Friday, May 27, 2011

In California, My Mom's Graduation (Again), and Car Buying

I've spent the past few days in -- or at least close enough to my old stomping grounds of Southern California. The reason for this trip? My mother has participated in graduation ceremonies again -- this time for her Masters of Engineering Management at National University in San Diego. Though she hasn't officially graduated as yet (still needing to finish her capstone) it was an excuse to get In-N-Out, ahem, visit my mother, and see an aunt and uncle who had trekked down from Central California for the event.

The ceremony was, I think, designed to represent the sheer tedium that is the educational process in America -- assemble in a room about two hours, get up, move to a smaller room, see a bunch of strangers get their diplomas, Hi, Mom!, more strangers. Leave. The actual presentation of the diplomas was done quickly and efficiently, and of course, watching my mom walk for her 3rd degree (I have been there for all of them, though I don't really remember the first one!) was the best part -- the commencement address and presidents remarks weren't particularly inspiring (actually, rather depressing) but the achievement symbolized by the event was more important than the actual event.

Following, we wound up at Dick's Last Resort in the Gaslamp Quarter after walking around a bit -- for as long as I lived in Southern California I've never really spent much time in San Diego proper, let alone the Gaslamp quarter, but I can certainly understand it's appeal. Dick's on the other hand is was a little too brash for my state of mind (as my mother commented, "a nice juxtaposition against the formality of the graduation") -- with waitstaff that were openly insulting and degrading though fun. The food wasn't anything special, but it certainly was an interesting dining experience.

This morning -- as my aunt and uncle were hitting the road north to home, we stopped by the Orange Empire Railway Museum to grab a few pictures of the four of us in various combinations with my mom in graduation regalia for the benefit of my Grandfather. Growing up, I had visited OERM with both my mom and dad more times than I can remember but it's probably been close to a decade since I've been on the property -- it was amazing to see how much of it has changed and evolved and how much has stayed the same. On a future visit I'd really like to get back up there and spend the better part of the day wandering around (while I was there it occurred to me that I think I've heard of something similar somewhere in Northern Ohio and I need to look into that).

With my aunt and uncle on their way North we headed South and wound up walking to what was formerly known as Joan F. Sparkman Elementary School (now the Joan F. Sparkman Alternative Education Campus, combining a number of Temecula Valley Unified School District programs as well as select Cal State San Marcos programs), around the corner from my mom's new house and where my educational career began 22 years ago.

The prime reason for this visit though was curiosity -- the campus was built between 1988 and 1989. I started Kindergarten in 1989 (in the classroom near the center of the picture). I remember ever so vaguely in the first month or so of classes sitting for a tree planting ceremony near the main entrance, with a dedication plaque. I was curious what had become of that tree and the plaque. The tree is the giant green one behind the flagpole. The concrete post that the plaque was mounted on is still there, but it looks like the plaque was long ago removed -- so it seems like my curiosity about the actual plaque will remain unfufilled, however it's great to see the tree thriving 22 years later.

Tonight my mom and I are going to take in a show at the La Jolla Playhouse, and I'll have more on that subject later. Tomorrow I fly home, and on Monday I test drive the car that Motorcars has had delivered from Columbus just for me -- and if I like it, I buy then to take advantage of a 0.9% interest rate through the 31st, but won't actually take delivery until I get back from Kansas. I was nervous about my credit score since I have a mortgage, one credit card (with no balance), and that's it... but my score was even higher than I expected so I don't need to worry about being suprised with a higher rate at the end of this all.


No comments:

Post a Comment