San Diego Living

Transportation matters

Since moving to San Diego in 2008 I’ve taken a lot of public transportation. In fact, part of choosing where we live was proximity to public transportation.

I can catch the bus about a quarter mile from our house and the trolley is about 1.2 miles away. With a bike that means I’m 5 to 15 minutes away from one of those options all the time. Speaking of my bike– I tend to ride my bike anywhere I can within about 3 miles.

Here’s what I know

I interact with people I would never, ever encounter if I drove my car everywhere. Normal folks like me headed to/from work. Tourists perpetually lost. Homeless folks. Mentally unstable folks. Rich folks, poor folks, cops, drug dealers, addicts. And every other combination of people you can imagine.

My interactions aren’t always conversations. Sometimes it’s small talk and often times it’s just observing.

When speed and convenience become the objectives of getting where I need to go I miss out on the richness of these interactions.

No, the trolley isn’t the fastest way for me to get to work. No, riding my bike after dark on a busy street isn’t the safest option. And yes, I recognize that I’m fortunate to live in a place where these are options.

But here’s the thing: Most don’t. In fact, given the choice almost every person I know would rather get in their car and zip to their place of work than wait on a bus or ding-ding on the trolley.

Each day as I’m walking somewhere or riding my bike or sitting on the trolley zillions of cars go by. Most have a single person in them. Most of those people are doing something else. (Listening to the radio, talking on their phone, etc.)

And those of us in the slow lane are the ones smiling.

So what’s the point?

You can make the choice to slow down. Walk places when you can. Leave the car in the driveway. Make time to take time.

We all know life isn’t about getting to our destination. So why not embrace the journey in your daily life? 

San Diego Living

Paul’s Fishing Trip

Kristen and I decided that we’d give each of the big kids an experience as part of their Christmas. So Megan is going whale watching with mom and I took Paul fishing out on the open ocean.

After a lot of research online I booked our day on the Daily Double out of Point Loma Sportfishing. (Yelp review) It was pretty reasonably priced and the reviews were good, especially for those with kids.

We weren’t disappointed! We both had a great time, made a lot of memories, caught some fish, and had plenty of stories to tell.

(click on the images to see them full-sized, sorry about the upside down ones!)


Notre Dame parenting San Diego Living San Diego State Sports

Passing on a love of sports

My dad took me to lots of games at Notre Dame. Later in middle and high school it became more about football than the other sports. But I have lots of fond memories of spending time with my dad at Notre Dame basketball, hockey, and football games. I even remember a couple baseball and soccer games along the way.

Even though no one in my family went to Notre Dame, we lived so close and experienced so much there, that I have a pretty strong connection to the campus. My friends and I rode bikes all over campus. (Don’t tell my mom!) We played hide-n-seek near the Grotto and skateboarded the trail around St. Joeseph’s Lake. We yelled and made echoes between the giant buildings and dared one another to go into the administration building. (aka Golden Dome) I spent hundreds of hours in the library (aka Touchdown Jesus) during my senior year of high school and still have 10-15 unpaid parking tickets for parking in the basketball coaches spot when he wasn’t there.

But most of my memories of Notre Dame are from Saturday’s in the Fall. My dad had a group of friends who put on epic tailgate parties. 75-100 people would hang out and party between 3 motor homes starting before dawn and going until dark. When I was really young we went to almost every game because you could always find a ticket for free or almost free. That changed in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Lou Holtz had them in National Championship form year after year. But I managed to find a way in to a lot of games in those days. My stepdad had a brother who was an usher who could sneak me in. I’d get to the stadium several hours before the kickoff and sit in his usher seat during the game. When it was too cold or I’d get bored I’d climb into the scoreboard and watch the game from that little window, listening to the TV cameramen shuffle their feet above my head as they operated the endzone camera. For a couple of years my stepmom was an MBA student and we had tickets at the front of the student section. During those years I got to go to the games it was too cold for my dad and stepmom to enjoy. Cemented in my memory for a lifetime is freezing my butt off and hunting for hot chocolate during the 1992 snow bowl.

San Diego State

There’s no comparing Notre Dame to San Diego State. Pretty much everything that could be different about the two schools is different. But what isn’t different is the proximity of where we live. I grew up about a mile from Notre Dame’s campus and my kids are growing up about a mile from San Diego State’s campus. So I want my kids to experience the campus. (Um, the positive sides of campus activities!) That’s why I’m commited to taking them to football and basketball games and other fun/educational things offered on campus for kids.

I’d love for my kids to build happy memories about a place with their dad. Just like my growing up around Notre Dame… every moment isn’t memorable and not everything is going to make a lasting impression.

What are you doing to build memories with your kids? What kinds of things did you do with your parents which built lasting memories? 

Local Weather San Diego Living

San Diego blackout live blog

4:00ish – they power went out, first we thought it was just a breaker. Ten a neighbor banged on our door.

4:05 – saw on twitter lots of activity. Hearing it’s out all over San Diego. Crazy!

4:08 – trolleys are down, people are leaving work. Beer thirty came early! Thankful I didn’t go back downtown after my meeting at Journey.

4:21 – kids got bored, playing dominos. (lofi fun!)

4:32 – kids bored again. Goodbye dominos.

4:44 – hearing sirens on El Cajon Blvd. Eerily quiet out there.

4:47 – taking bets on when the power comes back on. Paul says dinner, Megan says tomorrow. When do you think? Also seeing on Twitter that parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Baja are out

4:55 – filled up a couple jugs with water, just in case.

4:59 – cell service is completely slammed. I’m not getting anything through now.

5:04 – just heard that SDGE is reporting power will be out into the night, maybe as late a tomorrow.

5:09 – off to find ice

5:15 – Vons is closed, strike 1.


5:21 – you can always trust a liquor store to be open. Unfortunately, my favorite one is sold out of ice. (avoided buying booze, tempting)

5:29 – Paul (age 8) is telling me he thinks this was caused by a solar flare.

5:37 – everywhere is either closed or out of ice. The upside is that everyone is calm and courteous on the roads. There will be a massive party tonight, you can feel that coming.

5:46 – good news, no problems with water (yet) watering the garden. It’s cooling off rapidly out there.

5:52 – looks like the gas is out, too. Thankful that our roast was already done for dinner. Weird that the gas is out.


6:04 – lots of sirens in the distance, no bueno.

6:10 – bad news on the roast, we have to eat it all.

6:21 – Filling up more stuff, the water pressure is noticeably lower. We are also sitting in the back yard now. Going to be a night of community!

6:33 – sitting outside and playing, “I survived the blackout and all I needed was an Apple, baboon, cotton candy, deer, ear plugs…

6:39 – the world may end… We have no cell service.


6:55 – going to take a walk, might as well be neighborly

7:15 – rolando community BBQ tonight, awesome. Everyone is out walking and talking. Best night ever!

7:38 – back from our walk, digging out candles. SDGE is saying maybe no power back until tomorrow. Some area have a water emergency, so far not ours. Have I mentioned how quiet it is? No planes or anything.

7:48 – darkness is arriving, the kids are pacing in a dark house. They have no idea what to do. How many hours until the sun rises?

7:56 – with darkness settling in, all I hear is chatter of neighbors, crickets, and a helicopter over City Heights. I hope the helicopter pilot got epic shots of a dark city. Crazy.

8:01 – on our walk a gas meter looking thing was running, sounded like a generator. Anyone know what that is?

8:10 – saw on twitter that school was already cancelled for tomorrow. Summer vacations revenge! Thankful our area not under water restrictions yet. Am I obsessing about water or is it just hot?

8:25 – brought the kids outside to look at the stars. The moon is almost obnoxiously bright.


8:29 – forced the children to eat all of the ice cream, also informed them that school closed tomorrow. Best day ever!

8:48 – listening to am 600. Heard they are restoring power to OC, Tijuana.

8:58 – KPBS is reporting that the power is back on at SDSU. I guess the giant toga party is ending…

9:09 – spoke to an AP reporter covering the blackout.

10:25 – we see lights on far out to the east on the hills. We secretly hate those people.

10:34 – power is on in La Mesa, just like 2 miles from here. Now I’m just wanting this over.

10:35 – if the power isn’t on by morning, filet mignon and eggs for breakfast.

10:48 – power on at SDSU & La Mesa, but Rolando? Nothing. I’m calling Jesse Jackson in the morning.

San Diego Living Travel

Mexico isn’t Scary

Not-so-scary street tacos and real Coke

I spent yesterday with some folks from Amor Ministries in Tijuana.

The point of our trip was to visit some recent Amor houses built in a colonia to create a video inviting NYWC participants to spend a day of convention there building a house. The houses we saw were anywhere from 3 days old to 10 months old. If you aren’t familiar with how it works, essentially Amor acts as an agent of blessing for a local group of pastors. Individuals from the community request help from their local church, and the pastor asks Amor to build a starter-house for a family. They intentionally don’t do everything because they want the family to come in and make it their own.

You aren't afraid of a place where children buy neon colored baby chicks, are you?

Here’s the reality for Amor (and YWAM, whom I visited last year): Fear of gang violence has lead to tons of people from the States stopping their annual trips down. Conversely, the downward dip in the economy has meant people already poor in TJ are now much poorer.

All Amor is trying to do is help the local pastor answer the question, “How can the church be Good News so that the community will hear and receive Good News?

Let me just say this: Forget what you’ve heard on the news. Yes, there are problems. Yes, drug cartel violence is horrible and deadly. But is Jesus always asking you to do the safest thing? 

But TJ is still TJ. It’s a border town. And a border town is a border town. (No one ever claimed that Sarnia or Windsor Ontario were the hallmarks of Canada, did they?) If anything it’s much more developed than it was when I first went there 10 years ago. And I don’t think there is anything there to be afraid of for you or I.

Now, if you’re buying or selling drugs. Or at a club until 2 AM. TJ might be dangerous for you. But so is Carlsbad.

San Diego Living Social Action

Ashley Judd – Children are not for sex

Powerful stuff. I hope change is underway in Georgia.

GenerateHope is an organization which helps reach out to women who have been sexually trafficked into San Diego County. As Ms. Judd points out, its more common that you’d like to think.

San Diego Living

You know you’re becoming presbyterian…

… when you recognize the dive bar in the background image of a slide during the worship service and snicker with your friends at the newfound irony to the words.

Certainly, the Tower Bar is a visual landmark in City Heights. It’s essentially a historic place in the city of San Diego. But it’s also a central meeting spot for folks in our church. We meet there to walk around the corner to Bravo’s Taco Shop. (Best burrito in City Heights) Or maybe to plan a small group outing. Or even to debrief a rough night at youth group.

And the joke is always that if someone has too much to drink they can get a tattoo in the upstair tattoo parlor aptly named, Tower Tattoo Parlor.

The connection between the words from the song and slide being a favorite place we meet was delicious.

I have a feeling that will become the official proper response for a meeting at the Tower from now on.

Where You go, I’ll go
Where you stay, I’ll stay
Where you move, I’ll move
I will follow You

San Diego Living Sports

Kawhi Leonard’s back story

It’s one thing to know about this young man’s power on the basketball court. It’s another thing to examine Kawhi Leonard’s story behind the drive, talent, and desire to succeed.

One amazing byproduct of this amazing season for SDSU is that stories like Kawhi’s get told. As the video above shows, he’s more than just a phenomenal NCAA basketball player. He’s a young man with a developing story of overcoming major life obstacles to now be just steps away from the pinnacle of college sports.

Bring on March Madness!

Bonus– Here’s a pre-game video of the student section:

San Diego Living Sports

Why you should watch SDSU vs. BYU on February 26th


family San Diego Living Sports

Late night at SDSU vs. TCU

Paul pic, originally uploaded by mclanea.

We had a good time at the game last night. But a 7:30 PM tip off is just a little too late for a 7 year old.

Context: This picture was taken after everyone had left the sold out arena. We were seated directly next to the student section. They were loud and crazy from 30 minutes before tip off until the game was over. Like 100+ decibels.

Paul passed out at halftime. Yeah, right after Coach Steve Fisher caused the place to nearly explode by arguing to get the final play of the half reversed and SDSU to make a tip in basket. And he slept through the whole second half.

I carried him on my shoulders about a mile to our car. Through campus and rowdy students, over the bridge, and past all of the freshmen dorms. (Because I’m too cheap to pay to park in the lot.)

This morning, he was bewildered at how he got from the arena to the car. But I didn’t carry him because he can’t remember that.

I wouldn’t have traded time with him for the world.