December 8, San Diego

It's hard to believe it, but we have been in San Diego for almost two months now, and are planning to leave tomorrow. We've had a perfectly wonderful time here and have enjoyed being off the road in such a beautiful place where I have plenty of family to visit. We have stayed at the same RV park as the last couple of times we were here, so we are only about five miles from Lara and her family and have spent quite a bit of time with them. Ashley is living in Escondido which is a ways north of here--about 35 miles. So we've seen her and Cleric only on weekends, but we've managed to get there almost every weekend. We went there for Halloween, when Cleric dressed as Scooby Doo, Justin as Shaggy, and Alyssa is Velma. They were very cute, and I thought they were clever to come up with "matching" outfits. All three have been growing like weeds since we were last here.

Velma, Scooby Doo and Shaggy


Lara, Justin, Cleric and Alyssa

Ashley and kids playing Monopoly

Ashley came to join us for Thanksgiving at Lara's place. I spent the first part of that week baking cookies and pies with the kids. Alyssa, in particular, was a great help and we had a lot of fun in the kitchen. Justin helped when he could tear himself away from his Xbox. He is losing interest in cooking as he gets older, I think. Lara took care of the turkey, Ashley made the Waldorf salad, and we had a great Thanksgiving dinner. Lara and Juan had brined the turkey again this year, and it turned out tender and tasty. Yea! Alyssa made birthday cakes for both Justin (12) and Ashley (22), who celebrated together on Thanksgiving Day.

We've been to a few movies, most of which we enjoyed. I didn't care for "Due Date," but Riley felt it had its moments. We both liked "Megamind," as did the kids, "Morning Glory," "Burlesque," and of course, the latest Harry Potter.

Surprisingly, we've had some off and on rainy weather, as well as colder than usual. As a result, we haven't spent any time going to our favorite birding spots in the area. We have done quite a bit of walking at Lake Murray and we see plenty of birds there, including the California Gnatcatcher which we have never seen anywhere else. We did take a day-trip on the motorcycle up to Julian to have apple pie & cinnamon ice cream--it's becoming a tradition! How many years does it take for an event to become a "tradition"?

We had one surprise visit. Randy and Ginny drove to San Diego to pick up Aaron and Atlas who were here with Burcu for a conference that she was helping put on over the weekend before Thanksgiving. They stopped by on their way back to Tucson and we had a short but pleasant visit, while Burcu returned to Menlo Park to work on her dissertation. Atlas has grown quite a bit and is walking like a champ.

Aaron, Ginny, Atlas and Randy

Margie, Riley, Atlas and Aaron

We made two visits up to Tehachapi to visit grandson Sean. The first one, we drove up in the RV and Justin and Alyssa went with us. We made a road trip out of it, spending the night at an RV park next to an airport on the edge of town. The second time I drove up with Ashley in her car and we did the trip in one day. Sean was very happy to see us both times and we were excited and happy to see him. He looked well and seemed in good spirits, caused in part, I'm sure, by our visit.

One other item of note; we hadn't been in San Diego long when we heard from Shannon that Jonny had been bitten on his right calf by a rattlesnake while playing in the front yard. Dresden took him to a nearby emergency room immediately, where Jonny was given anti-venom and then transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital. He stayed there for a couple of days until most of the swelling had gone away. Jonny had a lot of bruising on his leg and it hurt to walk on it initially, but he has since recovered completely. This caused us all a lot of worry--thank goodness for anti-venom and good doctors.

Tomorrow, we will drive to Yuma to have a short visit with granddaughter Channie and attend a performance of the high school choir of which she is a member.

Love to all,
Margie & Riley

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