Okay I promised you the Jamestowne Settlement, Williamsburg, and more about Washington DC, but as you can see again my efforts have been thwarted by my blog writing time deficient life. So on I go, onto the next attempt at planning a family trip.
The kids had been bugging us for a while now to go back to Disney World. The last time we went , we took my oldest daughter, now in tenth grade, out of third grade for a week to enjoy a less crowded time in the park. My 11 year old son was five the last time we went, which actually was his third
time, but evenso, he barely remembers anything about our vacations there.
The problem lies in when to go. There is no way I am going to go across the country in the middle of the summer and fight crowds and heat and there is also no way that we can take the kids out of school for a week anymore. So February break was the option. I told the kids that this was an expensive trip and that there would be no skiing this year. They said 'fine.' That was the end of the discussion.
A trip to Disney World requires a lot of planning and a lot of advanced reservation. The hottest tickets in town fill up 180 days in advance. We are today about four months from the start date of our week long vacation and so far I have already experienced some shut down. So let's get to planning!!
Monday, October 19, 2015
Sunday, August 23, 2015
My family and I spent the last six nights of our two week vacation in our nation's capitol, Washington DC. I had not been to this area since I was nine, so most of my memories are muddled at best, some jogged by old grainy photos taken on lousy cameras of my chubby self with a Dorothy Hamill haircut, my scrawny sister, and my parents dressed like Mike and Carol Brady.
Friday, June 12, 2015
There are plenty of U-Pick Farms within an hours drive of Santa Clara County. Information about all local U-Pick farms can be found on one website, pickyourown.org. Most are located over the mountains in the Watsonville area. Fruit availability is very seasonal I hear, though I have never tried to go any time but early June, when berries, berries, berries--are the order of the day! Even so, every year the seasons are different, and "specific berry availability" can be limited to a very narrow window of days to weeks. As a matter of fact, I saw one farm advertise that boysenberry picking was going to be unavailable this year! Hours and open days vary, so it is important to check the farms websites to get the details. And remember, these are farmers, not techies, so farm websites can tend to be a little simple, short on details, and even out of date.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Everyone who reads this blog knows I love the San Francisco Giants. I have been an on and off fan
since I was ten years old, when I would listen to each and every game on an Oscar the Grouch AM radio on KNBR 680. The radio broadcast was listed in the "Sporting Green" of the San Francisco Chronicle delivered to my parents' doorstep, and if I was lucky, the game might be broadcast on television on KTVU Channel 2, and if I was VERY lucky, I might be around to watch it, as there were no DVR's when I was ten.
If you wanted to go to Candlestick Park then and watch the Giants you could go for under 20 dollars, and this would get you a lower level seat. But, my readers, the Giants sucked then. They really did. In 1985 they lost 100 games and finished 33 games out of first place. Cripes! It wasn't until 1987 that the SF Giants finished in first place in the National League West, winning 90 games and reaching 1.9 million in attendance at Candlestick, which is still only about 55% of last year's attendance at AT&T, a considerably smaller ballpark. There have been some lame years since then, but in general the Giants have been contenders. They have moved into their own ballpark and have three World Series Championships. The only seat under 20$ now is standing room only, and that is not for a day game against the Dodgers, in that case you will pay 30$..to stand.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Another drought year had fallen upon the state of California, and again my GoFamily packed up our minivan and made the 9 hour drive to "fairer snows," the city of Bend and Mount Bachelor Ski Area.
The drive to Bend is not an easy one. We left our home in San Jose at precisely 536 AM and pulled into Bend at about 245 PM. Though the drive takes you by majestic mountains and thorough forested lands, most of the points of interest are a variety of rest areas, all of which look exactly the same, and forlorn boarded up small towns..so an interesting collection of movies, books and other occupations is a must. Also the last portion of the drive is two lanes and is shared with 18 wheelers coming at you from the opposite direction, so driving that portion in the daylight is the best choice.
Monday, February 2, 2015
|Ready for action|
We've experienced it all--mini-golf, inflatables, trampolines, bowling, laser tag, kids' kitchen, ceramic painting, you name it. Every year, and at every age, there seems to be the "it" thing that everyone's doing for their birthday. Right now, it's paintball. This is what my daughter wanted to do for her 15th birthday party, and as we hadn't been able to plan a party for her in several years, into paintball planning mode I went.
Paintball, by Wikipedia definition, is a sport in which players compete, in teams or individually, to eliminate opponents by tagging them with capsules containing water-soluble dye and featuring a gelatin outer shell (referred to as paintballs) propelled from a device called a paintball marker (commonly referred to as a paintball gun). It's not like there are paintball places on every corner in Santa Clara County. The place that everyone seems to plan their parties is Santa Clara Paintball, located at 2542 Monterey Road in San Jose, not Santa Clara. The place is a large outdoor venue consisting of a series of cages with a bunch of wooden boxes and other obstacles in them. There's a trailer for registration, some picnic tables, some porta-potties, and a gravel covered parking lot. The set up is so simple it is almost comic.
Here's how it works. First you call and book a reservation. You can either play laser tag (i.e. no paint), Splatball (recommended for kids 12 and under because, well, I think it hurts less), or traditional paintball. There is an exorbitant admission fee, but I purchased my 12
|Getting geared up....|
They encourage you to get there 30 minutes before your reservation time to check in, get your equipment and have a safety briefing. Don't forget to get those waivers signed ahead of time! No one warned me about this and I just managed to remember that I had done this for my son when he went to a party here a month ago. Luckily it is a very simple online form that parents can fill out in about 90 seconds.
Well we got there, checked in and got our gear. Everyone gets a chest and a back protector, a helmet with a full face mask, an airgun and ammunition. The group gathers on the bleachers for a short safety briefing and some general instructions and then it was time to play.
So if you don't have a private party, who are you looking at in terms of opponents? Well, this I can guarantee, the place is certainly not full of 15 year old girls! Most who paintball appear to be college age men, many of who, look like they have done this before, decked in Ninja gear from head to toe. Among the groups were 2-3 parties of 10-12 year old boys, mostly playing Splatball, and one group entirely of male Google software engineers. What? You're asking I know they were Google software engineers??
Speaking of getting decked out, it's not in your best interest to wear your finery to paintball. The paint is washable but the activity is athletic and dirty in general. The astroturf on the ground is nasty and being on your knees or shooting from your belly from the ground can occur. Though I did not see a specific requirement regarding footwear, wear closed athletic shoes. Leave your UGGS and flip flops at home.
The games run between different "cages" and are different in nature and length. One game , "Ultimate Respond" is seven minutes long and requires you to go to the back of the box before you can come out shooting again if you get shot. In "Zombies" humans run from Zombies who can turn them into Zombies too! In some you have only one life. In some you are teammates with your group, in others you are not. You get the picture. The referee describes the rules before each game.
And now for some pictures!!
|Vamping with the airguns is always a fun part of a day of paintballing.|
|These guys are done. Look at how dirty they are!!|