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November 2019
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Vacation in Monterey

Mary and Craig got married in July, and invited us to spend a week with them at Asilomar to share in the wedding festivities.  We really enjoyed seeing friends from college, some of whom we’d not seen in 15 years!  We also met some of Craig’s friends from his high school days who were fascinating and friendly.

We landed at SFO on Wednesday and drove to Morgan Hill to see my cousin Betsey.  It turned out that the LeCounts were also visiting, so we had a short but fun visit and lunch, chatted a bit more with Betsey, then headed down the road to Pacific Grove for the wedding “retreat.” There were fun activities each day, as well as an activity room where we put together puzzles, played games and just relaxed.  We woke up early and ran along the beach, before meeting up with the rest of the crew to fly kites, view the sea lions and check out the lighthouse on Thursday morning. Other fun events were a beer and cheese tasting, Movie Night at a small local theater, Game Show Night, and a bonfire with s’mores.  There was also a fun afternoon of science that included non-Newtonian fluids, slime, making superballs, crushing cans, playing with dry ice (including making ice cream), and some key research into how much liquid disposable diapers can hold (almost a liter!).   The grand finale was Diet Coke +Mentos fireworks – amazingly the kids who each held a string managed to wait until the count of 3 to pull the string and drop the Mentos into the 2L bottles to make a pretty cool fountain!

Two highlights were the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where we saw jellyfish, “pregnant” sea dragons, the otter feeding, and the big ocean tank feeding.  I liked the touch tanks too.  The other highlight was the whale watch.  While the water was a bit choppier than expected, Brian and I both managed to hold onto our breakfasts and enjoy amazing sightings of blue whales and hump-back whales.  Both types of whales could be sighted by looking for their blows, then we could see their shiny backs and dorsal fins when they dove.  We also saw a good number of flukes on the humpbacks. There were lots of cool shore birds too, including some brown pelicans who hung out near the boat.  On the way back to the harbor we saw a pod of dolphins, plus some otter and sea lions in the harbor.

In addition to the planned activities, we also did a little sight seeing on our own.  We walked along Cannery Row, did plenty of jogging along the coast and bike trail, and had a lovely and delicious date night dinner at Bistro Moulin (duck confit – yum!).

We did a little hiking with the group at Point Lobos before saying goodbye and heading back up to the city to see our friends Wayne and Santina, who just moved into their new home.  Their boys are growing up fast, and are both very athletic!  Wednesday we headed to the airport for the flight home, relaxed and cool from our wonderful week in California.

The wedding ceremony itself was held on the beach at Asilomar. We sat with our friend from college, Brenton, and his wife, Kat. The kids all got to carry the flower arrangements down the aisle and hang them at the end of the rows of seating. Then Mary and Craig entered for a fun, memorable ceremony.

One of the themes of the weekend was games and most of the people invited had spent a great deal of time playing games with Mary and Craig over the years. The reception seating” namecards” were Scrabble racks and letters. The goal was to make the highest scoring word with the letters at your table. After the kids table won with ‘jazzy’ and then scored with ‘razzamatazz’ (which they made after raiding other tables for letters), Brian had some fun. Seriously, having kids named Liz, Zoe, and Josie at one table was too much for the adults to overcome.

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