Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 2011

Monica and Matt's Wedding

My daughter Monica and her fiance Matt had a lovely wedding in a pretty San Diego park in early June under blue skies. It was a perfect day and they did a fantastic job organising the whole event. It was a happy occasion and really nice to see so many of my family and also to meet Matt's side of the family.

Matt walking down the aisle with his mother Liz

Me with one of the groomsmen - I was happy but trying not to cry. Behind me are bridesmaids Amanda and Adrienne.

Here comes the beautiful bride!

My mom and my sister Eileen

Eileen's kids Madison, Ryder and Cate

Madison at the dessert table. Monica and her bridesmaids Amanda and Adrienne made the wedding cake and all of the other desserts.

My sister Eileen and her husband Ryder

If you want to see more (and better) photos from the wedding, go to the photo gallery on Monica's Facebook page:

The day after the wedding, we took a nice walk along the San Diego harbour with my parents.

Balboa Park
Bill and I stayed in San Diego another week so we could be there for Monica's graduation the following Saturday. Monica had a couple of finals that week and had to study, so Bill and I explored San Diego on foot and on bikes. Of course there are museums and other cultural things to do, but the weather was so beautiful that we wanted to spend every minute outside. Balboa Park is a huge park in downtown San Diego with different gardens, museums and the famous San Diego Zoo.

Above is a lath house in Balboa Park that's filled with tropical plants.

Spotted orchid in the lath house.

Spider orchid

Cacti in the Desert Garden

I'm standing under a huge cactus tree

Torrey Pines
After recovering from the wedding and in-between finals, Monica and Matt had time to take us to Torrey Pines, a park by the sea with hiking trails in the nearby hills.

Beautiful wildflowers growing in the sandy soil. San Diego has a 'marine layer' on some days, similar to the fog in San Francisco, and this gives moisture to the plants. There's a green belt within a few miles of the sea, but further inland it's much drier.

Mission Hills Park

The most amazing place we went to that week was Mission Hills Park, 13 miles inland from the city. San Diego has a great bike lane system, and we cycled most of the way on separate bike trails and the rest on roads with a striped bike lane. A huge improvement over Ireland where there aren't even any shoulders on the roads!

Lots of hiking trails in the park.

San Diego had a lot of rain last winter so rivers were flowing and the canyons were green and lush.

May and June are peak months for the desert wildflowers. The hillsides facing west (toward the sea) get moisture from the marine layer and are much greener than east-facing slopes.

We also saw a rattlesnake right on the trail! I was fumbling with the camera so it's not a great picture, but you can just see the striped snake slithering away into the brush, just above and to the right of center. We definitely saw the rattle on the end, and carefully watched every footfall after that!

Looking east

Heading back down - wooden steps make it a lot easier on the loose sand and gravel.

Sweetwater Reservoir
Another day we cycled to Sweetwater Reservoir. The foggy marine layer was hovering over the city, but 11 miles inland it was warm and sunny.

Barrel cactus

Desert shrubs in bloom


Another day we all went to Cabrillo National Monument, a park at the end of the peninsula that protects the SD harbor.

Another fine day! The weather is San Diego is perfect almost year-round with winter temps in the 50's and 60's and summer temps in the 70's and low 80's. We didn't know much about SD before we went there but we really liked it - the climate, the greenness of the city and surrounding area, and the laid-back attitude.

At the tidal pools

Hanging out in Monica and Matt's apartment.

There are eucalyptus trees outside their apartment where hawks are nesting! This is the mother hawk taking a break from the kids.

Graduation Day
Monica graduated suma cum laude from UCSD (University of California at San Diego). Smart girl - we are so proud of her!

On our way to the graduation ceremony. UCSD has a nice campus with few roads and lots of pedestrian walkways and eucalyptus trees.

On Monday following the graduation, Monica and Matt flew off to Hawaii for a two week honeymoon, and Bill and I flew back to Ireland. to our green, green garden and roses in bloom.

Spuds galore!