Weekends are for adventures

Space Shuttle Discovery launched this morning! I opted not to wake up at 3:20 am PDT to watch it live. All in all, a good start to the week. Here to counter that, however, is the cloudy gloom covering San Diego today. Rumor has it that weather is more extreme in other, more distant lands on this Monday morning? Surely not.

Your undoubtedly burning question: what have I been up to?

Well. Last week was apparently spring break. It did feel like spring, so San Diego may have a point for that, but it did not feel like a break, so thanks for playing better luck next time. I was hoping to steal away with Mike on Thursday night to go spend two nights somewhere (where? he still won’t tell me… saving the surprise for another time, I guess) but a scheduling conflict came up so it was not to be. Instead, I spent my days at school, switching between revising my research paper and doing homework and pretending to do said productive things. Campus was completely dead, which was both relieving and somewhat creepy. So that was boring, but I did get some work done.

Oh, I’m defending my master’s “thesis” on April 26, by the way. (Quotes because I’m doing the research paper option, not the official thesis option, but it’s the same as far as you’re concerned.) I decided it made sense to get the work done now so that if (when?) NMSU or UIUC sees fit to accept me into their PhD program I will be nominally done with my master’s degree by the summer and can choose the best way to spend that time. Those are the two schools that remain so keep those fingers crossed.

Anyway, onto my weekend, which is much more exciting than my lack-of-future plans: beginning with Saturday! Mike had some kind of surprise planned for 5pm, followed by dinner out somewhere, followed by the Easter Vigil service at 8pm. (Naturally I woke up Saturday morning with some serious lower back pain for no apparent reason. It has been steadily improving, but still leaves me wondering what the heck I did.) I decided to tack on the Hubble IMAX 3D film at 3pm at the science center. But being the lazy bums we are, we failed to account for everybody and their five children and their two cars parking within a one mile radius of the science center on a Saturday afternoon. Mmmm. We got some groceries instead.

Around 4:30, Mike handed me his iPhone with directions loaded to help navigate us to our surprise 5pm event location. One problem: when handed an iPhone, I poke it. (This phenomenon has been dubbed by me as “pokafon.”) So of course I zoomed in to our destination on the Google Maps app and saw that it was a spa! Turns out he had scheduled a one hour couple’s massage for us, which was a lovely and relaxing surprise, especially on a day that my back decided to hate me. Next up was dinner, which we made simple by going to a restaurant across from the cathedral. I had been nonplussed by their Sunday brunch but found their bar/dinner experience quite redeeming. We arrived at the cathedral in plenty of time for the Easter Vigil service – another first for us. And what a service!! It ran for a full 2 1/2 hours, so it is not for the faint of heart. It is essentially two services smashed together: a long set of readings and sung responses with baptisms and confirmations all done in candlelight, then they turn on the lights and we celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter in full splendor (smells, bells, music, you name it!). And if all that wasn’t enough, there was a champagne reception afterward. Alleluia! Happy Easter indeed.

On Easter Day proper, we skipped the crowds at church and headed out to lunch for some chicken strips. Definitely the first thing I wanted to eat after a fully vegetarian Lent – funny, yes, but true. Mike had planned for us to hike around the San Elijo Lagoon north of San Diego, and after spending an hour or so there we decided to hit up the Wild Animal Park (since we’re zoo members, we get in for free). Important discovery: “mini melts” are a poor substitute for dippin dots. Live and learn. We also completely missed the earthquake in the afternoon. How boring. But let me tell you, it was the perfect day for the Wild Animal Park: not crowded, not too hot, and not expensive. We only spent $6 to park, $4 for “mini melts,” and another $4 for actual ice cream after that fiasco. We also discovered a somewhat off-the-beaten-path corner of the park that boasts a forested area with trails that screams of the Pacific Northwest situated next to a native desert landscape area, also with trails. Win.

So that’s the latest. I should add that in late March we ventured to another hiking spot with a group from church – the Palm Canyon Trail in Anza Borrego Desert State Park. It’s about a two hour drive to the town of Borrego Springs and the trailhead is near there. That walk was a bit too warm for me, even though it wasn’t nearly as hot as it can be in the summer. We still had a great time and I found my new favorite desert plant: the sproinglie. (Okay, so I made up the name.) I leave you with a picture of said plant.