August 2nd, 2010
Over the weekend, I finished reading two books. The first was a graphic novel by Stan Sakai, Usagi Yojimbo #24: Return of the Black Soul, which is Sakai's series of samurai-like tales with animals in the place of humans in a Japanese setting. I'd recommend the series. Second book was from the Laundry Files series of books and short stories by Charles Stross, called The Fuller Memorandum, a series of books that are occult spy novels, dealing with a secret agency of the British government that is preparing for the return of Cthulhu and company. Great series, and this book doesn't disappoint.
And so, the weekend. Discussing the weekend in detail is apt to get a bit complicated, and in my dotage, I'm probably forgetting a great deal, but here goes a willing attempt:
We begin on Friday, with me stopping at the mechanic's to get an oil change and some other minor work done on the car. Easy. Then we load up the luggage, and head south on I-15. forestcats had planned our route to stop and check out a quilt shop in Poway, but we were disappointed with the place, and no purchases were made.
Why were we heading south? My mother's 75th birthday was this month, and she wanted the whole family to celebrate it with her at Del Mar.
So, we were the first arrivals at the hotel by a couple of hours. We checked in at the L'Auberge Del Mar hotel, and were ushered into a nice room. We'd set up reservations for Mom's dinner party that evening in the hotel's restaurant Kitchen 1540, so we didn't want to eat in the place for lunch. A short walk and we got burgers nearby at the Americana; nice food, but a bit cramped. Note: most restaurants in Del Mar appear to have both indoor and outdoor seating, but oddly enough, all the outdoor seating has heaters. Why not just make all the seating indoors?
My sister the lawyer, her family, and Mom had arrived by the time we wandered back into the hotel (after discovering The Dinosaur Gallery, and purchasing some nice opal earrings for my beloved, and a set of amber dice for me), and we chatted while waiting for our reservation. My sister the artist didn't arrive until we were already sitting at table. The food at Kitchen 1540 was delightful; apparently they are in the food to table mode, and so they mention the farms that service them on the menu. Very good food.
Saturday was to be the trip to Del Mar Racetrack (Where the surf meets the turf!). forestcats and I took our youngest niece early, because this was supposed to be free sweatshirt day, and we figured that they'd run out quickly. What we didn't expect was that children got in free, but unless we paid for her, she wouldn't get a sweatshirt. I gave up mine to her, therefore. Later, my aunt gave me hers, because she said that she wouldn't wear it, so in the end I came home with one. Niece was happy with hers. We wandered around a bit, the three of us, until it was time to meet the rest of the family. Aunt and Uncle came down from Seal Beach on the train; cousin flew in from Las Vegas, and took a shuttle bus to the track. We all sat at the Stretch Run Grill, therefore having reserved seats with a good view. The grill took our orders; the food was fair.
I bet on eight races of the ten, since my family suddenly pulled up stakes after the eighth race. I got money on six of eight. In the first race, I bet Golden Mexico to Place successfully; the second Joburg Star lost me money. In the third, I bet on Apt to be Amazing to Place, and won money; the fourth was U. C. Merced Two to Place, and that also cashed me in. In the fifth, I bet my heart, which is usually stupid, and took Westwood Pride to Show, but I was delightfully surprised to win money on it; the sixth was a loss, but I don't remember who I bet on. In the seventh race, I bet Cayanna to Place, and that was the horse's position at the end; in the eighth and final round for us, I bet on Battle of Hastings to Place and won money again. Now, if I had spent REAL money on these bets (say, $100), I might have cleaned up, but instead, I was betting $2 each, just for the amusement. I wouldn't recommend horse racing as a means to wealth.
That evening, most of the family was too tired to do much; we went out late for some dinner at a crepe place near the hotel with my sister the artist. Food was OK, but they had cider!
Sunday morning breakfast at the hotel with the family, then a stroll on the beach with older niece and nephew. Then, pack up the car and we're off. Freeways in San Diego County weren't marked all that well, but we managed to work it out, and then stopped in Temecula for a run through Kitchen Fantasy for gear that we could use; BevMo in Mira Loma to restock cider for the house, and then a grocery run near home. The dogs were delighted to see us.
In the evening, after clearing the DVR, we watched the last episode of ST:DS9 season four on the disc we had, and then the special features lectures on anthropology, Malinowski, and New Guinea from another disc of Young Indiana Jones. Then, to bed, early.
Sounds like a very lovely and fun weekend with your family. I hope your mom really enjoyed having everyone together for her birthday! And very good job on the horse race betting. I have never been to a horse race myself, but I do try to watch the "big ones" on TV. I pick horses totally on their names. The more hilarious or creative the better!
Well, when I was torn between two horses, I ended up picking by name, but it's not the wise way to go...