have a great {long} weekend!

This is one of the first photos I snapped after returning to Alabama... trees and grass never looked so good.  
{You can practically see the oxygen in the air!}  :)



After the brief stop in Carlsbad, I journeyed back down the coast on Sunday morning to Downtown San Diego.  My flight was leaving that afternoon, so I thought the best way to see all of San Diego that morning would be through a trolley tour.

I got on the trolley at the Maritime museum stop... there are several points throughout the city where you can get on and off, but I stayed on the whole time to see everything I could possibly squeeze in since time was limited.

The Star of India is docked at this location on the harbor... a magnificent ship to see.

See our trolley driver's name there?  Good Irish fellow, great story teller.

This is where I have to tell you that I didn't get many good shots from the trolley, because A) it was early in the morning and the fog was dominating the sky, and B) the glare off the trolley window hampered the view.  Sigh.

Both of the above photos were snapped in Balboa Park.  I would have loved to spend more time in this area!  There was a lot of culture to soak up within the park, including many museums and 32 international cottages.  Each cottage has an open house on Sunday afternoons to share their national customs and cuisine, which I thought was really neat.  

{Brian told us that Balboa Park is larger than Central Park and some other well-known city park I'm supposed to remember, combined, if that gives you an idea of how large this area is.}


The tour carried on through Old Town, shown here.  And then I ended up back at the harbor by The Star of India... only now the sun was showing off:

It was lunch time when I made it back to my starting point, so it only made sense to partake of some fresh, local seafood from the water by which I was standing!

I had a dining companion!

We enjoyed this view and our meal at the same time.  That's Coronado you see over there in the distance... the trolley tour made its way over there, and it might be one of the coolest places I've ever seen.  Wish I'd gotten photos!  Also, gasoline was $4.99 per gallon there.  Ouch.

There's a lot to be said for the peace that comes with looking out over a body of water, and I found myself doing that often during this San Diego weekend.  {OK, it's kind of hard not to do that when you are on the COAST, I get it.}  But all the water truly was a sight for sore eyes -- not to diminish the beauty of the mountainous desert.  It was just nice to have a change of scenery and a bit of relief from a difficult {and BLAZING HOT} situation.

You're a gem, San Diego.  Stay classy.

Funny side note: I made it to the airport in time for my afternoon flight back to Tucson, only to have to camp out there for 5 hours due to a mechanical delay.  In true Southwest form, though, they compensated us with travel vouchers for enduring such a long delay.  I'm OK with that, since I didn't pay for the flight, anyway!  I was just bummed that I could have spent more time downtown if I had known this earlier.  Oh, well!  It was still an awesome trip.



Well, getting back to my respite in San Diego...

After hanging out with the sea lions on Saturday morning, I made my way over to nearby Torrey Pines Golf Course.  I think it's safe to say this is one of - if not THE - most revered municipal courses in the country.  It was home to the 2008 US Open and has amazing views of the Pacific Ocean from most points on the course.

Before you get any wild notions that I teed it up and played 18 holes on this day, you should know that I was simply there to take in the beautiful landscape of these grounds... and to enjoy a good meal.

The Lodge, pictured here, is where you can stay on the grounds -- it has two dining establishments.

I chose the more casual Grill and enjoyed their signature 'Drugstore Burger'.  Deeee-licious.

I sat on the patio adjacent to the putting green.  You can believe in these blue skies... the weather was the quintessential offering of a San Diego day.  Barely 70 degrees and no humidity.  I sat here for a good two hours...

Coffee was on the docket, for sure.

This excursion to Torrey Pines was probably my favorite thing I did all weekend -- it was such a great atmosphere and most conducive to my agenda of relaxing.

After my time at the course, I headed north up the coast to Carlsbad where I would be staying for the night.  I did a little research earlier in the week and found out the Museum of Making Music is located here, so I decided to check it out.

 {Any Lawrence Welk fans in the house?!  Auf Wiedersehen!}

It was an interesting and thoughtful look at the evolution of music, and well... exactly how it's made.

I found my way to the hotel and enjoyed this view off the balcony as the evening set in...

I was still missing the South, but God was pretty quick to remind me through this scene that He was right there on the Pacific coast just as well and just as true.

My Sunday in downtown San Diego is coming up!


hey, ladies...

Have y'all seen the new Hide and Chic collection over at C Wonder?

Camo and safety orange have never looked better.  Pretty cute, right?

I think C Wonder is about to see a spike in sales from women all over the South... just in time for Fall.

Happy Friday.


California dreaming

{I'm typing this from my living room sofa in sweet home Alabama... never been happier to say that!}

Yes - I am physically home now.  It might take a bit longer to get here mentally, though. :)  And I'm not quite done posting about my time out West, so consider the blog still on Pacific time!

The one opportunity I did have to come back home during my exile assignment in Arizona, was the following weekend after the great flood in my condo.  Call me crazy, but coming home to no hot water and no kitchen floor didn't seem too appealing or restful.  Sooooo, I made the wise decision to high-tail it to San Diego for the weekend!  {This trip seems like a dream now, so I'm excited to document and re-live it through photos.}

Y'all.  The weather alone was worth the trip.  When I stepped off the plane in San Diego, I thought I was on another planet, having spent the previous 10 days in, you know... THE DESERT.

Thirty degree difference?  Don't mind if I do, California.

Since I'd just finished one particularly grueling phase of the Tucson project, my main objective on this weekend excursion was to be comfortable, relax, and enjoy the Pacific coast.  Since I'd never stepped foot in California prior to this time, just being there was enough of an adventure for me.  And because I didn't really start planning this getaway until mid-week, I didn't come up with an elaborate itinerary and try to pack a lot of activities into the weekend.   It was glorious not having a schedule.

The flight from Tucson to San Diego was only an hour, and thanks to my frequent work travels, my Southwest rapid rewards covered the flight.  Likewise, I had enough hotel rewards points to cover one night, so I decided to splurge on the other night and stay somewhere conducive to my main objectives above.

That's how I decided upon The Grande Colonial in La Jolla:

This is the oldest hotel in La Jolla, boasting a really interesting history... and it has been beautifully restored.

See what I mean...

And the view from my room made me forget pretty quickly the dreaded desert I'd just left behind...

I got to La Jolla on a late Friday afternoon, which was the perfect time to take a stroll on the streets lined with shops all around the hotel and stop in for a gelato treat...

Grapefruit... yum!

After window-shopping and taking in the awesome breeze for a while, I decided to take this relaxing business to the next level.  So, I headed back to my room and brewed some coffee...

And when I nestled in and turned on the TV, guess who was hanging out there?

Oh, hey, Coach Taylor.  Only my favorite show of ALL TIME!
This was more than I could have ever asked for. :)

After a great night's sleep, I got up the next morning and took a walk along the boardwalk just a street down from the hotel.

This guy's got the right idea, don't you think?  Good call on how to spend your morning.

These sea lions were just hanging out on the beach -- I'd never seen one before this morning.  {You can also see them beyond the rocks from the other side in the photo above the dude painting...}

This particular sea lion I related to the most.  {She just looks deceased... I promise, she was sighing and wallowing around!}  When I saw her, I thought, 'I know EXACTLY how you feel, girl.' :)  

Here's to relaxing and exploring new territory!

I'll be back with more highlights from my weekend in Cali.


roller coaster

Well, this installation I'm currently working on continues to provide many highs and lows.  

The highs lie mainly in the beautiful scenery of the mountainous West and in its sizzling temperatures {pun absolutely intended}.  The lows are a daily battle made up of our property being situated at a busy downtown junction, non-operating elevators in multi-level buildings, & not being able to install furniture because there's no floor to put it on... you know, minor details.  

{I don't mean to sound grumbly, but 20+ days away from home will do that to a girl.}

Let's bring this story alive with photos, what say ye?

Don't let this beautiful blue sky fool you... it makes for a great backdrop for the Arizona & US flags, but my retinas were burning when I snapped this photo!  Dry heat, right?

I know, I know... cars will register an inaccurate temperature on the hottest days even in the South, but this was taken an hour into my initial drive to Tucson from Phoenix with the A/C going full blast.  IT'S HOT.

But you kind of forget how hot it is when you run across the Creator's majesty like this.

Since this project is still very much a construction site, these are part of my wardrobe every day at work.  Extra fun in 100+ degree temperatures!

This is a Sunday morning on the site... one of the many furniture trucks waiting to be unloaded.  Working on the weekend normally would not be ideal, but it's kind of awesome here when you don't have to compete for space with the subcontractors that would normally be on site on a weekday.  {And you're not getting 500 phone calls on the weekend, either... less distraction!}

Cool rooftop shot of Building 2 from Building 1... signage in place.

Palm trees show up on a huge tractor trailer, and you think 'This is a really neat project...'

Then you remember that when your crew tried to install furniture earlier in the building, there were rolls of carpet & kitchen appliances all up in their way...

And you go outside again and see your crew's truck & trailer ready to haul their cardboard trash {all of which they carried up/down 6 flights of stairs because, well... the elevators}, across the busy city street to the only space big enough for dumpsters.  Commence stress.

This is when you take a time-out and hit up the QT.  Are you guys familiar with Quik-Trip stores?  They are only in 11 states, and we don't have them in Alabama, sadly.  These are the biggest, nicest convenience stores I've ever stepped foot in... and they have fountains upon fountains upon fountains of soda, tea, slushes, you name it.

Behold, the wall of frozen slushes!  I know this must be a glimpse of Heaven.

The most incredible part:  the Big Q costs .75 cents!  That is not a typo. 

So, back to work... and you watch the crew unload 456 mattresses.  These are compressed in bundles of 45 mattresses each and shipped in a container.  Can you believe there are that many mattresses on this pallet? They look like pieces of paper when the straps are first cut, but they retain their shape in no time and are legitimate, fully-functioning mattresses. :)  {You can see in the above photo where they've already snipped the straps on one bundle and they are starting to expand.}

Things are looking up again... you remember the cool signage around the property.

Then you get a phone call from home, only to find out that your water heater apparently flooded overnight and did some significant damage to the condo below yours that's occupied by new neighbors you haven't even met yet because you've been traveling all summer.  Welcome to the 'hood, guys!  

This is where I sincerely get to say that I have the best brother & sister-in-law... they helped me in every facet of this nightmare since we live in the same town and well, I was not there.  And I have really great existing neighbors who alerted them to what was going on from the very start.  So, my family got to deal with all of this for me, taking photos and making sure my place is secure.  This photo was taken during the drying-out process after they ripped up the damaged floor.  I now have a new water heater and brand new tile in my kitchen that I can't wait to get home to!

After a long day at the job site, you get back to the hotel and management has decided to move you to another room since the toilet in your existing one is basically non-functioning... and when you get to said new room, they have this swagtastic gift basket waiting on you, apologizing for any "inconvenience" this may have caused.  Scoooore!  {I've lived off this thing for 2 weeks -- it  is enormous, if you can't tell.}

And guess what else?  That's right... this move means automatic sheet-changin' day!  {The best part is that this comes every 3 days in the hotel... and someone else does it for you.  Small victories, guys.}

So, you wake up the next day... and there's another one of those amazing sunrises.  This day will not defeat you.

You try really hard to be positive at the site.  But after walking through room after room where you've installed furniture, and it's still a dirty mess with construction materials and dust everywhere {with no A/C working... in AUGUST in ARIZONA}, you start plotting where your happy place is going to be after you finish work this day...

You end up going to the book store and spend a couple of hours combing the aisles and just being happy among books, when you spot what you are convinced to be the absolutely perfect book cover in graphics and color and font alike... I don't know anything about this book, but that cover is DIVINE in every way to me.  {or maybe the heat really is eating away at my brain...}

The day folds just as beautifully as it started by He who is before all things and in whom all things hold together.  And you actually catch yourself thinking 'After all... tomorrow is another day' in true Scarlett O'Hara style, because let's face it -- everyone out here in the West laughs at the way you speak in that accent and thinks you stepped straight out of Tara, anyway.  {But you get the last laugh when they keep saying how this is their most humid time of year, a big 12% humidity today, and you think about everyone at home sweltering in no less than 85% humidity... sure thing, Westies!}

It's truly a good thing that "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." {Lamentations 3:22-23}