Friday, August 9, 2013

My Kids came up for a visit

The last week of July my children drove up from Southern California to visit.  It was kind of a last hurrah before my son heads off to College in Texas. They pulled an all nighter and got up here on the morning of the 30th with temptations in their hands.

They had made two stops on the way up.  One at Rosa Maria's, probably my all time favorite Mexican Food establishments.
Home of the Garbage Burrito, that just means it has everything in it....grin  My son says they will ship Burritos to you if you by a few at a time.  I haven't messaged them to find out how yet, but I will someday.
I know someone that is in Australia that would probably want to do this....grin  The Kids know I love the Extra Large Chile Relleno Burrito so they got one for me and a bag of there Tortillas. To me it is the Tortillas that make the food the best.  One problem!  Those burritos are not as good 24 hours later...sigh
Any time anyone in our family goes to Rosa's we take a picture of the place or our burrito with our smart phones and text it to our friends and family to make them jealous....yes we are evil

The also stopped in Portland OR. to get these!
This place is very eclectic, and not your average donut joint.  They have been on several of those restaurant shows and on the Food Network. They are kind of famous for their Bacon Maple Bar, yes that is a maple bar with a strip of bacon on it. It is actually very good, They also have Voodoo Doll Donut, kind of a bar type donut shaped into a person with chocolate icing on it, with an icing face and a stick pretzel in it's chest.
Here is Voodoo Doughnuts web site. You can see the Voodoo Doll Donut on the first page of the site.

They have another donut I love, the Mexican Hot Chocolate donut.  It is a chocolate cake donut coated in sugar and in the sugar is a fine red pepper that gives it a kick of heat. The flavor is awesome. My son and I went there the last time he was up. That was the time we found out that you can not make a Left Turn in old downtown Portland, considering the political climate in that city is was a little funny to  We did a lot of right turns to make that left. Voodoo Doughnuts has lines that stretch out the door during that day, it is a funny place.

So the kids walked in the front door with these treasures.  One slight problem, we had started the Low Carb Diet the week before, after our trip to Minot ND.  There were thousand of grams of carbs in those donuts and burrito.  Cute Girlfriend was strong and stood off the beckoning of the pink box. The low carb diet starts you out with watching your carbohydrate intake. So we are limiting our selves 20 grams or less carbs a day. Just one of those donuts or those tortillas would over shoot your carb goal by a wide margin.  I had to have just one of those Mexican Hot Chocolate donuts and I ate the Chile Relleno Burrito. I can not tell you how that donut was on my hyperactive system after over a week of no sugar. I got the  The burrito was high in fiber so I may have saved myself some with that.

The nice thing about this Low Carb Diet is that if you over shoot your target you just get back where you were in the diet and press on.  The object of the diet is for your body to stop using carbs as the energy source and burn Ketones derived from stored fat or protien. I have been kind of interested in this ketone based diet when I heard that people have been using it to treat cancer.

I guess the cancer cell is surrounded by glucose and if you have none going in you, like carbs it starves out the cancer cell.  Also they have been using this Ketogenic Diet for people that have seizures. When people with Epilepsy use this diet their seizures stop or are lessened dramatically. Follow the the link it is interesting.

I know sugar is not my friend, it works weirdly in my system, so I have always watched how much I have put in me. Alas donuts are a weakness and I could not turn down the burrito. Even with that I have lost over 12 lbs watching my carbs, Cute Girlfriend has lost over 10 lbs and we are starting to notice our cloths fitting looser.
Soon we will be able to see where we can add some carbs to keep the weight loss going but be able to have a wider variety in our menu. We are having a good time on this diet, cooking a lot more instead of going out to eat.  Looking at labels a lot to know what we are eating.  We may start a cheat night once or twice a month so we can enjoy things like a good pizza or donut.  It just shows you that too much of a good thing is usually bad for you. Moderation! Thank goodness Whiskey has no carbs....just a sip though!

The kids were tired when they arrived with their plunder.  We talked for a while. They didn't really want to sleep this early so they could sleep through the night.  I gave them a fishing rod and they cast the line in to the river for a while. My daughter found it relaxing.

They finally took some naps and we made plans to go to Seattle for the next day.  Cute Girlfriend bought us some tickets to go up the Space Needle, and see some glass artist called Chihuly.  My son wanted to stop off at the original Starbucks and do some basic site seeing.

We didn't get a great start north to Seattle, which is fine, morning traffic through Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle is a huge pain in the butt. We went to the world famous Pike Place Market on that street was the first Starbucks. Both Pike Place Market and the Starbucks was packed full of people. There were flower stalls, seafood stalls, spice stalls, I know we just scratched the surface of that place. It was way too busy to see anything. There was a park next to the Market and it over looked the Puget Sound. I got a picture of the kids with the Sound behind them.
Next stop was the Space Needle. It is probably one of the most iconic towers in the world. Any picture of Seattle is not complete without the Space Needle in it. The Space Needle was built for the 1962 Worlds Fair and at one time it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi. 1962 let's see how old was I then...oh yes 6 months old!  Damn that thing is as old as I  I remember as a kid going up to the restaurant with my parents.  The restaurant is one of those tower types that spins around as you eat. One revolution in one hour.

When we got there I posted this pic on Facebook.
Captioned it...Guess where I am.

We had tickets to see this Artist named Chihuly.  He is a Glass Sculptor, and they included a trip up to the Observation deck of the Space Needle. We stood in line for a short bit for the ride to the top. There is a guy who searches bags at one point as you enter.  Kind of silly attempt at security.

As we were standing in line to be loaded into the elevators I started to get a little Acrophobia. I can not tell you how weird it feels to get that. In my youth I had no problems with heights other than that weird feeling you get when you first look down.  I use to repel down rock face, climb tall things, but now there is something wrong.  I'm pretty sure it is caused by that roll over accident I had during the first few months I was in North Dakota, I will blog about that later. Since then fears have been amplified and it is hard to do heights and such.  I told the kids about it, but I would face the fear even though it makes parts of me feel funny.

The Elevator is large box with lots of windows. An attendant goes with you, and stands at the door and does a perfectly timed speech to entertain you on the 41 second ride to the observation deck.  Even typing about it here makes me feel  You are traveling about 10mph on the way up and when the upper decks block out the view suddenly it is a little startling.  The Observation deck has an inner and outer section. I'll be damned if I don't go out to that edge and look down, this sudden fear of heights kind of pisses me off.  My brain better get use to it, I'm going to the edge every time!  Gulp.

I took another picture of the kids again facing the Sound, this time with better views of Bainbridge Island and the Olympic mountains in the distance.
My son was telling me why he doesn't smile while I snapped the shot....TEENAGERS!
Here is one of Lake Union to the north east of the Needle.
Somewhere down there is that floating house they used in "Sleepless in Seattle"
The Olympics again.
I bet on a clear day this view is awesome.
I can't go with out taking a picture of Craftsman Homes.
Tons of them just north of the Needle...grin

We rode the elevator down and guess where it drops you off....THE GIFT SHOP!  Have to get some Space Needle coffee cups or something.
Right next to the Space Needle is a place called the Chihuly Garden and Glass.  Chihuly is a glass blower and sculptor and he has a display and Garden there. The Sculptures are bright and colorful. My daughter loved them and took tons of pictures.  My phone was low on battery so I only grabbed a few picture. There was this one room where the ceiling was all these different colored and style bowls and shapes with light over them. It was called the "Persian Ceiling" or something like that. Pictures wouldn't do it justice.
I did want a picture of this.
It was the wood with it's patterns.
 Getting the Space Needle with this sculpture in the foreground was cool.
My daughter took some pictures there also.

 The outdoor sculptures were nicer I thought.
I'm not getting it at all, but my daughter liked it a lot...grin
This next shot I liked for the reflection, it was a great idea, a couple of people behind her copied her shot...good job daughter.
She just needed to camouflage herself in the pic to only the Space Needle showed up in the reflection and this shot would have been perfect!  Her is the daughters version of the Needle with the sculpture.
  I like her shot much better than mine.
While going up the elevator I saw something down on the ground I thought we should stop and see on the way back to the car.
A Labyrinth. The daughter and I walked the whole thing, while my son hip hopped his way to the center. When we got half way done I challenged my son to see if he could catch us by walking the path real fast, before we got to the center and he almost caught us.  I was trying to get to his competitive nature, he thought I was just using this race thing to get him to walk the  If you want interesting reading on Labyrinths her is a link.  I'm sure it might be a little unsettling for the atheist hippy to turn around while walking  his or her meditation Labyrinth and see that a person with their Rosary is walking the Labyrinth for the exact same reason right behind  Interesting what Labyrinths have been used for in the past.

On the way out of Seattle I wanted to stop somewhere I have needed to stop at for a long time. My moms memorial site. My birth mother died in 1967 of Hotchkins, sadly something curable today. It was the perfect time to go there and introduce my kids to her. I was 5 when she died so my memories of her are few. I remember odd things like how she made peanut butter cookies pressing them with a fork to get a hashed pattern on them. How when I got under foot while she was cleaning she would tell me to get out of her dirt. She would give my brother and I cooking pot lids to use as steering wheels when we pretended we where driving my dad's race car.  I remember going to medical treatments with her when she was sick.  She was a very loving lady.
She is here with her brother and her parents.
It is a beautiful nitch they are in.
We visited for a bit and cleaned some pine needles off the markers. Then we headed south to have diner with my aunt, my mother's sister. She had some pictures of my mother to show the kids to put a face to the name. We had a nice dinner and chat with my aunt before started for home.

The next day we went to the beach. Coming from California and saying you are going to Long Beach, which is basically part of L.A. and home of the Queen Mary is a lot different than the Long Beach here in Washington. This Long Beach you can actually take your car out on it and drive on it. Long Beach WA is just like most small town tourist beach towns. There is a Free Museum in town disguised as a curios shop that has a taxidermy enhance mummy of what is called Alligator man.

Getting onto the hard packed sand of the beach is tricky so the tow cable I bought as we left home came in handy instantly. My son's little SUV is front wheel drive and dug in fast on the approach to the hard packed sand. I tried to pull out a big pick up that had got stuck but I started to dig in too so that didn't work.
We drove up the beach and found a place to park.
It was slightly over cast, but there was a good breeze and the tide was out.
We had the grand kids with us.
It is a very Long Beach.
You can drive for miles. There is 3 things that make this beach famous, one that you can drive on it, two Razor Clam Season, from October to May, depending on clam estimates, you will see tons of people out on the beach with clamming shovels and pales in hand getting these tasty large clams. I have had them they are very good. Three is flying kites. Cute Girlfriend bought some Angry Bird kites and one Bad Piggy kite before we came down.
The Grand Daughter that got the Piggy Kite got the longest string spool so we could not get her with our Angry Bird kites...grin

The breeze let up a couple of times and the kites started dropping, but it was a good time.
My son flew one for a while.
 I know...the boy will smile for the Cute Girlfriend but not his dad...TEENAGERS!
I went out on the sand bar in front of us and built a crude sand castle as a tide marker.
Cute Girlfriend caught me in the act...I stole the last few pictures from her Facebook pictures.
I didn't put much heart into it, I have made better, but it was mainly a tidal gauge for us. When the tide came up to that point it was time to pack up and leave. I wasn't the only one playing in the sand.
The youngest granddaughter and my daughter made a crab made of sand, yes that is a sand crab. They had a great time there in between the cars. Cars go a little fast here on the beach so you have to watch out for the little ones.

Well the water made it to the gauge and we packed it all up and started to leave, my son left his parking break on when he started to leave and dug himself in some again, so we got out the tow strap.  I told him to get a good run at the soft sand at the entrance to the beach.  He did a good job and bounced through it.

Cute Girlfriend treated us to some go-carts before we left Long Beach.
We had a great time.
Grand Daughter.

I lapped the kids once and then my son wanted to race and I let him pass me...I drove flat out right behind him getting the cart to drift around the sharp turns, but we had to come in when I was just about to get  Cute Girlfriend tried to get pictures of me on the cart but I was going too

I had to go to work the next day, and the kids had to head back.  They made it home safe. It was a great visit. I will be down to visit them soon I hope. Cute girlfriend has reminded me that I owe her a trip to Disneyland...grin


  1. Wow!!! I love Disney Land. I miss my holidays over there. Those days were really very awesome.

    Kopi Luwak