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Irvine blitz

Last week we made a super quick trip to Irvine: drive down Tuesday, meetings Wednesday, drive back Thursday.

The original purpose of the trip was because I needed to meet with the leadership cohort team down in Irvine. My family decided to tag along because Megan is thinking of attending Azusa Pacific University down there so Albert scheduled a visit there.

It’s been a long time since we have taken such a long car ride. Albert was a boss and drove the entire way down, all eight hours! I pretty slept the whole way down with brief lucid moments.

One of those lucid moments happened to be when we passed a fire on a hill as we were entering the Grapevine.

We got to stay at the Embassy Suites. The lobby was really beautiful.

In the evenings, we got to spend very relaxing family time, like hanging out at Starbucks and working on puzzles together.

We went to the Irvine Spectrum Mall. I had been there years ago and always had wanted to take Albert to go see it because it’s got such great ambience. It’s not every day you see a mall with a big ferris wheel.

It has nice water features and a big carousel… (Megan was like, “Hurry and take this picture! I feel funny standing here!” because I took so long to adjust my camera.)

… and the nicest Subway I have ever seen! I didn’t know it was possible to make Subway look upscale but they did it.

And of course, the Apple Store. I just had to have Albert and Daniel stand by the over-sized computer because we are such a geeky family. Even though Albert and Daniel are PC users… hmmm… guess it doesn’t reflect reality.

One of the best parts was there was a huge Barnes and Noble. We love books. No matter where we go, Albert and I seem to end up in either a bookstore or a library.

I just couldn’t help but take a picture of this book cover. This past week I have seen Comic Sans used on a dance program and on the McDonald’s napkin holder. Cringe, cringe.

Wednesday was meeting day. The team and I met in the Hyatt, where the annual meeting was happening and they gave us a side room. It turned out to be the board room. what a fancy room! The chair was so big for me I kept toppling over.

Sadly, our team has lost two people due to scheduling issues. However, the five of us got a lot done. I am very excited about the program this year! (I realized there are the four guys and I am kind of in the picture, reflected in the mirror. I happened to stand right where the crack was so you can only see bits of me.)

Albert and Megan went up to APU and checked out their film department. It looks awesome. Megan really wants to go to APU now.

After the meeting, the family and I had a late dinner, back at the Spectrum Mall. We discovered Cheesecake Factory, which some of us had always wanted to try out. It was totally delicious. The menu had like 3,000 items on it. Part of our dinner discussion was wondering how the chefs could know how to prepare so many dishes. Did they have a lot of training? Did certain chefs only cook certain recipes? I know nothing about restaurant management but the logistics sure must be challenging.

The next day was going home day. Albert drove the whole way again. He has developed quite a stamina for driving — which is really good since the rest of us conked out again! However, we did make a brief stop at one of the nicest McDonalds I have ever gone to in the U.S.

The other side had a retro flavor to it.

It looks like the restaurant is totally deserted. Actually people sat on one side but the other side was empty so I took a picture. Then people sat on the side I had just photographed and all the people on the other side got up and left so then I took a picture of the empty side.

I obviously must be a designer. Who else goes around photographing McDonalds decor?

We finally got home in the evening and were all so happy to be home. None of us really likes to travel very much and the car ride felt really long. After 20 years, the tendonitis in my hip started acting up again. Guess that meant it was a little too much sitting!

Sure is nice to be home again!

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