I have never been to San Diego before. I am also very geo- graph- ically chal- lenged, so I wasn't even sure where it was until a few weeks ago when I showed the kids on the map. The trip there was gratefully uneventful. Aside from leaving at 4:30 in the morning and driving in the rain for two hours before having to drag my luggage through the ocean in the airport parking lot in sandals, I had no troubles checking in or finding planes. I took some pictures out of the plane to show the kids when I got home (can you say T-O-U-R-I-S-T??) I am always just amazed by the sights from the plane windows. We flew over the beautiful Rocky Mountains, as well as desert lands and canyons. San Diego had the most bizarre topography and vegetation that I have seen with my own eyes! But I sure fell in love with it while there!
When I arrived safely in my hotel I texted my friends and family to let them know, stating that I was sure we were not in Kansas anymore. Then I called Jeremy telling him that I couldn't believe that he let me go by myself to a place this big where I didn't know a SOUL!! He laughed and I regained control quickly! Sometime my naive-ness gets the best of my rational self! This was one of them!!
Actually, one of my dearest friends from high school lives there, and came up to meet me a couple of nights. She had me on her calender for the next week, so I was doubly glad that she made the effort to come and get me the first night. We went to the ocean and ate at a nice little restaurant right on the water. We could hear the ocean waves as we ate (the biggest sea scallops I have ever seen, and fresh calamari fixed in a sweet, chile sauce that makes my mouth water just thinking about it), and watched the surfers try to get upright on their boards. We also walked along the beach after dinner and found some seashells for me to wash up and bring home to the kids.
The conferences were GREAT!! I learned a ton of updated information and lots of new guidelines, tips, and techniques to add to my practice. The entire content was focused on caring for women over age 40 (sorry Mike, I know that counts you out--but we did have a lecture on skin cancers--which was a great refresher--so just in case :-0) I now need to spend some focused time going back over notes and calling several patients for whom I found new ideas for their treatment plans.Not only were the classes full of great speakers with great content and ideas, but it is SO exciting to be able to network with people who do the same thing I do; to find out how they practice and learn from their complex encounters, while sharing my own experiences!! Friday night the conference coordinators had set up an open air trolley tour of San Diego. It was just awesome!! For two hours we trolled (is that a word?) around getting great views and fun facts. It was a little difficult to take good pictures because the trolley didn't necessarily stop to see the cool stuff, he just talked about it on the way by. So many of my photos were snapped with my hand stuck out the bus! I was particularly impressed with the plantings (no surprise there) and thanks to Paul James and his gardening shows, I even knew what some of them were (and that WAS surprising!) The orange flower is a bird of paradise. I've seen them in lots of tropical plant catalogs, but have never been terribly impressed by them. . .until now!! They were EVERYWHERE!! And they were absolutely striking! I was telling Nicki how entralled by them I was when she came to get me Saturday night (because I had just walked up and snapped some pictures of them). She advised me that they were everywhere in the front of her house. . so many that they have been talking about removing them!! She offered to send me some; an offer I couldn't refuse!! I sure hope she does send me a root one of these days!
Check out these very cool naked trees (umm, that's what the driver told us their names were, not naked trees, but Naked trees). There were lots of these around the city. Their trunks were very intriguing, all twisted up like that!
There are over 100 types of palm trees there (says the trolley master). And some very cool types to boot. That was the main type of planting I saw.
There were also tons of succulent gardens. Instead of grass on the hills down from the overpasses and around the freeways, there seemed to grow some type of succulent that reminded me of hardy ice plant here. Never could get close enough to see it well!
Paul James grows agave in pots at his Oklahoma home, which never really thrilled me either. They are great, huge succulents that resemble what most of us know as aloe vera. The ones I saw were quite magnificent! Hmmmm. These Jacaranda trees caught my eyes even as we were landing in the airplane. The man sitting next to me on the plane told me what they were, and I promptly forgot until I saw them from the trolley again. They seem to be much like our flowering red bud trees--many yards contain them and they are a spectacular site! After the tour, we were dropped off in downtown San Diego for supper and shopping. We had some pretty authentic Mexican food which was fantastic!
Saturday evening, Nicki and her two daughters came after me again and we hauled some pizza to the beach. Tessa played in the water, running from the huge waves. We watched a beautiful sunset across the Pacific as well! The beach is a tremedous and stunning wonder!! As Nicki put it, "even though I see the ocean often, I just forget about how mighty it is to see it in person." All wonderful things aside, I FROZE my hoo-hoo off while there. The highs were in the high 50's to mid 60's while I was there (which I knew before going), but it just seemed so chilly there, even with a jacket. I told the shuttle driver Sunday morning that I was sure glad to be getting back to Kansas where the high that day was slated to be in the high 80's!! He just chuckled. Here's the souvenier I got for myself. . right out of Lowes in Wichita, Kansas!! I had looked at that small palm tree months ago while cruising Lowes and found myself sure hoping that there would still be one left when I returned from my trip!! As I admired the many different palm trees on our tour, I decided that the perfect thing to get myself would be some palms that I could grow in pots and bring in during the winter!! GENIUS!
Overall, my trip was a lot of fun and certainly memorable. I took away lots of knowledge and experiences to continue building myself both as a practitioner and as a person. The most important, life-changing thing I learned while there you ask?? Never, ever, EVER gulp a mountain dew with a late supper (just because you NEVER get to drink them at home, EVEN THOUGH your dear friend orders one, AND you think it sounds yummy) and expect that you will be able to sleep when you are done. . .even if you CLEARLY know that you must get up at 3:45 A. M. to catch your flight home. . .zzzzzzzzzzz