Tag Archives: vacation

Home again, home again

We are back from Disneyland, and have the blisters to prove it. With one adult and a teenager plus a little determination, it turns out you can go on a lot of rides. Whoa. And I am happy to report that the healthy vegetarian food options have improved significantly. The vegetarian gumbo lived up to the hype, and I also fell in love with the tofu rice bowls in the California Adventure park. I only took my little point & shoot and had limited battery time for pictures on my phone, and I decided not to focus too much on photography. But I didn’t come back totally empty-handed.

I <3 Jet Blue.

gumbo in a breadbowl

One of our first rides: The Haunted Mansion!

It’s a Small World after all

This random, tiny praying mantis that landed on me was just a bonus, I think.

We made sure to watch Captain EO twice.

Sadly the Matterhorn was closed for repairs.

The tea cups were one of our absolute favorites.


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Bees at Alcatraz

When we get busy, updating the blog is the first thing to fall off the “honey do” list. I guess that’s normal. We had Spring Break (WhoOoO) and took a 1700 mile road trip to Northern California so we could feel the sun on our faces. It is well-documented that we really love road trips. I got sunburned, of course, and it was a little difficult to come home to our soggy, gray town. But in California in April, the sun shines. The weather was warm, and everything is growing, blooming & buzzing. Do you know how magical that is to those of us under the constant PNW drizzle? Very magical.

While in San Francisco, we took an Alcatraz Cruise over to The Rock. The decaying prison facility & history are interesting, but what I really loved was the Alcatraz Island garden. The Army started bringing dirt to the barren rock island in the 1850s, back when it was Fort Alcatraz. People who lived on the island brought plants from home, and prisoners worked on gardens over the years. When the island was abandoned a few decades ago, many transplants escaped. Lush gardens have taken over, and a group of volunteers is in the process of restoring them. The Alcatraz gardens were my favorite thing on our trip and I can’t stop talking about them.

Alcatraz is an island, of course, so I wasn’t surprised that we didn’t see honey bees. The island might be a great place for a bee hive, but the National Park Service probably isn’t maintaining one and honey bees are not known for their trips across bodies of water. However, we found bumble bees hard at work in the old prison. Bumble bees are suited to life on Alcatraz. They don’t need humans meddling and there’s plenty of food.

I took a photo of a bumble bee with the golden gate bridge in the background. I believe this flower is Pride of Madeira, but please tell me if I’m wrong. Levi identified this bumble bee as Bombus bombus, which is kind of a nerd joke, like “I know it’s a bumble bee but I don’t know what kind because there are hundreds of them.”

Back at the dock, the National Park Service has container gardens featuring many of the plants from the Alcatraz Island Gardens. The container gardens give you a feeling of continuity on both sides of the boat ride, like a preview of the gardens you’re going to see while you’re waiting in line for the boat. I stopped to check out the Pride of Madeira potted up on the dock. No surprise — I found a honey bee working the flowers at Pier 33. My book research indicates the flower is a good nectar source for bees, and my field research seems consistent with that finding.

Bees. They’re pretty much everywhere, thankfully.

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Filed under bees, spring

Top of the Rock

I’m still trying to finish up our vacation round up, but I am losing at this game. Some of my favorite photos happened at the end of our trip, so I don’t want to skip them. So, one morning we woke up & wanted to go to the Museum of Modern Art. I had a problem with my sinuses, allergies, head, face, nose, and thinking capacity, so I navigated us to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is not the same thing. Usually I am a reasonably good navigator, but this was a total failure on my part. Then we made our way to MOMA, only to find that the Tim Burton exhibit tickets were sold out.

It felt like a “Plan B” kind of day, so we decided to scrap our plans entirely and go to the Top of the Rock, which is of course, the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, or the GE building which, I don’t know if you know, was one of the most thrilling buildings in NYC because that’s where 30 Rock takes place. Yes, Liz Lemon is probably Levi’s favorite television heroine. So, Top of the Rock is basically an observation deck on the top of this building. It’s supposed to be a better view than the Empire State Building because you can actually see the Empire State Building as part of the skyline. Also, there was no line and no waiting.

So, we pay an obscene amount of money, hustle past the Swarovski 3-story crystal chandelier in the Rockefeller atrium, and get in an elevator that plays music and videos on the ceiling and transports you up 67 floors. It was kind of scary, like being in a rave that is flying into outer space. (Actually, I am pretty sure that I was the only person afraid of this elevator.)

From the 67th floor, you can take stairs and escalators, finally arriving on the 70th floor. Once you are at the top, there’s a gorgeous view of New York, way up high above the taxis and vomit and mountains of garbage and greasy, shit-stained subways. It’s the alter ego of NYC – totally quiet, like being in an empty cathedral. We stared at the skyline forever, in every direction.

Top of the Rock has plenty of the ubiquitous coin-op telescopes that you find at touristy sites.

I had some marginal success taking a photo through the telescope viewer. This is the Chrysler building partially obscured by the Metlife building.

We had lunch at Vegetarian Paradise 2, which was good but not as great as Red Bamboo. Then we rushed back to our hotel to host a pool party for our friend Ellen & her two sons, Banjo & Caleb. We were so distracted by the pool and sauna, we forgot to take any pictures of the pool party. We ate pizza for dinner, again, because so far as I can tell, NYC is all about eating pizza for as many meals as possible.


Filed under family, spring

The Weekly Levi

With one of NYC’s finest near 34th Street.

This style of photo is kind of a tradition on my side of the family. I have a suspicion that it started with my Aunt Lynne. I think there are photos of my brother & i posing with NYPD at various ages & stages of our childhood. Clearly Levi was baffled by this, but he was a good sport nonethless.

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