing the old stuff getting it ready for new, allergen free, polyester insulation.  (If you're interested in non fiberglass and non cellulose insulation, this is a good alternative.  You won't find it anywhere, but can order it from the company through Home Depot.  You can also try this stuff, although it was about $500 more.) 

Ian had been working so hard, and for so many weeks, that he was starting to feel a tightness in his chest from being hunched over in the attic (don't worry, he wore a mask and gloves).  Also, our quarters at school are usually only 9 weeks (then we get a week or two week break), but this quarter was 10 - and we all felt it.  We were ready to get out of work and take a break away from the kids, and from our dusty house.  So, we were San Diego bound.

We drove through Gila Bend because I hadn't seen the Space Age Hotel/Restaurant in awhile.  It was pretty cool, I just wish they'd play it up more.  Gila Bend, not so cool.

We stopped at Dateland and got date shakes - if you've never had one, they are delicious - and of course had to buy silly trinkets.  Mine is shopping, Ian's is playing soccer?

One day, when I finally buy a Prius and we sell Ian's truck, we will get ATVs and come here.  These sand dunes are gorgeous!  So surreal - and where they shot Return of the Jedi (click link for a pic of Jabba's ship on the dunes).  They are the largest dunes open to the public and they go all the way into Mexico.

Some giant windmills we passed on the road, so cool.  They probably power El Centro - I love renewable energy.  We also passed a tree in the median decorated with tinsel, lights and ornaments and a big armchair on the side of the road.  I love roadtrips!

We got stopped at two border patrol stops in California.  People talk about Arizona's immigration laws all the time, but we saw Hispanic men getting frisked and racial profiling happening right before our eyes in California.  Tsk tsk, California.  (I made this one big so you could read the sign.)

 We made it!  Our Days Inn hotel room, it was a kitchenette.  Nice room, ok beds, noisy with tourists, but good for us.  We loved just being away from home!

Our first night we wanted to go out to dinner someplace nice and with a view of the ocean.  After searching Yelp for awhile, Ian found C Level.  It is right on the harbor with views of downtown and Coronado Island.  The food was amazing, the scenery was gorgeous and we sat outside with heaters at a table right on the water.  It was amazing.  (Sorry for the dark pics, mood lighting.)

(Parmesan encrusted brie, delish!)

(Fish and chips with shoestring fries, my fav.)

(Lobster mac and cheese with big chunks of lobster and scallops - indescribably good.)

(The outdoor area was super cute.)

The next day, even though it was cold and cloudy, we headed to the beach on Coronado Island.  We like it there because it's not crowded and it was St. Patrick's Day and we kind of wanted to avoid the craziness.  So, we stopped at our favorite store, New Island Market, got some tuna and hummus and had a picnic on the sand.

(Ian always has to build something, even though he said he would take it easy this time because of his chest.)

(His masterpiece.  We hoped people would walk by all day after we left and say, "Hey!  That's not me!"

(As we were leaving, it was freezing, we saw a game of beach volleyball - trunks vs. speedos - as Ian said.  It was hot, like Top Gun hot.)

(How much would you LOVE to buy a crappy house with a view and then tear it down and build a new one?!  Amazing.  I wish they were constructing OUR new house!)

We wanted to go and check out this hotel, for another trip, so we headed to Pacific beach to see what that was all about (don't bother, it was gross!).  We walked out on the pier of another hotel (that we also wanted to see) and took some great pics  (We also saw dolphins in the water!)

(This was right after the tsunami in Japan and the waves were CRASHING and the pier was shaking!  I had to get off after a little bit, it was freaking me out!)

On our way back from searching for Starbucks and sunburn lotion on Hotel Circle, see below, I found my favorite flower, a snap dragon.  And, you always have to make it sing!

For dinner, we headed back to Coronado and walked around, checking out all the restaurants.  We ended up finding this place, and had AMAZING quinoa veggie burgers and grass-fed beef burgers.  It had been FOREVER since we had a burger from a burger shop (since we don't eat meat that isn't organic).

(The moon was gorgeous!)

And, of course, Ian got sun burnt and I didn't.  I was so jelly:

The next day, we headed back to the beach, early, to look for shells.  Apparently Fall and Spring are not good times to do this, because I didn't find much.  Walking back from the beach we went through the neighborhoods holding hands and looking at the amazing houses.  It was such a beautiful day, perfect weather, and so peaceful.  We tried to think of ways we could move to Coronado - how to make a lot of money and fast.  We ended the morning by eating breakfast at a really cute french place and then drove back home, stopping at the Coach Outlet at Viejas, of course.

We got home Friday night and took it easy all weekend.  Ian still wasn't feeling good, now his chest thing was freaking him out causing him to have panic attacks because he felt he couldn't take a breath.  So, on Sunday night, at 10pm, we headed to the ER.  It turns out that he had inflammation in his chest (not cause by the attic dust, we asked) due to an infection - usually from being sick.  However, he was never sick so it was really weird.  The infection was causing him to feel like he couldn't take deep breaths, when really he was getting enough oxygen the whole time.  They did an x-ray, gave him some medicine and prescribed ibuprofen, an anti-inflammatory.  (But, be careful when you take anti-inflammatories, later we found out they could cause a peptic ulcer.)  He's fine now, feeling much better, and told me I could post this pic for posterity:

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