• Learning and Exploring

    U.S. Southwest Survey Vacation: San Diego Zoo Part 1

    We arrived in the cold and rain and bought rain ponchos and hopped on a bus tour. Soon after the tour ended, weather changed for the better, and we walked around the zoo and took the shuttle bus for most of the day. So many animals were quite active, and we saw quite a few baby animals. I did not, unfortunately, get good panda photos; Mama Panda was quite stressed and was pacing, and the other panda was not out in his cage.
    My favorites; the little girls said we saw these three times. I do not care. I want a baby meerkat; they are so furry and tiny I wanna die!

    These otters put on quite a show playing with each other.

    Purple is one of my favorite colors, and we say these gorgeous trees all over San Diego (apparently Mr. Tortoise considers the flowers a delicacy).

    The koalas slept all bunched up like that for most of the time, but we saw two briefly snuggling/grooming. 

  • Learning and Exploring

    U.S. Southwest Survey Vacation: New Mexico

    We stayed the night in Santa Rosa, NM (which my siblings dubbed Radiator Springs) rather than in Albuquerque in order to have some time to spend in the latter city. Before heading to Albuquerque, we stopped at Blue Hole which is an extremely small, deep pool, great for divers; the site is decrepit. While driving through New Mexico and discussing the state, I decided to look up its position on the wealth scale for the states . . . one of the lowest.

    When we reached Albuquerque, we were too early for most of the shops, but we were lucky that one with pieces from local artists was open (I will post photos of items I bought/gathered on the trip separately). I definitely want to go back to Albuquerque.

    After the city we visited the Petroglyph National Monument nearby, stopped for lunch at a Mexican restaurant in a tiny town on Route 66 (we saw, drove on, and crossed parts of Route 66 on the first quarter or so of our trip) and then drove out and through the Painted Desert.

  • Learning and Exploring

    U.S. Southwest Survey Vacation: Oklahoma

    My mom and one of my sisters signed up for a mini (or half) marathon in San Diego and that trip grew into a fortnight mid-western and western roadtrip (or survey trip as my mom said since we did not have much time for extended exploration) for all the girls of the family.

    For the sake of location privacy, I am going to cut out states on the beginning and end of my trip and include only mid-western to western states. Bear with my photos, I am still learning and am not editing them all for my blog; I will have more to say on photos later.

    We drove through Oklahoma and my sister quickly found a place for us to visit near our route: Redbud Valley Nature Preserve.

    Car photos of Oklahoma skies

    Redbud Valley Nature Preserve

    A highway viewpoint stop

  • Learning and Exploring


    Part of my family made a brief trip to Chicago following the Christmas holidays. As I mentioned before this was my first time to Chicago, and the largest city I have ever visited. I would never, ever go to a popular place on a major break unless that was the only way. I somewhat enjoy urban atmospheres but cannot stand crowds (an oxymoron, yes?), and trust me, it was crowded thanks to the Christmas break.

    We wanted to go ice skating first…but it was too crowded, and there was a line. So we walked around and took photos.

    We visited the American Girl Store, Hershey’s, and Ghirardelli’s. By that time it was dark, and we headed for the Hancock tower. I couldn’t figure out how to take night photos on my camera which was aggravating to no end (I think I am going to buy a photography book-this learning is not coming easy for me).

    The next day we decided that we would try the aquarium…HA! The line went part of the way around the building, so we retraced our steps and visited the art museum instead (I do want to visit the aquarium the next time I go-I have not been to one in years). I bought these earrings in the gift shop there.

    Aren’t they lovely? Sometimes I really step out of my style zone and quite surprise myself how well I like something that doesn’t usually fall under my style.

    After the art museum we attempted to get deep dish pizza…again HA! The wait was too long. So Subway it was (for the second time that trip). Then we headed home.

    That is me, the bag lady. I wore my wallet purse and my camera bag and sometimes my camera around my neck. And yes, I walked around the city in those flats-no ugly athletic shoes for me even though the flats caused my feet to hurt, and my sister stepped on one while we were crossing the street, so I lost my shoe for a moment in the middle of a bunch of people in the middle of the street. The skirt I am wearing is the one I made for Christmas; I should have some better photos of it for my Christmas post. The hat and scarf are my sister’s. I wore one of her hats one day and another of her hats the other day and completely fell in love with the look although again I wouldn’t normally think that they were my style. I own absolutely no fashionable hats although I have longed for I beret.

    On a random note:we thought that the people in Chicago were taller on average than the people where we are from, and I also thought that every gender and age group dressed much more stylishly.

    Hopefully I should have my Christmas recap done sometime this week. I started school Monday, and this looks to be my hardest semester :p, BUT I still intend to do better at blogging, AND I really want to join this event. Have a great week!