The Leon's 2013 Photo Album

Updated: 2013.12.28


Click on the thumbnail pictures to see the full sized pictures



December

The Christmas portrait. thumbnail

Our annual visit to the Photography Studio - not sure the kids will put up with this much longer, but we keep trying!

Christmas morning by the tree. thumbnail

If you look closely, you can see Santa stoking the fire. ;-)

Mom got pearls for Christmas. thumbnail

Dad visited Pearl City on a recent business trip to China.

Christmas dinner. thumbnail

Diane prepared a delicious feast as always!

Giant Christmas tree. thumbnail

We spent our last evening on Pier 39

Family shot in front of the Pier 39 Christmas tree. thumbnail

Zachary was at a friend's party, so wasn't able to join us.

The carousel at the end of Pier 39. thumbnail

Nope, we didn't stop to take a ride.

Dinner at Neptune's Palace. thumbnail

We celebrated my parent's birthdays - everything was very good here.

Christmas decorations at Union Square. thumbnail

On our way home, we drove around Union Square a few times to take in all of the Christmas decor.


November

Happy Thanksgiving thumbnail

The Thanksgiving feast was at Dave & Jill's house this year with plenty of family, friends, neighbors, and of course, food!

Carvin' up the turkey thumbnail

Must be a special time of year to have a unique siting of Nate in the kitchen!

Diane's birthday lunch thumbnail

As beautiful as ever!

World's smallest ice cream cone thumbnail

When I ordered the small, this is not what I was expecting! ;-)

Diane's birthday cake thumbnail

Nate made the traditional yellow cake with chocolate frosting for Diane. It was a bit of a mess, but tasted yummy!


October

Zachary's Fall Jazz performance thumbnail

Zachary switched to bass guitar in Jazz band this year, as they needed one for a combo. Good thing he just got a bass guitar for his birthday! (see July below :)

Jessica all dressed up and ready to go! thumbnail

My little girl has grown into a beautiful young woman!

Jessica out-and-about with friends thumbnail

Sim was her roomate and Caroline was a suitemate for the first two years. Always nice to have good friends.


September

Zachary's graduation picture thumbnail

Zachary is a Senior this year - I know, handsome, right?!

The Cottage thumbnail

Jessica took us to one of her favorite places for breakfast in La Jolla (The Cottage) when we took her back to school this fall. Very unique (and delicious!) menu, but show up early - the line gets long!


August

Zachary's Pinecrest trip thumbnail

Zachary has been joining the Geiger Family trip to Pinecrest for several years now. The guys have a great time hiking, swimming, fishing, and jumping off high rocks into the lake. This year, they ventured out on a several-day hike, sleeping under the stars, and cooking over a fire.

Family Vacation

We rented a house just off Highway 1 and on the beach near Morro Bay for a very relaxing week

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Relaxing on the beach just after we arrived. The stairway above Zachary's head was where we stayed.

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We had some fog being right on the coast, which was beautiful in it's own way. But it usually blew over pretty quickly, and we also had plenty of sunshine.

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We all did some rock scrambling on the beach near the house.

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Our house was actually between Morro Bay and Cayucos to the North. Here we are on the Pier at Cayucos.

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The view of Morro Rock from our place.

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We brought our bikes along, but had some bike trouble just before the trip, so we had to rent an extra one. La Jolla is where Jessica attends UCSD. :)

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We biked all over Morro Bay including out to "The Rock". Zachary & Nate also biked back to the house along Hwy 1.

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Morro Bay at sunset after enjoying a yummy seafood dinner in town. (something about old fishing boats make great photos!)

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The sunsets were incredible most evenings.

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It was usually getting pretty chilly at this time, but worth standing out on the deck.

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Sometimes the fog was starting to roll in, but enhanced the sunset.

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We arrived just at the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. The first night was fogged over, but we had some great views during the next few evenings. I didn't catch any meteors "on film" but I thought this cloud formation was really interesting - kinda' looks like a big claw!

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This was the first time I experimented with night photography, so that was fun. I've never seen the moon set over the ocean, but this is one of my favorite night pics I caught. (Canon G12: 15 sec exposure @ F2.8 / ISO-800)

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We found lots of sand dollars on the beach. Actually these are pretty small... sand quarters?!

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Group shot from the deck on a foggy day to avoid harsh over-head lighting. :)

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We saw lots of pelicans during the week

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They aren't shy about getting up close and friendly

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There were also lots of these Long Billed Curlews digging in the sand, probably catching little crabs and stuff

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I only saw one of these Black Crowned Night Heron - kinda' reminds me of a penguin!

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Egrets, we all got 'em. (aka Great White Heron)

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I had to chase this guy up and down the beach to get a good picture of him!

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We saw quite a few otters and a bunch of Sea Lions also (while kayaking on the bay)

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Looks like this guy is enjoying a meal

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I had heard there were plenty of dolphins playing in the surf, so I was very much looking forward to seeing them, but had to wait until the last full day. Jessica caught this excellent action shot with her phone

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They were very close to the beach, but some people didn't even know they were right there. I took this from the house.

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I caught this guy surfing - they were doing that for a while - wonder if it stirs up a food source for them.

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Thanks for a great week, and Goodbye!

Hearst Castle

During the week, we took a day trip to visit Hearst Castle in San Simeon, just a little ways up the coast.

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About to enter the Visitor Center - notice the mansion on the hill to the right.

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Zoom in on the main house from the visitor center

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We saw a bunch of mountain goats on the hill below the house. There are still zebras roaming the grounds also, but they didn't make an appearance for us.

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Picture of the house once we got to the top of the hill

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Exploring the grounds around the guest houses. The fog rolled in over the ocean on this day.

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Group shot in from of the main entrance - who has the key?!

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I hung back as the tour group proceeded so I could get some clean shots of a few rooms

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The details are just amazing here - just about every square inch of the walls and ceilings are covered with intracate art work, and every piece has an equally interesting story. For example, those are chairs along the back/right wall, which used to be choir seats in a church in Spain. However, there weren't enough to go all around the room, so William Hearst had his workers re-create them in excruciating detail. It is difficult to tell them apart unless you look very closely.

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Hung back and shot a few rounds of pool here.

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It was quite hot that day, so this pool looked very tempting.

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And of course, the obligatory visit to the spectacular indoor pool before we left. This guy knew how to live it up!


July

We celebreated our 25th anniversary this year. thumbnail

Here's a few photos from our wedding day. Can't believe it's been 25 years already! See April (below) for photos from our anniversary trip.

Celebrating Zach's BDay thumbnail

Somebody grab the fire extinguisher!

Yum, Ice Cream cake thumbnail

Zachary had some friends over for a pool party, Wii, and of course, cake.

Bass Guitar thumbnail

Zachary had been playing Bass for the Sunday morning High School group, and frequently on Wednesday evenings also. This fall, he started playing for the main service on a monthly basis also. Now he can practice as home. :)

Anniversary

We celebrated our 25th anniversary in April, but we took the day off and went to Capitola on our actual anniversary. (July 23) We relaxed at the beach, hit the ice cream store, and ended the day by visiting one of our favorite places: Shadowbrook Restaurant

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Like I said, relaxing at the beach. :)

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Shadowbrook is on the river at the bottom of a steep hill, so they have a little cable cars that runs up and down.

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My beautiful bride, lovely as ever

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Enjoying the view of the river after a delicious dinner


June

Municipal Rose Garden thumbnail

I had been wanting to visit this place for over 10 years, and we finally made it over here at the end of date night. (it is best if you hit it at just the right time of the year, e.g. May) This place is huge, with over 4000 rose plants. Yup, that's alot of roses!

Peanut

In sad news, we lost Peanut this spring due to congestive heart failure. He was 10 1/2 years old which is about average for his breed. He was the best of friends, and will be deeply missed. Here are a few pictures of him from this year.

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He loved to lay on top of things. The bed or couch wasn't enough, he would try to get on top of a pillow or blanket, or even a pile of papers or a pair of glasses. (I may have added the pen :-)

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Peanut enjoying a good back scratch.

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Close-up shot of his cute little face

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Jessica came home for a memorial day camping trip, and I think this is the last picture we took of Peanut.

And some of my favorite, older pictures from over the years

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2011: He was always making us laugh. Here he was walking down the stairs, stopped, and just sat down.

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2003: Peanut staying warm by the fire.

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He was only about 6 months old here, when he saw his Mom on TV, he ran over and jumped up to get a closer look. He was always very attentive to what was on TV. He would often bark at animals on the screen.

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Also about six months old in this picture.

Here are more pictures, thumbnail from his first year with us. (2002-2003)


May

Jazz concert thumbnail

At the Spring show, Zachary was on guitar, and had a really nice solo. It was longer than expected, 'cuz the rest of the group didn't come back in at the right time, so Zachary had to keep the improv going!

Big Sur

Our annual Memorial Day camping trip to Big Sur. Jessica was able to join us again this year, and Elizabeth had just returned from a two-year stay in Senegal with the Peace Corps.

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We hit some construction on the way down, which allowed me to take a nice shot back up the coast.

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A quick view of the Point Sur Lightstation as we got close to our destination. Someday I would like to go out there and try the tour.

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Elizabeth was especially chilly, having just returned from Senegal. Of course, we would have made a fire anyways.

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Our annual tree pic at the end of the weekend

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Large rock formations at the beach, notice folks going up the side - that's our gang

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Jessica & Zachary perched atop the rock

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Nice view from up there - it's the first time I went up

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Sliding back down - it was quite steep

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We just biked to the trailhead, and are resting up before the big hike

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We typically get a group shot inside this burned-out redwood

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and also in front of the large redwood slice

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crossing over the creek as part of the hike up to the falls

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and finally, made it to Pfeiffer Falls (more of a trickle, really - it was a dry year)


April

We started planning a Caribbean Cruise for our 25th anniversary, and found a really good discount if we were willing to go in two weeks. The timing worked out well with Zachary on a spring break trip with school that week, so we took a spontaneous cruise! We boarded the Norwegian Epic in Miami, and sailed to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau, Bahamas.

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Florida

The cruise left on Sat afternoon, so we flew in Friday to be safe. That was nice because we were able to enjoy Miami Beach on Friday evening and Sat morning. Diane used to spend Thanksgiving here as a kid, so it brought back fond memories for her.

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The famous, Miami Beach - the water was a beautiful turquoise

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Water bottle and sun-glasses, ready to shove off!

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Standing by one of the crazy water-slides

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Here we are at the bow, heading out of the channel

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The Southern tip of Miami Beach

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Looking back at Miami Beach - see ya' in a week!

St. Maarten

The water was amazginly blue - in fact, the background on this webpage ^^^vvv^^^ is a snippet of a picture I took from ship while in port here. ("The Great Bay") This is an interesting island... half Dutch and half French. It is small enough that we were able to rent a car and drive around the entire island.

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A view of the Epic after we disembarked in St. Maarten

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Beautiful flowers inside a butterfly farm

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Looking down at Orient Bay - known as Paradise View for obvious reasons. Diane really liked the colorful roof tops down below.

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Just grazing along side the road, so we stopped to look at each other

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Our main destination for the day, Ilet Pinel, a small island off the NE corner of St. Martin (French side now, so different spelling :) There is a marine preserve here, so it made for some great snorkeling. (see those pics below)

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Our little ferry boat pulling in to Yellow Beach. Even it was tropical blue! Before leaving, we had lunch in those tiki huts near the middle of the pic, under the "Yellow Beach" sign.

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Looking back at St. Martin - the "mainland"? The water was so clear.

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We still had some time before we had to be back at the ship, so we proceeded to drive around the "entire" island, stopping at a few more of the nice beaches we had heard about. Here we are at Friar's Bay on the NW side of the island. This is one of my favorite pics from the whole trip - the beautiful water framed by the palm tree, accompanied by the relaxing sound of breaking waves and a light breeze thru the palm trees, aaaaaahhhhhh.....

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Mullet Bay on the SW side. The sand was so soft here.

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A view of The Epic across The Great Bay, on the SE corner

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The Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) on the right and Maho Beach on the left - this spot is famous for planes coming in extremely low over the beach

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Well that pretty much sums it up. The beach is especially a problem when a jet is sitting across the street powering up for a take-off!

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We drove down Front St. (famous for shopping) on our way back to the ship. No time for us to shop - we had too much fun snorkeling and hitting the beaches!

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Yeah, that'd be good.

St. Thomas

Through the wonders of Cruise Ship technology, we woke up the next morning on a different island!

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Again, we rented our own car, and headed out. (event the license plates are beautiful here :)

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This is kinda' ugly for a picture, but notice we drive on the wrong side of the road here. That wasn't too bad, but the right turns can really mess with your mind! That "West 38" sign reminds me - as a general rule, the local islanders don't know street names or numbers, so don't bother stopping to ask for directions. And of course, your phone (with your trusted navigation software) will not get a signal here either.

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We reached our destination, but before hitting the water, decided to visit "Coral World Acquarium" since it was still pretty early. It sounded a little hoaky, but it was actually quite nice.

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Looking back at Coki Beach, where we will spend most of the day relaxing on the beach and snorkeling. (see pics below) You can see Coki Dive Center on the left, where we rented all of our gear for the day - very nice folks. In fact, I had eMailed Peter multiple times before we came, and he was above-and-beyond helpful with where to go and what to expect.

Snorkeling

We spent much of our time on the island Under The Sea... (as Sebastian would say)

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So many fishies! Most of these are Sergeant Majors. Some of these pics came out OK, but of course, none of them do justice to the vivid colors there.

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Is that a person behind all of those fish?

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Hey, it's Diane!

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Better picture of Diane, on a different day.

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And there's this guy - for some reason, it looks like he is posing for a Pixar storyboard! Hmmm... maybe this is why

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I really liked the Trumpetfish

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I kept chasing them down every chance I got

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The cleverly named, Bluehead

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The Bluestriped Grunt was kinda' shy

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but I waited him out

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The Yellowtail Damselfish was extremely shy, so this is the best picture I was able to get.

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There were lots of Parrotfish, and there is also a Spotfin Butterfly in this picture

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I liked the Parrotfish almost as much as the Trumpetfish :)

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Nice variety in this pic, including a Stoplight Parrotfish

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Equal time for the Stoplight Parrotfish, and a few friends

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Close up of the Sergeant Major

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He was less interested in me

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The Yellowtail Snapper was another shy guy - saw a few of them, but this is the best pic I could get.

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The Trunkfish was really funny looking, also looks like something out of Finding Nemo

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Chased down this Barracuda off the tip of Ilet Pinel - he was probably 30-36" long. Diane wasn't willing to pose next to him for reference. ;-)

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I thought I was chasing down the same fish here, but looking at it now, it is definitely a different variety.

Nassau, The Bahamas

Our final stop was in Nassau. We came here once before, so we didn't spend too much time in town, but pretty quickly headed for the beach - sensing a common theme, yet?!

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Caught this view as we sailed into harbor, and were backing into port, very peaceful.

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A view of Paradise Island from a nice vantage point

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The classic horse-drawn buggy you see around Nassau

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I researched authentic local food before we left home and found very good reviews of Bahamian Cookin' (aka Bahamian Kitchen). Indeed, everything was great, especially the Conch Fritters - worth the trip!

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We caught a taxi to Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island

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rented an umbrella and chairs

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and quickly settled in for a very relaxing afternoon. This is also one of my favorite pictures from the trip - relaxing just looking at it!

At Sea

We spent several days at sea enjoying activities on the ship and just relaxing

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They had some great shows including Blue Man Group and a Michael Jackson impersonator. All of the entertainment was excellent.

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Two story chanellier in the center of the ship

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Leaving Nassau, just finished another wonderful meal in The Manhattan Room. This picture now resides on our mantle as our 25th Anniversary Photo.


March

Date night with my sweetie thumbnail

Enjoyed a great meal at Benihana (as usual) with a fun group of folks celebrating a birthday.

Easter dinner thumbnail

Diane prepared a delicious meal for Easter with Dave, Jill, & Scott


February

K1 Speed thumbnail

Zachary tearing up the course at K-1 Speed with some friends over winter break.

Target Practice

@ Reeds Indoor Range. This was Zachary's first time shooting, and he did very well. Actually, he has had quite a bit of practice with air-soft pistols and rifles. I hope we can go again over Christmas break.

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Zachary punchin' some holes in the paper

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We were using a Beretta M92A1 that day

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The paper lost that day!


January

Jessica and roomates from the 2012-13 school year thumbnail

Jessica lived in on-campus apartments @ UCSD last and had a great group of suite-mates.

Somebody stole our windows! thumbnail

Our place was feeling a little small, so we decided to open it up a little bit. ;-) Actually, our windows were from the mid-70s, so we figured it was time to replace them.