Thursday, June 17, 2010

{ San Diego }

In which I describe the Events of my most recent Educational Pursuits, Air Travel, Long-Distance Marriage, and Geology

If, like me, you work in a medical field, you know that you have to get continuing medical education (CME) credits to keep your registry/license current. Registered sonographers have to acquire 30 CMEs every three years to stay registered. The company I work for is wonderful in that they pay for one out-of-state educational conference for every three-year period. I need CMEs this year, and thus I attended my first conference: The American Society of Echocardiography Scientific Sessions in San Diego.

{Mt. Rainier out the airplane window--we flew right by Mt. St. Helens too, but I didn't get a photo of her}

{My hotel room. Pretty snazzy. I slept in one bed the first two nights, the other the last two nights. Mike says that is weird.}

I am super lucky for several reasons: 1. I'd never stay in the Marriott on my own dime, but it was the official hotel for the conference, and my employer picked up the tab. I could totally get used to someone making my bed and cleaning my bathroom every day and leaving me brand new, deliciously-scented little bottles of conditioner, shampoo, and lotion daily! 2. I was assigned a corner room on the 20th floor, so the east and north walls were basically just windows. Incredible, almost wraparound views! 3. Being next door to the San Diego Convention Center meant I only had to walk 5 minutes to get to all the sessions. Pretty sweet, especially since my feet were totally in shock that I wasn't wearing Danskos. Everything gave me blisters: heels, wedges, even ballet flats. My poor feet have been totally spoiled by almost 5 years of Danskos!

{View of the Convention Center from my room, looking mostly south and eastish. It's gi-nooooooooooooooooor-mous!}

{Another look out my windows. See the trolley tracks? And the train tracks next to them?}
{I was in the south tower of the Marriott. This is my view looking--you guessed it--north at the NORTH TOWER!}

The Marriott is also right next to Seaport Village, a quaint-but-kitschy 14-acre outdoor shopping area. I found an antique carousel and fell instantly in love.

I was snapping pictures like crazy and totally feeling like a kid, watching the glee of the children on the carousel and hearing the carnival music. "I'm going to come back some night and ride the carousel," I says, says I. "Heck, why not ride it tonight?" I says. "I will!" says I. And so I did.
{End weird pirate accent. I have no idea why I started talking pirate in my head, or why it came out this way.}

{Incredibly unflattering self-portrait}

The conference itself was information overload in many ways. I didn't realize how long it's been since I've sat in classes all day--it was really hard to do! And I missed Mike like the dickens. Seriously, it was miserable. The longest we'd been apart prior to this was two nights. Call me a pansy, but I was the loneliest thing for four and a half days!

{Walking path along Seaport Village}

I'm not the kind of person who likes to go adventuring by herself. I also didn't have a car. The one afternoon I traipsed to the Gaslamp Quarter by myself, there were tons of cute shops I wanted to visit....but there was also crazy Petco Stadium traffic, tons of people, and a general vibe of "this probably isn't the smartest place for a girl to wander around by herself in the evening." Again, I'm probably a pansy, but cruising the hip, urban city center of the seventh largest city in the USA by myself after a day of brain overload...just not happenin'. So as far as sightseeing and vacationing go--I didn't do much!

This restaurant totally reminds me of Aunt Josephine's house from "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events." I was just enchanted by the look of it. The food? Not so great.

{View of Coronado Island from my table}

There were several horses and carriages like this, tromping about the Seaport Village/Embarcadero Park South region. The little girl in me was delighted to see something so Cinderella-esque. The name of the company is prominently displayed on the back of each carriage: Cinderella Carriage Company. Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks fairy tales when I see globular-white-wrought-iron-on-wheels being pulled by a horse.

{The south tower is on the right in this photo}

I have to tell you: I love the show "Dirty Jobs." It is flat-out hilarious and often disgusting. {Trust me, if you work in medicine, the line between these two becomes dangerously thin! But I loved it pre-sonography, so go figure.} Mike and I don't have a TV, and the only two shows I miss are "Dirty Jobs" and "What Not To Wear." I have valiantly searched the internet for full episodes of "Dirty Jobs," to no avail. My husband, the manliest of all nerds, hasn't even been able to find more than clips lasting a couple minutes. The Marriott doesn't have many channels, but when I realized the Discovery Channel is one of them, I was overjoyed. Surely there would be an episode of "Dirty Jobs" at some point during my 4.5 day stay in the Land of Television! Surely!

We've already established that I'm an old soul {or maybe just weird!} who doesn't take appropriate advantage of marvelous cultural opportunities {a.k.a. you may never be in San Diego again!!}, so it will probably not surprise you to hear that when I learned there was going to be a special "best of" episode of "Dirty Jobs" at 9pm on Monday night, I planned my entire evening around that program. I made sure I was all dinnered out and packed and laid out for Tuesday in plenty of time. The conference ended on Tuesday at 3pm, so before going to the first session at 8am I needed to check out of the hotel since I was flying home Tuesday night.
I had a grand old time, knitting away on a baby blanket for a friend whose shower is next week, watching Mike Rowe take a crack at all kinds of gross jobs that keep America running. I really wasn't prepared for the entire room to start shaking back and forth, halfway through the program. I had experienced the Nisqually earthquake and a couple tiny quakes in my nine years in Washington.
But an earthquake?
At night?
While I'm alone?
In San Diego?
On the twentieth flippin' floor?!
Not okay!!!
I didn't freak out, but I was really scared and I had no idea what to do. Get in a door frame or under a table, yeah yeah yeah. But are the rules different when you are on the 20th story? In a corner room? When you know absolutely no one here? I didn't know. I ran to my door, poked my head out into the hallway, and eventually {it seemed like an eternity} an Indian lady who was maybe 30 and wearing a sari threw open her door.
Me: "Is it an earthquake?" {Like, duh. Does the Marriott routinely sway to and fro on Monday nights, and I just didn't know about it?}
She: "I think so!"
Me: "So what do we do?"
She: "I don't know!"
Me: "Should we go downstairs?"
She: "I think so!"
I was so glad I hadn't put on my pajamas yet. I grabbed my purse and flip flops and literally catapulted myself down the nearest stairway. I'm pretty sure that by the time we finished our little conversation, the earthquake had ended. I had visions of being trapped alone in my room if the building collapsed; at least if it collapsed while I was in the stairwell, there was the chance that I'd be trapped with other people. I met a group of ladies {in their jammies!} at the 14th floor, and by the time we got to the lobby, it was all over. There were fire trucks in the roundabout, the manager was announcing over the intercom that the building would not be evacuated, all the elevator alarms were screeching and there were quite a few discombobulated people. I called Mike and my mom to tell them what had happened and that I was okay, and ended up milling around the lobby for about an hour before heading back up to my room. I was pretty shaken, and as if I hadn't wanted to go home already, I could hardly stand the thought of another 24 hours before being home.
And I missed the last half of "Dirty Jobs." It was a crying shame.

{The entire 2.5-hour flight, San Diego to Seattle, was flying into the sunset. It was beautiful.}
I used to be the most enthusiastic traveler you've ever seen. From childhood to the present day, I've dreamed of the faraway places I want to visit. I love to fly, explore new places, and have adventures. The key is that I love to do these things with someone else. I just don't like doing these things by myself. I realized, after a few days of being baffled by how homesick I was, that all my travels thus far have involved a companion. Coupled with the fact that this is the longest I've been separated from Mike, I guess it's no surprise that I was glad to see it end.
That, and getting only half an episode of "Dirty Jobs" is totally, totally unfair.

{ Mike Dear }

Do you remember the Disney cartoon "Lady and the Tramp"? As a child, I must've watched it dozens of times. I loved Lady, though those wicked Siamese cats and the slut-mutt in the pound who had a crush on the tramp kind of scared me. {Slut-mutt!! Well, I never! Who comes up with these kinds of phrases to describe innocent childrens' movies? Certainly not me...} Anyhow, another of the things I love about "Lady and the Tramp" is the interaction of Lady's human owners. A young couple in love, we never see their faces, but they always refer to each other as Jim Dear and Darling. I thought that was so romantic. I dreamed of my husband calling me Darling.

Well, I don't refer to my husband exclusively as Mike Dear, he doesn't usually call me Darling {unless Babe is the 21st-century equivalent}, and we haven't got a Cocker Spaniel puppy. But he definitely makes my heart go pitter-patter in a most undignified manner. Earlier this week while I was in San Diego, I scrolled through the photos on my camera and found so many good photos of my husband, it made me miss him more than I already did. As if that's possible. Take a peek for yourself:

See? Even while waiting for the Triple XXX burger of his dreams, he's happy. Content. Dreamy. *sigh*
I kid you not: His profile literally gives me a lump in my throat, and sometimes my heart skips a beat too. I had the biggest crush on Mike from the first time I saw him. It was awfully inconvenient 'til we started dating: I'd practically fall over at group events when I looked at him.
I call this Thoughtful Entrepreneur Pose.
{Why am I writing a blog post and not sitting on his lap right now? Why?}

Those eyes. Oh, those blue, blue eyes. I have married a handsome man, yes indeedy I have!
He is also a very mischevious man. This is the grin reserved for pranks and goofiness and all manner of highfalutin' shenanigans.
{Seriously...where IS he? Mike? Babe?}

Somehow, on my birthday, Mike ended up wearing the wig and margarita glasses.
He is still so stinkin' hot.

I've gotta go find him!