Friday, October 28, 2011

Against the Giants

North Window and Turret Arch, Arches National Park, UT
 Can you find me in the above arch? Where am I? There is just no way to blow me up against these giants.
Double O Arch, Arches National Park, UT
Arches National Park in Utah preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the world famous Delicate Arch below. 
 Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, UT
Somehow, standing right next to these giants, makes it obvious I am but a tiny dot compared to the world, and far very small and insignificant compared to outer space. 
 Double Arch, Arches National Park, UT
Recognizing my smallness makes me feel like singing I am but a Small Voice, by Leah Salonga, a Filipina Tony award winner (Miss Saigon). The lyrics go like this:
I am but a small voice
I am but a small dream
To smile upon the sun
Be free to dance and sing
Be free to sing my song to everyone

"Come young citizens of the world
We are one, we are one "- 2x

We have one hope 
We have one dream
And with one voice
We sing...

"Peace, prosperity
and love for all mankind"- 2x
Landscape Arch, Arches National Park, UT
That song is one of my favorite songs when I was younger. I would keep on repeating the words...." i am but a small voice...i am but a small dream....", and getting happy with the thought that if we come together with one dream, one hope, we get peace, prosperity and love for all mankind.
Now, those may be the lyrics I love singing when I was younger, but it does not mean I have forgotten them now. I still sing the same song, despite being against these giants, I don't feel as small anymore. Though, sometimes, when I take a look at my IRA Accounts, I feel like when will it become giant? As much as I try to maximize my savings here, but having started only much later since I came to US only 2003, it feels like I am still very far from hitting a comfortable ceiling for retirement. Not that I do not enjoy my job, but I look forward to the days that when I wake up with an the itch to climb a mountain or hike in the desert to be in the midst of these naturally beautiful giants, I can just pack and go, without thinking of work left behind. I try to read as much information on Stock Trading, Online Trading, Online Broker, but I am not comfortable doing it on my own and making decisions on my own market intuitions. Diversifying our investments is one strategy I have learned that I find really working well. But then, as what I have mentioned earlier, I and my retirement dream right now still feels small against these giants.....but it doesn't stop me from singing happily....
I am but a small voice
I am but a small dream
To smile upon the sun
Be free to dance and sing
Be free to sing my song to everyone

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hikes from Lake Poway

Fall Colors At Lake Poway
Lake Poway Address: 14644 Lake Poway Rd, Poway, CA
Lake Poway Recreational Park is nestled in the rolling hills of Poway amid a grove of eucalyptus, oaks and chaparrals. The park is not only popular for fishing but it also serves as a central staging area for numerous trails that run in several directions.

Oaks in Autumn

The recreational park serves both Poway and non-Poway residents. However, non-Poway residents such as us, have to pay $5 entrance and parking fee from March- October, at other times of the year, the park is free for everyone. However, there are two free parking options that I know of for non-Poway residents. These are:
     1. Espola Rd at Lake Poway Road ( about 0.5 mile uphill walk to Lake Poway Park, if you will be hiking, what is additional 0.5 mile one way?)

Blue Sky Ecological Reserve Trail

     2. Blue Sky Ecological Reserve - this is actually one of the hikes that can be taken from Lake Poway. However, if you wanted to avoid the parking fee, you can park at Blue Sky and instead of hiking from Lake Poway to Blue Sky, you do the reverse, that is, hike from Blue Sky to Lake Poway. Please click to go to my previous post on Blue Sky to Lake Poway hike for more details.
Here are some more trails, in addition to 1. Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, that anyone can take from Lake Poway.
2. Lake Poway Loop Trail - a short 3 mile loop hike around Lake Poway with some steep areas. About 400- 500 feet change in elevation. This trail is popular for trail runners. 
Lake Poway from Lake Poway Trail
 3. Mt. Woodson Summit - this is the most popular trail especially for younger hikers who prefers higher ascent from Lake Poway. It is about 8 miles round trip from Lake Poway with about 2300 ft elevation gain.
 Looking Southwest from Mt. Woodson Summit
 High On Potato Chip Rock, Mt. Woodson
For more details and options hiking Mt. Woodson, you can go to my previous post Hiking Mt. Woodson. The summit of Mt. Woodson can be approached in many ways. Hiking Mt. Woodson from Lake Poway is one of the options. 
4. Double Lakes Hike, Lake Poway to Lake Ramona.
 Lake Ramona
Lake Ramona from Lake Poway is about 4 mile hike round trip, with total change in elevation of about 700 ft. Another trail that leads to Lake Ramona is the trail from Blue Sky Ecological Reserve.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Weekend Heaven

Me on top of Bluffs ( picture taken by cellphone )
A whole day affair at the Safari Park Saturday, 
Fall Colors at Safari Park
Mom with her 2 young Elephants @ Safari Park
and then, hiking and the ocean Sunday. Though maybe physically exhausted, but emotionally and spiritually inspired by our wonderful and beautiful world. We started from the bottom of the cliffs by the beach side....
Willet at the Beach
walked on the beach from Del Mar to Torrey Pines...
North Torrey Pines State Beach
climbed up and down the cliffs several times to be on top of the bluffs 450- 500 ft above sea level overlooking the sparkling blue sea to the North,
Surfers and Dolphin
the eroded cliffs masterfully sculpted by nature, 
Steep Eroded Cliffs Looking North of Torrey Pines Bluffs

vertical wall of eroded cliffs looking South to La Jolla 
and the red tide phenomenon to the South, which is very unique for us since it is unusual for us to see ocean water with tint of red. 
Surfers and Dolphins in Red Tide Water (photo taken by ktl)
The recent red tide phenomenon brought about explosion of algae and krill that blue whales feast on. Blue whales are the largest mammals on Earth, and they were the reason why we were moving up and down from bluffs to bluffs.  Last Friday, pod of blue whales had been seen so close to the coast of San Diego from Del Mar to La Jolla, that we were hoping more pods of blue whales would come close to the coast again. Though we can take whale watching tour by a boat, but we never saw whales from the coast since whales are known to be at least 7 miles from the shore. However, Friday was one of those rare days that blue whales came very close to the coast. 
happy dolphins rejoicing in nutrient rich red tide ocean water ( photo taken by ktl)
click the picture to enlarge, the leftmost dolphin shows happy face :)
We were not very lucky seeing whales Sunday, but nevertheless, the sights and peacefulness brought by hiking and the ocean still was very calming and inspiring for us. The dolphins seemed to accompany us in our hike from Del Mar to Torrey Pines, it's always a joy seeing them because they are such friendly creatures. Anyway, here is a video of blue whales seen from the coast of San Diego ( La Jolla- Del Mar). 

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

Love to travel

Thanks to Darwin Barton

I love travelling but when it came time to settle down and look for a wife to start a family I knew where I wanted to go. Houston had always been my home and I just loved it to death so I bought my first house, researched TEXAS ELECTRICITY PROVIDERS and settled in – I was waiting for a wife! It didn’t take me long – Sheila strolled into work on my second week and that was the end of that…now we’re set to be married next month and she’s going to move all her stuff in and I just can’t wait! I want to have kids sooner rather than later but she says we’ve got to make a few more improvements to the house first which is totally understandable. I just can’t wait to get on with the rest of my life and I know this next phase is going to be one of the most exciting ever. I’m just happy my life worked out as I had it planned!

Monday, October 10, 2011

San Diego Zoo's Safari Park

In my last post about San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo's Safari Park, I shared up close pictures of animal's Faces.
Mom and Baby Gorilla

In this post, I will be sharing to you why I love visiting the Safari Park, through these mostly landscape pictures of the park.
I love going to this park, again and again, because I love observing the animals in a naturalistic setting. Right now, going to Africa for an African Safari is still a dream for me. While I am dreaming about that, my reality is walking around San Diego Safari Park.

Whenever I walk around the Safari Park, I feel like I am transported to Africa.
where African elephants ran freely,
giraffes, antelopes, rhinos roam around freely in the vast open air exhibit.
Where some visitors are having fun time riding safari carts ( I haven't been in a safari cart, since I somehow feel like it is too expensive when I can just walk or take the members' free tram, and therefore, I just see the animals from afar).
When I get tired of walking, I can take the members' free tram to see more  of what is deep inside where I won't be able to see if I simply walk.
 Lions seem to be free ( though lions have a separate open air exhibit for the safety of the other park animals.
 Rhinos have several hectares to roam freely and mingle with the other animals such as giraffes and antelopes.
 Mom elephant has a vast field to train her baby to be independent. The baby elephant in the picture below is just 2 weeks old, born last September 26, 2011.
Baby elephants play!
Cheetahs are as gracious and elegant as they can be. (they yellow in the background is the tram).
People can watch cheetah run at full speed! Cheetahs are the fastest mammals on Earth running up to 70 miles per hour.
Meerkats form a gang.
 Where the trails change from pines,
 to spines.
 Where walking in the midst of flower lined trails,
 hummingbirds would come fluttering greeting visitors a very beautiful day!
Where it is hard to tell whether the animals are wild or captive, local or African, since a lot of local wildlife such as these hummingbirds had made this place their home as well.

Taste the Fun of T.G.I. FRiDAY'S at Home With New "Entrees for one!"

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of T.G.I. FRiDAY'S for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Happy TGIFriday's. Ah, don't you just love Friday's? This week was very busy for me, since I had to attend classes at night for 3 days in a row after work, and when I get home meant doing homework... homework... and more homework! Next week, grades are due, so, on top of my own homework, I had to catch up with grading my students' work plus of course the lesson planning after reflecting. Then, I also have been swamped with blogging happine$$. Having no time to cook nor sit in for dinner, my hubby feasted with T.G.I. FRiDAY’S “Entrées for One”.
I usually cook everyday except Friday since I describe my Friday as my day off from the kitchen and time to celebrate, dining outside. Though cooking is one of my favorite activities and the kitchen my favorite place inside the house, but I just simply skip working in the kitchen on Friday! This week though, because of my ultra busy schedule, there was just no way for me to cook dinner since I get home late, I loaded our freezer with yummy T.G.I. FRiDAY’S “Entrées for One” during the weekend. I purposely put the Sizzling Chicken Fajitas in front since it is my most favorite.
Entrées For One 
My husband told me he enjoys the fajita and tasted almost home cooked by a master chef! He said the flavors really set in which really made the dish outstanding! And since I was not able to cook dinner, it meant also I was not able to cook for our lunch boxes that we bring to work! So, this week has really been a TGIF week for us, both lunch and dinner. Thankfully, there were just a lot of varieties, such as chicken and Broccoli Alfredo, Cajun-style chicken alfredo,
Entrées For One
sesame orange and chicken, grilled chicken mac and cheese, and many more.  What is exciting about TGIFriday's new launch is the Fun Freezer contest. All you need to to is load your pictures to TGIF's Fun Freezer Contest Pagebook page, then, encourage your friends to vote! You may get more votes if you make your picture of your freezer super TGIFantastic! Hurry now, and enjoy the yummy dishes from TGIFriday's!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Will You Stop For This?

Field of White Oxeye Daisy, Seward Highway, Alaska
 Field of White Oxeye Daisy, Seward Highway, Alaska
Field of White Oxeye Daisy, Seward Highway, Alaska
Leaving Seward to Portage Lake for a hike at Byron Glacier, we saw these field of oxeye daisy on Seward Highway. Of course, as soon as we saw a legal parking, we pulled over to enjoy this roadside beauty. We got busy photographing the wildflowers, and soon, we saw some more cars stopping to also enjoy these field of wildflowers, taking in this breathtaking beauty. However, in Alaska, usually, people stop for wildlife, so, there were two who asked me, "what are you taking pictures of?" And I told them, "these wildflowers and the landscape!" One of them said, "duh, we stopped coz we think you saw wildlife!" and I replied, smiling, "this is our wildlife". How about you, if you see this on the road and there is a a legal view point parking, would you stop driving for this? 
We did!

Monday, October 03, 2011

San Onofre State Beach and Campground

These are pictures I took last Saturday on our way home from Los Angeles. San Onofre State Beach is in the Northernmost of San Diego County and some parts borders the Southernmost of Orange County. It is one of beaches I know in San Diego County where you can have an ocean front camping on top of the bluffs. Some hiking trails from the top of the bluffs go down to the ocean. However, the campsites is open only from May to September. You can visit the park's site, San Onofre State Beach, for more details.