Downey and Long Beach, 31 December 2014

Having had a few full days, we were ready for a less hectic one. We checked out this year's Downey entry to the Tournament of Roses Parade, then down to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. The best way to end the day was with a New Year's Eve dinner.

Downey Rose Float

Every year I go to the Downey Rose Float Association barn to check out their float, and this year was no exception. The theme was Home For The Holidays and featured a horse-drawn carriage going over a bridge and a couple ice skating. The people were in period costumes representing men in the military and their wives. It ended up winning the National Award, given to the float with the best depiction of life in the USA, past, present, or future.

When we arrived, they were removing flowers from the float. Judging was earlier in the morning, so they had thrown things on to show the judges what the float would look like, then removed them so they could continue other work.

Aquarium of the Pacific

Next was going to Long Beach, so we parked the car at the train station and rode down to Long Beach. It was lunchtime, so we looked for a café and found one I hadn't been to before. It ended up being quite nice, had good wireless. They also sold macarons, so we couldn't resist getting a couple.

We then walked down through The Pike, which had a lot of construction going on. There were many empty storefronts in it, which wasn't good to see, but hopefully the work they're doing will help revitalize the shopping center.

Once we arrived at the Aquarium of the Pacific, we divided again so we could see various things at our own paces. The aquarium has done a lot of subtle changes since I was last there a few years ago; the moon jelly touch pool, penguin exhibit, steelhead exhibit, and animal care exhibit were all new to me.

Melody and I ended up going through practically all areas, and were ready to grab a small snack since it wasn't long until we had all planned to meet up. After Kellen and Noël were ready, we took the train back to the car, grabbed some groceries, then went back to my parents' house.

New Year's Eve

My Aunt Frances once again joined us for dinner, where she brought a ham that my dad cooked along with candied yams, green beans/carrots, and rice. All very good, and we had plenty to eat. After dinner it was time for me to start making rainbow jello to take to New Year's Day at my cousin's house. It went pretty smoothly, although when I checked the freezer shelf for level, it looked pretty good, but when I actually used it, I must have shifted over a bit, since the pan ended up being a little less level. Fortunately it only makes a difference for the bottom layer, and I knew I'd be cutting the jello into small enough pieces that it wouldn't be noticeable.

As the night went on, there were more and more fireworks. At midnight, however, there were even more, but they didn't last very long. Neither did I, falling asleep a few minutes after midnight.