I’m spending the week visiting my mom in Moline. The weather was very nice on Wednesday. So after visiting an Asian grocery store in East Moline, we stopped by Ben Butterworth Park by the Mississippi River. Here’s a picture.
One evening, my mom fixed me a “Field Roast” from the Grain Meat Company. It’s made from wheat gluten. The texture isn’t the same as real meat but it was still tasty and enjoyable.
Jeri and I celebrated her birthday by going to Disneyland. We started by having lunch at Vegan Pizza (in Garden Grove close to Disneyland). I had their Philly Cheese steak pizza (fake steak, onions, and bell peppers) and Jeri had their Hawaiian Pizza (fake ham, pineapple, and jalapeños).
Here we are getting some photos in California Adventure.
Star Wars is the new “big thing” at Disneyland now. We saw “Star Wars: Path of the Jedi” which is a 10-minute 4-D show that starts from the beginning and ends with a peak at the new Star Wars movie that is coming out next week, “The Force Awakens.” We then went to the Star Wars Launch Bay which had a short video commentary about the upcoming movie plus lots of visuals.
We did Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We also got some PhotoPass pictures taken.
Since we had plenty of time until our Star Tours FastPass, we decided to wait the 65 minutes to new Hyperspace Mountain (formerly Space Mountain). The ride was cleverly converted into a Star Wars theme ride. We then did the Star Tours (3-D motion ride) that featured the new “The Force Awakens” movie. By now, we’re getting hungry so we head to California Adventure. We stopped at Starbucks, ordered a few items, plus ate some of the snacks that we brought.
We saw the 4-D preview for the latest Pixar movie “The Good Dinosaur.” We thoroughly enjoyed it. When we left the theater, a light drizzle had begun. We walked over to Paradise Pier where we waited about 10 minutes to the start of the World of Color show “Winter Dreams.” Even though we were cool and wet, we enjoyed the amazing sights and sounds.
Yesterday, Lizzie and I had lunch together (at a vegan restaurant, of course). She had Lemon Grass Chicken and I had Tofu with Vegetables. Both were very good. We also had their Soy BBQ Pork Roll (summer rolls) as an appetizer. Afterwards we went to Hobby Lobby so that she could pick up some more supplies.
Everyone in our family has an annual pass to Disneyland. Of course, we bought the lowest price passes which means that we are blocked out quite a few days (like all weekends, holidays, spring break, Christmas break, and summer).
Our summer blockout starts this Friday. So Joanna and I decided that we needed to get our money’s worth and have some fun. So we headed straight to Disneyland after work. Others in the family opted to go later in the week early in the morning.
We did Toy Story Midway Mania three times. The wait times weren’t bad…only about 25 to 30 minutes each time. Although we almost didn’t get in line the last time because the posted wait time was 60 minutes; it was half that. Although we didn’t get great scores (ranging from 170K to 200K), we had fun. We were always the highest in our vehicle…Joanna even accomplished that once!
We did the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Here’s a picture. Also notice the people in the front on the left. What a great job of looking oblivious to the ride! LOL
We did a favorite of mine, Soarin’ Over California, which had been closed for remodeling.
We ended our day back in Disneyland (as opposed to California Adventure). Our Fast Pass for Star Tours was 8:15 PM to 9:15 PM. Because of the new night-time parade, Disneyland was packed! We ended up getting stuck in foot traffic. Although I must admit that I felt kind of special since I was the rebel spy on the Star Tours mission.
My dad really enjoyed working with computers. His first personal computers included the Radio Shack TRS-80 (late 1970’s) and the Epson HX-20 (early 1980s). He later got a “portable” (AKA a “luggable”) Compaq computer. (We still have these computers.)
Over the years, he accumulated a *lot* of computers, related equipment, software and supplies. He had an office downstairs where he enjoyed working. However a few years ago after his health started to decline, he was no longer able to spend time downstairs. So he moved a computer upstairs. Eventually this downstairs office turned into a cluttered mess.
Last Saturday, I flew back to Moline, Illinois with a goal to help my mom clean up the office downstairs. Although it was almost overwhelming at first, I eventually got it done. As they say “Inch by inch the job’s a cinch.” I went through all of the piles, boxes, notebooks, files, etc. I kept items (like pictures and special memorabilia) that had special value.
A lot of stuff was thrown out. We filled two and a half trash containers…thanks to some neighbors plus the garbage was picked up mid-week. We made a trip to the eWaste site in Davenport. We made another trip to the Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore to donate some building supplies as well as my dad’s wheelchair, walker, etc. And we made three trips to Salvation Army. We completely filled her recycling container with paper and cardboard.
Here is a BEFORE picture that was actually taken after I had started some cleaning.
On Tuesday, March 31st, 2015, Joanna and I went out for lunch to a place close to the office. Because I had signed up for the restaurant’s reward card, they gave me a $10 credit for my birthday (that had to be used within 10 days of my birthday). The restaurant’s entire menu is vegan!
Initially we were going to sit inside but the A/C was turned up too high. So we moved; but when we sat down in a window booth, the sun was too hot. So we opted for a shady spot outside. Enjoying lunch outside on a beautiful day (without any bugs) makes the soul feel happy.
Joanna got the Chicken Run Ranch Burger (like a chicken burger). I got the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger (with fake meats along with cheese made from cashews). Plus we ordered the Native Nachos which had corn, black beans, taco “meat”, Chipotle sauce, chips and “cheese.” The nachos were filling. Because we each order a side and a drink (Joanna had the daily special which came with a free drink), we each got a free dessert.
I had the chocolate parfait (sorry, we forgot to take a picture). It featured chocolate pudding (probably made from tofu) plus chunks of chocolate brownie that had chocolate chips and was topped with slivered almonds. Wow! It was good!
A few years ago, I heard Chuck Swindoll tell a story about Thomas Carlyle who was a Scottish writer back in the 1800s. He was so busy with life that he missed out spending time with his wife during her latter years while she was dying.
I found the account here. Just in case that web page goes away some day, I’ve copied it below.
Thomas Carlyle lived from 1795 until 1881. He was a Scot essayist and historian. During his lifetime he became one of the world’s greatest writers. But he was a human and humans make mistakes.
On October 17, 1826, Carlyle married his secretary Jane Welsh. She was an intelligent, attractive and somewhat temperamental daughter of a well-to-do doctor. They had their quarrels and misunderstandings, but still loved each other dearly.
After their marriage, Jane continued to serve as his secretary. But, after several years of marriage, Jane became ill. Being a hard worker, Carlyle became so absorbed in his writings that he let Jane continue working for several weeks after she became ill. She had cancer, and though it was one of the slow growing kind, she finally became confined to her bed. Although Carlyle loved her dearly, he very seldom found time to stay with her long. He was busy with his work.
When Jane died they carried her to the cemetery for the service. The day was a miserable day. It was raining hard and the mud was deep. Following the funeral Carlyle went back to his home. He was taking it pretty hard. He went up the stairs to Jane’s room and sat down in the chair next to her bed. He sat there thinking about how little time he had spent with her and wishing so much he had a chance to do it differently. Noticing her diary on a table beside the bed, he picked it up and began to read it. Suddenly he seemed shocked. He saw it. There, on one page, she had written a single line. “Yesterday he spent an hour with me and it was like heaven; I love him so.”
Something dawned on him that he had not noticed before. He had been too busy to notice that he meant so much to her. He thought of all the times he had gone about his work without thinking about and noticing her. Then Carlyle turned the page in the diary. There he noticed she had written some words that broke his heart. “I have listened all day to hear his steps in the hall, but now it is late and I guess he won’t come today.”
Carlyle read a little more in the book. Then he threw it down and ran out of the house. Some of his friends found him at the grave, his face buried in the mud. His eyes were red from weeping. Tears continued to roll down his cheeks. He kept repeating over and over again, “If I had only known, if I had only known.” But it was too late for Carlyle. She was dead.
After Jane’s death, Carlyle made little attempt to write again. The historians say he lived another 15 years, “weary, bored and a partial recluse.” I share the story with in the hope that you will not make the same mistake. While our loved ones must have the money we make to live, it is the love we have that they really want. Give it now before it is too late.
We woke up around 7:45 AM this morning. Normally that would be late except that we went to bed around 12:30 AM. The night before, Jeri and I decided that we’d go out for coffee (for her) in the morning.
So after cleaning up and getting our stuff mostly packed, we finally left the house a bit before 10 AM. We knew that we had an 11:00 AM deadline to check out of the place.
We wandered around until we asked someone for help; he pointed us to a Starbucks about a block or two away. So we had two scones and Jeri got a cup of coffee. The Starbucks was located at the end of the trolley line. Jeri had an orange/cranberry scone and coffee; I just had a blueberry scone.
Here we are next to the sign for Fisherman’s Wharf.
After enjoying our breakfast, we went back to our place and grabbed our stuff. Here is the inside of the apartment.
Here is the outside; it was interesting living in San Francisco just a few blocks from the wharf. However the next time that we come, we will stay in a hotel room so we can stay warm.
We drove down Highway 1 along the Pacific coast as we headed to Santa Cruz. We planned to have lunch in Capitola at Dharma’s Restaurant–a vegetarian/vegan place that we enjoyed when we lived in the area about seven years ago.
The drive was pretty–seeing waves, cliffs, lighthouses. Perhaps due to the beautiful weather (sunny, calm, temps around 70 F), there were lots of people. A heavy stream of cars flowed north from Santa Cruz towards Half Moon Bay Fortunately we were southbound. When we got to Santa Cruz, traffic was bumper-to-bumper in both directions.
Around 2 PM, we arrived at Dharma’s and ordered our meals. When they arrived, we had forgotten how huge the servings were. Jeri had the Szechuan Tofu with Vegan Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake; I had the Tempeh Rueben with Vegan Chocolate Cake. We enjoyed it greatly.
Following the meal, we drove over the mountain on Highway 17 to the San Jose airport. The one-hour, non-stop flight to John Wayne airport was perfect. One of the flight attendents enjoyed his opportunity to play stand-up comedian.
Because we were behind schedule, we didn’t get to eat at the vegan restaurant that we were considering for lunch called Seed and Salt. Instead we ate bars during our bike ride.
We headed back to our apartment to clean up and change. Miriam, the owner of the place where we were staying, told us a “trick” to getting free parking. We parked at Safeway and made a purchase (we got a bag of cookies) to get our parking ticket validated.
After changing clothes, wee set out to meet up with Rob and Chris in preparation of our business-related meeting with Jason. Initially we set out to the Moscone Convention Center but Rob later told us to meet at Holiday Inn at Fisherman’s Wharf. (Had we known that at the beginning, we could have just walked and saved ourselves $29 in parking fees. Oh, well.)
We all met up in the Holiday Inn lobby. We hadn’t seen Rob and Chris for quite a while. We met up with Jason and then walked down to Pier 39, the famous tourist trap. The streets are lined with shops filled with fun and interesting stuff. I had to take this picture for Lizzie.
Eventually Rob, Jason, and I sat down at Swiss Louis Italian & Seafood Restaurant. They ordered some drinks and we talked business for several hours. The time went well. Being able to meet in person was invaluable.
While we talked, the ladies wandered around Pier 39 looking at the many shops. Finally around 9 PM, we all met up. Jeri and I opted to go to a vegan restaurant for supper. (I had called to make sure that they were open late.) Rob and Chris decided to head home since they had a long drive ahead of them.
Here we are heading back to our car along the wharf. Notice Boudin Sourdough in the background on the right. They were making bread inside…just like at Disneyland.
We pull out the GPS and head to the Herbivore Restaurant. When we finally arrive, we circle a bit looking for a parking space. In San Francisco, there is parallel parking everywhere. Not finding any place to park, we call the restaurant. They tell us about a paid parking lot not too far away. So we park there (for $11).
After perusing the menu, I initially planned to get a vegan cheese steak sandwich. However talking with the server, the quinoa “meatloaf” with mashed potatoes and gravy sounded good. I should have stuck with my first choice.
Jeri got the Phillo Dough Pie filled with spinach, tofu, cheese, mushrooms, onions, capers, artichoke hearts with roasted red pepper sauce and sauteed greens.
I got the Quinoa Cake with roasted red pepper sauce, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy, sauteed greens and crostini.
Because they were closing at 10:30 PM, we didn’t have time to enjoy dessert there. We could have ordered something for take-out but that didn’t have the same appeal. Besides we already had chocolate/walnut cookies at home (from Safeway).
Finally we make it to the parking garage and walk back to our (still-chilly) place. By the time we are ready for bed, it is well past midnight.