Graduation Trip – day 2

Are we done yet?

Another early morning. Another stupid, early morning. And it still wasn’t early enough. It was floor seating for graduation attendees, and for short people, that meant prime view of the backs of people’s heads.

Ceremony began with a video with students thanking their families, and then a brief run down of the rules. No food or drink, no standing and blocking people’s views, no going into the aisles to take pictures, etc. The music began, the graduates began their walk, and everyone jumped up and ran into the aisles to take pictures…

This is the part of the graduation that is the most important, and yet, the most boring. A total of 10 seconds from the moment they announce a student’s name (with the most epic, sports announcer voice ever!), to walking over to accept the diploma, get a picture taken with the dean, and vanish off stage. 10 seconds, and a hundred other students to go.

Needless to say, it was boring. The sun was beating down (between the clouds) and one woman ahead of us kept standing up. Not to take pictures, simply to stand. I might have yelled at her to, “sit the fuck down!” at some point. I had yet to have a cup of coffee…

It was stupid early…

At some point, we resorted to mid-ceremony selfie taking. At some point, we went over to the table with water coolers. At some point, we left and got coffee. When we had coffee in hand, some 20 minutes later, the epic, sports announcer was still announcing names…

It ended, eventually. More pictures were taken. And then it was lunch time.

Margaritas and molé, valet parking, and twelve dollar guacamole (that we did not get.) And a gigantic scoop of fried icecream.

Afterwards, the sun was finally shining in earnest, the jacaranda trees were blooming, and all of Southern California was headed to the beach. So we did too. It took us about 10 minutes to drive there, and about 10 minutes waiting behind cars sitting around blocking traffic to get that spot when that family has finished packing up and leaves…

But the sand was warm, and the sky was blue. It smelled like dead fish, but hey, it’s the beach. Families fishing off the pier, and it must have been good fishing, cuz a pod of porpoises were boppin’ about, and a lone sealion swam about near the pier.

Dinner was a casual affair. All the celebration and energy expended. But the restaurant we found, we discovered we quite liked. The Lazy Dog brewery that touted itself as dog friendly, even going so far as to have menu for dogs. The food was delicious, though no one could manage to eat very much.

Back to the hotel for a blessed early night. We all settled into bed, before the sounds of banging started. As much as I tried to ignore it, I could not and only grew more irritated with each bang and pop. Until it finally dawned on me. The Los Angeles Angels had won their game, and the stadium was letting off fireworks.

We went to the window and watched. And oddly enough, it was a pretty spectacular end to another long day.

Graduation Trip – day 1.5

The alarm went off at 5am. This was how the day started. Perhaps you’re thinking, that’s not so bad, plenty of folks rise with the sun. Except there was no sun. It was gray and rainy. And I’d not long finished a 5 hour drive up the day before. 324 miles with two cats on my lap.

I tried to roll over and ignore it, to find a huge dog taking over more than half of the otherside of the bed. I wasn’t going to fall back asleep anyhow. No matter how tightly I squeeze my eyes.

We left the house at 7. Reached the ferry terminal at 7:50. Docked in Seattle at about 8:30. And promptly hit Friday morning rush hour traffic… I closed my eyes, and when I opened them we were pulling into the long term parking near the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. I hopped out of the car just as 2 other cars pulled up spewing out a sleep deprived gaggle of girls. Loud girls. Who squeezed into the same shuttle as us to the airport, despite there being too few seats… We arrived at the airport at about 9:15. Literally ran thru security, and were ready for coffee by 9:30.

This was our chance for a breath. Coffee, and food, and some random but wonderful music.

By 11:00 we had squeezed onto the airport subway train, and were shooting off towards our gate.

Inside the ENTIRE Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and I look over to see (and hear) the gaggle of girls eating breakfast at a restaurant next to our gate. Thankfully, at 11:45 we began boarding.

12:20, we left Seattle.

1,165 miles.

At 3pm on the nose, we arrive in Orange County, CA. And promptly hit Friday afternoon rush hour traffic…

Hotel by 4:30. Quick change from easy travel wear, to semi-fancy wear. (And some rescue sandwich nomming.) And back out at 6…

The graduation was scheduled for 7pm. Nothing really ever happens on time, but it wasn’t too late in starting. It was cold, the sun went down and the wind was persistent. The Duffer Brothers, alumni of Chapman University waxed inspirational to the graduates. Telling them how amazing they’re all going to be… just not right now… Maybe in like a decade.

And at 9 there was this brilliant idea of champagne on the lawn. The sort of soft lawn, in the dark, save for the random spotlights that didn’t so much as illuminate, as shine directly into your eyes. But there were celebratory fireworks, and that’s what the whole thing was really about. Not the fireworks, or the selfies with the Duffer Brothers (much shorter than you’d think..), but the celebration.

I traveled 1,557 miles (there was a random 70 miles in there to get to the STIA) in 2 days, and have been awake for 18 hours straight. I endured wonderful singing, and obnoxious singing, saw 3 people leave items behind in their self absorbed haste (but then found them again, with some help), sat in a cramped plane with screaming babies and a yowling dog, slogged through rush hour traffic twice in 1 day, and listened to a biochemist give an inspirational speech about… I’m really not sure… but I did it for family.

Today, my cousin graduated from College, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

(…she’s also apparently graduating again tomorrow… at 8am 😫)