January 2010 Archives

Awake: 7:52am      Temp 56      sleep 7+28      mostly sunny      overnight @ San Diego.

After breakfast, Kathy did (3) loads of laundry.

Early afternoon, we walked outside the campground for (1.5) miles; a cool breeze from the northwest kept us from walking further.

While we were walking, Katrina called & we took turns talking with her. She is hosting a dinner party at her condo tonight for some of her AK friends; Bjorn is making stew & Katrina is making biscuits & dessert.

Along the way, I spotted a group of fliers that were obviously either re-fueling, having mechanical problems or just taking a break. I didn't even ask if it was OK to take photos, I just started shooting. I think the ole man had his eye on me though!
.DSC08570.JPG Back @ our home on wheels, we both spent some more time working on x-work puzzles & reading. We have a number of programs recorded for later this evening, including the President's speech.

Dinner: pork chops, fried noodles, broccoli, cauliflower & red peppers.

Late evening movie: "Juggernaut" with Richard Harris, Omar Sharif, David Hemmings, Anthony Hopkins, Shirley Knight, etc. Surprisingly effective thriller about bomb threat on luxury ocean liner, and demolition experts' attempts to avoid disaster, 1974. Wow! We didn't expect so much drama & suspense. Again, my mate encouraged me to "keep it going" captain.

Lights out: 12:08am. 
Awake: 7:18am    Temp 48    sleep 6+37     mostly sunny     overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Around noon time, K & I drove over to the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. We've read that they have (2) hidden bridges that span the canyons making it easier for people to get from streets on one side to streets on the other side of the canyon. This was especially true during the early yrs.

In case you don't know; to enlarge a picture, click on the thumbnail photo. 

The 1st hidden bridge, on Quince & 3rd Street, is a trestle bridge built in 1905 for $805. The 236-foot long bridge spans Maple Canyon & connects 4th & 3rd avenues. Due to dry rot & termites, it was slated for demolition in the late 1980s. Deemed a landmark, it reopened in 1990 after a $250,000 renovation, still retaining 30% of its original wood. DSC08543.JPG We crossed over the bridge in both directions noting the great view of the city skyline & of the canyon 60 feet below. Also note the trail below with an overflow dry stream; we couldn't resist hiking that trail. DSC08546.JPG We had no idea of the length of this trail but after about (20) min, we passed a few hikers who told us the trail would end into a street not far from where we were. Under threatening clouds, we decided to turn around, retracing our steps & taking a few photos from below the Quince St. Bridge. DSC08553.JPG Amazingly enough, as we walked back toward the 1st hidden bridge, we discovered another kind of hidden bridge that probably gets little recognition. DSC08552.JPG                             We affectionately named it: "The tree bridge." DSC08556.JPG Kathy wanted her picture taken under the bridge; just look at that smile!

En route to the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge, we parked our car where we had a grand photo opportunity as we watched aircraft landing @ Lindberg Field, San Diego.I was ok with snapping photos of Southwest Aircraft, & other aircraft, DSC08560.JPG but when a Delta jet flew by, resurrecting memories of our expired Delta passes & the loss of cheap world wide flights, I just had to leave & focus on other less melancholy things. DSC08559.JPG (2) blocks away from the airshow, We find the Suspension Bridge, which was built in 1912 & crosses over the Kate Sessions Canyon. This 375 foot steel suspension bridge is almost inconspicuous as you walk west along Spruce Street just west of First Avenue. DSC08569.JPG As you start crossing & with a little intentional extra motion, you realize the bridge actually bounces, then sways as you continue walking. Here too, is a path below that looked like a hiking opportunity but, getting down into the canyon did not look feasible. Besides, the sky was threatening & I preferred not risking rain & a muddy trail. DSC08563.JPG DSC08567.JPG As you can see, this suspension bridge was built right using some heavy metal & cable. So don't be shy, give the bridge a try & you'll agree, I do not lie.

The nearby homes were so eloquently built, well maintained, etc; we just had to walk around the block admiring what we saw.

From here, Kathy discovered a nearby Trader Joe's on University St., so we stocked up on milk & some veggies before returning to our home on wheels.

Evening rain came shortly after 6:00pm.

Dinner: salmon with rice, mixed salad with homemade dressing & almost fresh mango.

We finished watching: "Something of Value" with Rock Hudson, Dana Wynter, Sidney Poitier, Wendy Hiller, Frederick O'Neal. Robert Ruark's novel transformed to screen, sharply detailing brutal Mau Mau warfare in Kenya. Hudson & Poitier are fine as British colonial farmer & his childhood friend. 1957. Not a comfortable movie to watch. Based on a true story: it is sometimes called the Mau Mau Rebellion or the Mau Mau Revolt, and, in official documents, the Kenya Emergency.

Lights out: 12:24am. 
Awake: 7:54am    Temp 47    sleep 6+32     mostly sunny     overnight @ San Diego, CA.

The other day, Saturday, when K & I did our 5.5 mile walk, we thought we had walked the entire trail around Mission Bay...but we were wrong.

So early afternoon, we drove over to where we thought the trail ended, parked the Suzuki & continued walking on another section of the trail. A cool west wind got my attention as we started so I was glad to have my wind breaker along...as I used it 90% of the time. We kept seeing signs along the way with no clues of distance or destination. DSC08535.JPG Turns out: after walking (1.5) miles, this trail led to a dead-end pavilion for picnic purposes. However, we were impressed with the (2) trails; one for bikes & the other for walkers. DSC08537.JPG Dinner: stuffed peppers, coleslaw, & whole wheat bread + fresh mango.

Evening movie: "Something of Value." We watched ½.

Lights out: 12:41am.
Awake: 7:55am      Temp 44       sleep 8+07      sunny       overnight @ San Diego, CA.

 After breakfast, Kathy suggested that we drive over to Coronado & watch an outdoor concert @ the Coronado Ferry Landing today. Great idea & maybe we should invite Sallie & Larry to join us.

Larry & Sallie were on the driving range hitting golf balls with one of their grandkids, Levi. Larry said they were just about finished but had to 1st take Zeb home, then drive up the hill & take Teddy (the dog) back to their daughter Carrie's place & then they would pick us up.

It's wonderful having the good weather here in San Diego again; otherwise we wouldn't be going to this outdoor concert. Larry & Sallie picked us up & before we knew it, we were over the bridge to Coronado & parking near the Ferry Landing & concert.

With a short walk, we heard the (50's & 60's rock & roll music), & hung around for awhile watching a few couples dance while listening to our ole songs of yesteryear. What a great spot for a park & such a nice view of the city skyline across the inlet.



DSC08513.JPGFrom here, we sashayed around the block; Sallie saw an "Open House" sign for a condo townhouse for sale. Why not take a look, she suggested. The realtor was friendly, answered all of our questions & let us roam throughout.

Definitely a good location (except for the high voltage electrical power transformers practically in the backyard) & the townhouse was in beautiful shape, etc. But...also had a "great" price: $1,375,000. That's down from $1,595,000.

Next, Larry wanted to show us the Strand going south along the Pacific Ocean. A great deal of Coronado belongs to the Navy, so as we rode south on the Strand, we witnessed a lot of Navy stuff. Like the Navy Amphibious base, the navel base for the big ships, & the United States Navel Radar Station, etc.

We did stop to check out the Silver Strand where there is a Campground & one can dry camp right close to the ocean..... for a fee or course. One drawback: when it rains hard like it did last week, the campers have to vacate in the face of flooding & high surf.

Larry continued the tour; we came within a mile of the Mexican Border but turned north on I-5 to Chula Vista where we rode through the Chula Vista RV Park & Marina, just looking the place over. Nice, & with a lot of big rigs squeezed into the tight campsites.

We continued riding north & now we were coming close to downtown San Diego again. At that point, Sallie made a phone call & Larry did the talking. They called their daughter's father-in-law, Shaul, living downtown & asked if they would like to have some company.

We rode up the elevator to the 16th floor & met Shaul & Mabel. What a stunning view from the middle of downtown San Diego! K & I stood on their porch & were mesmerized by Shaul's description of what all we could see from their condo. Here is what it's like Looking down on the swimming pool & BBQ area. DSC08517.JPG                      Now looking west from the city with  nightfall close behind. DSC08526.JPG After a thorough scanning outside on the porch, & a tour of their very attractive condo (actually two apts that they converted to one), we sat & gabbed for awhile. When the subject of food was brought up, it was decided to have dinner at the "Fish Market Restaurant." Child car seats take up lots of room (Shaul & Mabel have 10 grandchildren) which necessitated driving the (4) blocks to the restaurant in (2) cars.

K & I shared a Yellow Fin Tuna with veggies & fish rice. Of course we gabbed a lot during dinner & more & more realized that Mabel & Shaul are really nice people. They have traveled the world & are very knowledgeable about many things plus they are amiable, unaffected, & genuine. DSC08533.JPG Just outside the restaurant, there is a Bob Hope memorial display with statues of WWII soldiers listening to Bob's entertainment (actual performances played over loud speakers). DSC08532.JPG Further down the sidewalk is another statue of "The Kiss." Not quite the height that we experienced with the Unconditional Surrender in Sarasota, Florida last yr. No picture.

We said our goodbyes to Mabel & Shaul for now & Larry headed back to our campground, dropping us off @ the security gate.

What an interesting day; an informative tour of places we had not been & an introduction & pleasant visit with Shaul & Mabel. Sallie & Larry are getting way ahead of us; how can we possibly keep up with these guys!

Evening movie: "A Few Good Men" with Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, Demi Moore, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland, etc. As a slick young Navy lawyer (cruise) is driven to investigate the case of two Marines who killed a compatriot. Nicholson bristles as the commanding officer of the base who doesn't want the whole story told. Smashing courtroom climax, top-grade performances all around. 1992. You won't nod off watching this thriller; my mate wanted to see it all...no matter what the hr.

Lights out: 1:22am.

 Awake: 6:46am     Temp 47     sleep 6+32      early rain, then sun    overnight @ S. Diego.

Kathy called Donna in Nicktown & they updated each other on nearly everything possible.

Later I talked with John in Nicktown & we also shared a little informing. Kathy has wanted to check out a Thrift Store not too far from our campground, which we pass so many times but don't stop. Two of our bowls have cracked & gone by the wayside so she is casually looking for replacements. DSC08506.JPG
The place was cleaner then most thrift stores & quite organized but, no bowls of interest.

Next, we drove south for about (2) miles & discovered a very busy, small, neighborhood, store. We were both impressed with what they carried; i.e. good looking variety of fresh fish & meat, as well frozen duck, wild venison & elk meat, & other frozen delicacies. Next to this store was a fish market & restaurant with a variety of fresh fish.

The only downside to this find; their prices were far above the stores we usually shop @.

Mid afternoon, the sky was clearing up nicely, so we decided to put some more miles on our walking shoes; 5.5 miles to be exact. We think we walked to the end of the trail & back. DSC08499.JPG After a quick change of clothes, we attended the 5:30 pm vigil Mass @ the Church of St. Mary Magdalene.

Dinner: leftover minestrone with whole grain bread.

Evening movie: "Man Hunt" with Walter Pidgeon, Joan Bennett, George Sanders, John Carradine, etc. Farfetched yet absorbing drama of man attempting to kill Hitler getting into more trouble than he bargained for. 1941. Farfetched but could have easily been a true story during the 1940s.

Lights out: 11:48pm.

Awake: 6:20am    Temp 52    sleep 6+17    early rain    then off & on sunshine, then more rain    overnight @ San Diego.

We spent most of the morning indoors; reading, & doing X-word puzzles, etc. But during the sunshine periods, we had to get some deals @ Costco before they expired, & also a few things from Trader Joe's & Henry's Farmers Market before the next wave of rain. We also recorded the news & political activities before we left.   


@ 6:30pm, sudden & strong winds, heavy rain with hail; having hail for (2) min was definitely different.


Dinner: sesame seed crusted tuna steak, cauliflower in Boursin sauce, & brown rice.


Late evening movie: "Carnal Knowledge" with Jack Nicholson, Candice Bergen, Arthus Garfunkel, Ann-Margret, Rita Moreno, etc. Thought-provoking (if depressing) look at the sexual attitudes and obsessions of two male friends, from college through middle age. Ann-Margret won acclaim for performance as Nicholson's kittenish mistress. 1971. Thought-provoking for sure... & definitely not for children.


Lights out: 12:14am.



Awake: 7:00am     Temp 60     sleep 6+32     rain     overnight @ San Diego, CA.


Did you ever hear the expression, "not much to talk about but the weather!" Well, here goes:


During the morning, we had some intermittent strong winds with heavy rain; then sunshine until about 3:00pm. Next, a short rain & then a strong wave burst @ 7:05....then nothing until 11:15pm, when a short burst led up to more heavy rain & a thunderstorm.

I was certainly glad we weren't asleep because we surely would have awakened with all the noise that system manufactured.


Zack called just before 7:00pm; he & Nick walked together to Nick's condo from work & now Zack has another (25) min walk before reaching his place. We had a good (32) min gab session covering a number of interesting subjects which we cannot divulge @ this time. I will say that we both enjoy these impromptu phone calls the boys are able to make now & then. And so: "we thank you boys & you too, Katrina, you do good as well."  



We finished watching: "Wag the Dog" with Dustin Hoffman, Anne Heche, Denis Leary, Willie Nelson, Andrea Martin, etc. A desperate White House team, eager to fend off impending negative publicity about the President, hires a political fixer (De Niro) who recruits a hotshot Hollywood producer (Hoffman) to stage a nonexistent war, simply to distract the public. 1997. Who knows, we may be having these same distractions by our government during these current times!


Lights out: 12:03am.  

Awake: 7:17am     Temp 51     sleep 7+19     heavy rain & wind     overnight @ S. Diego.


Early morning rain & winds kept us indoors until around noon time; then a lull gave us the opportunity to walk around Mission bay for an hr. The water level in Mission Bay by the way, was definitely higher & chunks of palm cuttings were scattered around the grounds.


When we returned from our walk, Larry called; he & Sallie are having lunch @ the Vietnamese Pho Time Restaurant & would like to have us join them....which we did.


During our time with Sallie & Larry, mild rain & wind began. After eating, we were close enough to Trader Joe's & Henry's that we did some light grocery shopping.


Back in our motorhome, we were excited to watch the political news on Satellite....however, waves of strong winds & heavy rain blocked out our TV signals for the rest of the evening. So, it was a crossword puzzle, reading evening until movie time.

Dinner: The Pho Time meal was ample food for the day.   


Movie with a snack of popcorn & mixed nuts: "Wag the Dog." We watched ¾.


Lights out: 12:28am.

Awake: 7:24am Temp 49 sleep 7+38 heavy rain & strong winds forecast S. Diego.

Kathy made Matzo Brie (fried Matzo) for breakfast; it's been a long time since I've had this treat.

I prepared for the weather forecast & emptied our gray water tank before Kathy did (1) load of laundry.

We spent another day inside our motorhome reading books, doing x-word puzzles, computer time, etc. It's difficult to judge which day (so far) the winds were strongest & the rain the heaviest. It's like every day (so far) is a déjà vu day.

I did talk with Larry & he told the story about his near neighbor who had a large tree blown down onto his 5th wheel RV; in fact, a healthy limb penetrated their bedroom. He will show us a picture next time we get together. Fortunately there were no injuries. Speaking of pictures....feast your eyes on these humdingers; our current reading material that hopefully, will keep our brains & memories active.                    
                                               This one is our favorite. DSC08494.JPG
                                            Or maybe it was this one? DSC08497.JPG                                 No, I'm pretty sure it was the 1st one? DSC08496.JPG                                      Ahh, now I remember, this is the one. DSC08493.JPG Dinner: Sesame, herbs de province, sliced tuna with avocado over Romaine lettuce.

Evening movie: "A Child is waiting" with Burt Lancaster, Judy Garland, Gena Rowlands, Steven Hill, etc. Poignant story of Lancaster's attempts to treat retarded children with the help of overly sympathetic Garland. Sensitive subject handled with honesty and candor. 1963. Very touching & well done.

 Lights out: 11:58pm.

Awake: 7:07am   Temp 58    sleep 5+38     mid morn rain    overnight @ San Diego, CA.


With the outside temp a little cool, we were content to just hang out in our motorhome all morning & afternoon; doing some reading, X-word puzzles, etc.

Aside from Kathy's regular morning programs, our main TV stays off all day until around 6:00pm ...6:30pm. Only then do we catch-up on the news & political activities.


Only...today was different; the mid morning rain was nice. Most of CA needs water (rain) so it was a good start.


Around 12:30pm, Kathy called Sallie; they talked for awhile & then Kathy held the phone away to let me know that Sallie invited us to go see a movie with them. I wasted no time in declining their offer. Besides, Sallie was sort of fighting a sore throat.


Also, I had been monitoring the NOAA (weather forecast) for San Diego & I did not want to go anywhere today if their prediction came true. Kathy accepted that position & we continued our cozy & casual day.


Sometime after 3:30pm, a blanket of darkness rolled over our campground followed by strong winds & heavy rain...howling in with a vengeance.


It takes a strong wind to rock & roll our motorhome around & we were getting that. We found out later that the winds were gusting as high as (60+) mph. We had a small river flowing down our street.


Dinner: Minestrone with bread. Long time no have....and it was delicious


Mid evening, the weather calmed down enough for us to watch (3) programs: "ABC news, Jeopardy, & O'Reilly."   


 Evening recorded movie: "A Child is waiting." We watched ½.


Lights out: 11:46pm.   

Awake: 7:45am Temp 53 sleep 7+24 overcast Overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Before breakfast, using the Apple computer, I Skyped my ole buddy Ray in Ocean Park, WA for (34) min of good talk & updating. Ray has been flying some of his model airplanes during decent weather days along with other friends of model fliers. I am envious.

Kathy made sourdough pancakes with all the trimmings for breakfast. 1st time since August of last yr, & they were yummy.

After breakfast I got a surprise call from my Brookhaven Laboratory buddy, Ed; he & his wife Mary Ann are wintering again in St. Augustine, FL for (3--4) months. We visited Ed & Mary Ann the 1st week of March last yr @ their rented condo in Florida. We fully remember the nice layout those guys have as they escape the winter months from their home in Port Jefferson, Long Island, NY.

Then K & I drove downtown to Balboa Park & toured the San Diego Model Railroad Museum for a good (1.2) hrs. Oh, my gosh! Look @ all those people waiting to get into the very popular Railroad Museum. UGH! DSC08434.JPG Oops, my mistake! They were merely watching a magician do his tricks. The not so crowded rail museum was perfect for our visit; we could easily speak to the controllers & have our questions answered pronto. DSC08435.JPG There are @ least (6) different model train layouts; each different train route displays a route leading into, or out of California during the olden days, current time or even one that was surveyed but not completed. DSC08445.JPG Dang....wrong photo. Be patient, I'll figure this out yet! Replicating the scenery of the mountains, hills, tunnels, trestles, towns, villages etc, was absolutely astounding. My photos don't really do it justice. Downtown USA  somewhere in CA. DSC08459.JPG A tied score...Bases are loaded....full count...here comes the pitch>>>>> DSC08462.JPG Trestle & tunnel through the mountains... DSC08451.JPG They should have taken the train. DSC08447.JPG The Railroad museum was great! Now to a different world. We walked about (5) min to the outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion & enjoyed Dr. Carol Williams wonderful organ tunes. DSC08468.JPG Every Sunday for an hr, weather permitting, she can be seen & heard here @ the Pavilion @ 2:00pm. DSC08470.JPG From here, we drove our Suzuki around the Balboa Park perusing many of the other museum buildings & activities. However, dark clouds were upon us as we returned to our campground.

@ the campground, we had a short visit with our nearby neighbors who are planning to leave tomorrow for Las Vegas. We wished them a Bon Voyage & safe travels just as the rain drops began to fall; we all headed indoors.

Next, I called my Nicktown buddy, John, to find out if he is weathering the winter ok. He tells me that they have had a mild week for a change. We had a lot to talk about; (31) min to be exact.

Dinner: chicken-noodle soup, mixed salad & bread.

Earlier we missed a call from Melissa, so Kathy called & by some small miracle, she answered. We both listened & talked using our split cord system for (33) min. Everyone at the Foote castle is doing well.

Melissa told us of an incident...Matthew & Andrew were playing on the third floor when someone rang the doorbell. They came charging down the stairs, saying "is it Gramma & G-daddy?" They were disappointed to find out it was not us & we were warmed to know that we're thought about & maybe even missed by our grandsons.

Evening movie: "Kramer vs. Kramer" with Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander, Justin Henry, Howard Duff, George Coe, etc. Wife walks out on upwardly mobile husband, leaving him to fend for himself and young son; intelligent, beautifully crafted, intensely moving film. Oscar winner for Best Picture, Actor, Screenplay, Director, Supporting Actress. 1979. Need I say more?

Lights out: 1:29am.
Awake: 7:11am     Temp 52     sleep 7+14     mostly sunny     overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Kathy has been scouring the local area for Flea markets lately & has zoomed in on the big one called: "Kobey's" on Sports Arena Boulevard, a mere (3) miles from our campground.

One of the reviews on Kobey's said this: "At Kobe's you will find everything from fresh fruit to used tires." "You can go in and sell your things, or get other people's stuff for a steal." "That said, it IS one of the best markets in price." "Good swap meet." DSC08433.JPG After about (3) hrs of casual looking, & moving through the crowd, we both agreed on the Kobey review. For the most part, the tables, tents, homemade display areas were reasonably organized & maintained. DSC08431.JPG Keep in mind, all the dealers had to set up their wares on their spot before 7:00am &, save for only a special corner, could not be taken down & moved out until 3:30pm. Then do it all again the following day...if they wanted to.

One display got my attention @ the Flea market; a 1950's furniture set....looking like new. Feast your eyes on this chance of a lifetime! No, I wouldn't buy it myself; I just thought it was in such great shape. DSC08432.JPG Kathy made a few fruit purchases along with other trinkets; I bought a small wire brush that can attach to my drill.... & a Jagermeister (Deer Hunter) German liquor glass.

Later, K & I attended the 5:30pm vigil Mass @ the Church of St. Mary Magdalene; the church on the hill.

Dinner: leftovers...Italian sausage & eggplant casserole

We enjoyed a Skype call from Nick for (70) min using our Apple computer. We had a sharp picture with clear audio during Skype time. He gave us a wonderful synopsis of his work week with Isilon. I do believe Nick is enjoying his position more & more as an active blogger on the corporate website, an active spokesperson at conferences, & spending more time on the road helping sales and customers.

Jerry would occasionally visit the Skype screen & talk with us & then go & do other things. We were delighted to have such a smooth Skype session; thanks to Nick, Eriko & Jerry.

Evening movie: "I Love You Alice B. Toklas" with Peter Sellers, Jo Van Fleet, Leigh Taylor-Young, Joyce Van Patten. Excellent comedy about the freaking out of mild-mannered L.A. lawyer Sellers has never been better. 1968. Entertaining to say the least.

Lights out: 12:21am. 
Awake: 7:56am     Temp 51      sleep 6+53     mostly cloudy     overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Mid morning, Kathy did a thorough cleaning job inside our motorhome: dusting, vacuuming, mopping the tile floors, etc. Meanwhile, I took advantage of having a large trash barrel nearby to get rid of more "stuff" that we just don't use or want in our home anymore.

After Kathy finished, I was honored to be chosen for cleaning the hair & rug fiber & other stuff from the vacuum cleaner's beater bar & filter.

Our trusty portable box heater has been complaining off & on for awhile now; DSC08489.JPG the motor still runs but it sounds like it's missing a winding on the armature. I wanted to open the unit up but, the screws holding it together are small Torx (star) type; the torx drivers I have are not small enough. DSC08487.JPG Dinner: Tilapia fish, brown rice with golden raisins & walnuts & broccoli.

Evening movie: "Tom Thumb" with Russ Tamblyn, June Thorburn, Peter Sellers, Terry-Thomas, Alan Young, etc. Excellent children's picture with Tamblyn as tiny tom thumb, taken in by kindly couple but exploited by villainous Terry-Thomas and Henchman Sellers. 1958. Excellent children's picture tells all, & yes, we did watch it all!

After that scary & dazzling movie, we tamed it down a bit by watching some of the pre-recorded "White House" tour by Laura Bush.

Lights out: 11:57pm.
Awake: 6:55am      Temp 51       sleep 6+29       sunny       overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Early afternoon, K & I motored northeast about (3.5) miles & toured the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum @ the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

The 1st question I asked to the retired guys in the museum who greeted us: why are you called the Flying Leathernecks? One retired guy answered & said it refers to the high collar found on the Marines Corps uniforms, which used to be made out of leather to protect the neck and jugular vein of the soldiers when in hand-to-hand combat from being slashed.

He continued: beginning in 1798, one stock, about three and one half inches high, of black leather and a clasp which fastened in the back was issued to each U. S. Marine annually.

Besides protecting the marine from being beheaded, it kept a Marine's head erect on parade. The stock was dropped as an article of Marine uniform in 1872, but by then it was a part of American vocabulary, a word preserved, like so many words, beyond its original meaning.

That guy was pretty good @ dishing out the info but to back him up, I had to use a little of: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Doh! I completely forgot to check the old uniforms in the museum to see the leatherneck itself.

We had to walk through the museum to the outside to self tour the aircraft displays. There were only (3) piston WWII aircraft; all the other planes were jets from the Korean & Vietnamese Wars, etc. This is the only official Marine Corps aviation museum in the western United States. DSC08429.JPG
After returning from our museum tour, we took a 2.2 mile walk around the campground before joining the gang for dinner @ the: "World Famous" restaurant on Pacific Beach Drive.

Kathy & I each had our own dinner for a change; she had a romaine/spring greens with filet salad & I had a spinach & scallop salad. We should have shared a meal as our plates were nearly too generous but quite delicious.

Tonight's gang of (6): seated from left to right to left: Larry, Ken, Sallie, Lee.....Kay, Kathy, me, & Bill. We had a fun time with these interesting people. DSC08430.JPG Evening movie: "Groundhog Day" with Bill Murray, Andi Mac-Dowell, Chris Elliott, Stephen Tobolowsky, etc. Smug TV weatherman goes to Punxsutawney, Pa, to cover the Groundhog Day ceremony, and fines himself trapped in a daily replay of the same 24 hours. Clever comedy-fantasy keeps coming up with new twists & turns, even when you're sure there's nowhere else it can go. An ideal vehicle for Murray with many funny moments. 1993. If you haven't seen this, add it to your list...& behind it all, there is a good message.

Lights out: 1:03am.
Awake: 7:03an     Temp 61     sleep 7+31     light drizzle     overnight @ San Diego, CA.

We both slept fairly well overnight with no one knocking on our door, ringing our door bell or beeping Horns to wake us up. We've been told that if you park the motorhome within the parking lines, you won't be bothered by the night security.

@ 12:00 noon, Kathy drove the Suzuki & I followed her back across the parking lot in the motorhome to check in @ the campground office, get another key & pay the fee; good for another (30) days.  

We like our new campsite even more than the 1st. Most of the afternoon slipped easily away while reading, computer usage & doing crossword puzzles.

Katrina called early evening; she was shopping @ Costco in Denver on her way home from school. She had a question about which multi-vitamins were better to buy; she & Kathy worked it out.

Dinner: eggplant casserole with Italian sausage, & mandarin oranges.  

We finished watching: "The Hospital" with George C. Scott, Diana Rigg, Barnard Hughes, Nancy Marchand, Richard A. Dysart, etc. Sardonically funny view of modern city hospital where bitterly discouraged doctor (Scott) is drawn into chaos by crazy girl (Rigg) and her scheming father. Oscar-winning script makes fun of serious situation by turning it into Marx Brother-ish lunacy; ultimate truth in what's being said leaves viewer somewhat sad. 1971. Wow! My sister Mary Jo would love watching this one; as did Kathy.

Lights out:  12:26am.      

Awake: 7:27am      Temp 49      sleep 6+53     sunny       overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Mid morning, Dick the retired logger, dropped by to say his goodbyes; we exchanged address & phone # cards.

@ 12:01pm, Kathy drove the Suzuki while I pulled out of our campsite #136 with our motorhome & parked @ the campground office. We turned in our key & re-registered for another campsite starting tomorrow afternoon; 24 hrs later.

Next I drove about 1000 feet & parked our motorhome in a spacious parking lot that primarily is available for daytime use people who visit the park & there are many. We'll keep our slides retracted & sleep on individual couches to draw less attention to ourselves as we are not 100% sure that overnight parking is permitted. DSC08413.JPG
Meanwhile, a shopping we will go; 1st, top off our Suzuki's fuel tank @ Costco with (14) gal @ $2.89 per gallon, & then more grocery shopping @ Costco. After storing the foodstuff in our motorhome, we again walked the trail around Mission Bay for a total of 3.5 miles of good exercise. As we walked along the concrete trail, we observed a steady stream of traffic that never seems to end on I-5 leading to downtown San Diego. DSC08414.JPG Evening sunset gave us a few photo opportunities that we had not planned for; we projected our return to the motorhome before sundown. You are looking across a small section of Mission Bay & seeing a few lucky people who have some nice homes. DSC08418.JPG After a change of clothes, we drove over to the Pacific Beach area, found the Vietnamese "Pho Time Restaurant" on Garnet Ave & joined Ken, Lee, Sallie & Larry for dinner.

Ken & Lee have eaten here before but for the rest of us, a new experience. They helped us in ordering, so our meals were basically big bowls of seafood soup with different veggies & spring rolls. Very healthy with lots of different options; next time, I would like to try more & different options.

After a "goodnight" to the gang, K & I motored a few blocks & bought organic milk @ Henry's & Stilton cheese @ Trader Joe's.

With our generator running for about (2) hrs, we watched recorded ABC news, Jeopardy, & the O'Reilly Factor.

No movie tonight.

Generator shut down & lights out: 11:32pm.
Awake: 6:34am Temp 49 sleep 6+20 sunny overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Sallie called & invited us to take a ride with them to Copley Park Place & other areas. Larry is looking for a sturdy plank or something to place under his motorhome tires so that he can cross over a dip in the road or a curb when parking at his daughter's house. Only (1) driveway is allowed & it leads to the garage. Larry is looking for a way to prevent harm to the rear of his motorhome.

We ended up visiting La Mesa Motorhome sales & Holland RV sales both @ the Copley Park Place. Initially we were distracted by so many new motorhomes in the sales lots..... so we climbed aboard @ least (6--8) new RV's & examined their floor plan, structure, kitchen, bathroom, etc. Larry noted that the prices were down from last yr. Most of the RV's in the sales lots were new, but one stood out as not so new: a Newell, 1988. Look closely to the right for a 1/3 view. This old Newell is the only motorhome we have seen having a bathtub. DSC08411.JPG The parts department didn't have what Larry was looking for, so we moved on to the next hunt: the Mitsuwa Market place in the Kearny Mesa neighborhood.

This is the biggest of all Japanese stores we have visited in the USA. Here Sallie purchased (3) Japanese bowls to replace the ones that she recently broke & a box of (5) smaller monkey bowls for her grandkids.

Mid afternoon was upon us so Larry purchased some sushi & twisted our arms to help clean off the plate. It was a real treat to help Larry. Next stop, Barnes & Noble book store @ the Hazard Shopping Center. Sallie spent some time looking for books to purchase as a gift for a friend's new baby while the rest of us perused books of interest.

Back @ Sallie & Larry's campsite, we made plans for tomorrow's rendezvous for a Vietnamese dinner with S & L & other friends, Ken & Lee.

Evening movie: "The Hospital." We watch ½.

Lights out: 12:34am.


Awake: 7:05am     Temp 55     sleep 6+33     sunny     overnight @ San Diego, CA.

My sister Corinne called @ 8:45am. Kathy & I took turns talking; she reports a beautiful white covering around Lilly, PA wherever she looks; about (14--16) inches of snow presently. During my conversation with Corinne, our retired logger neighbor stopped by & wanted to show us the house his wife designed & they built in Oregon. They had  geo-thermal heating & cooling. He gave us a fairly full description of his house. Since then, they have downsized considerably. Dick & his wife are leaving for Yuma, AZ on Tuesday.

Next time we talk with my sister Corinne, I'll make up for the lost time I didn't have this time.

Meanwhile, Kathy did (3) more loads of laundry while I read some in our books we ordered for ourselves for Christmas.

K & I left @ 12:30ish, drove over to the campground office & reserved a different campsite for Wednesday. This campground has a (30) day maximum stay; the guests & the RV must leave the property for (24) hrs before returning for a new stay. NO exceptions.

Our next door neighbor, Bill, has been living in his motorhome for (5) yrs now in this campground. Every month he moves out for (24) hrs & then moves back in. Tuesday is our day for moving out & staying out for (24) hrs.

We signed up for another month because we like this climate & we like hanging out with Larry & Sallie; plus there are plenty of interesting things to see & do.

Early afternoon K & I motored across town to Fry's Electronics on Stonecrest Blvd. 1st of all, we bought an extra air filter for our Eureka Optima vacuum cleaner, & then a few ink cartridges for our Canon printer. After that, K & I gave ourselves an hour to go our separate ways to look @ the things we are most interested in.

Fry's has so many things of interest, I could have spent several hrs; maybe next time.      

 Dinner: sausage, fried onions & peppers.

Evening movie: "Up the Down Staircase" with Sandy Dennis, Patrick Bedford, Eileen Heckart, Ruth White, Jean Stapleton, Sorrell Booke, etc. Film version of Bel Kaufman's bestseller about N.Y.C. public schools is too slickly handled to be taken seriously, but generally entertaining. 1967. Entertaining it was. Our teacher Katrina should watch this one sometime.

Lights out: 12:14am.

Awake: 7:07am Temp 51 sleep 6+18 sunny overnight @ San Diego, CA.

After our healthy breakfast, and Kathy doing (1) laundry load, we headed to downtown San Diego & found the Little Italy Farmers Market. Parking was a problem but we lucked out & took over a recently vacated spot that had @ 10 min already paid.

Within (1) block, we started blending in with the crowd & working our way uphill. The venders were very generous with their samples, so much so that I felt a little guilty tasting some things so good but not wanting to buy...especially so soon. The Market extended (4) blocks on both sides of Date St, exhibiting food, flowers, textiles, pottery, soap, etc. DSC08406.JPG Fortunately or unfortunately, the generosity didn't change. The samples varied from fresh produce & fish to chocolate & salsas; from grape seed & olive oils to nuts & bread, etc.

After what seemed like an hr of tasting & partying, we began talking about our parking meter time. Following a short visit to & perusal of Our Lady of the Rosary -Italian National Catholic Parish church, DSC08409.JPG we made a quick trip back to our car & found that we had (10) min remaining.

Calculating how much longer we might hang around vs. a quarter per (10) mins of time; we started the engine & cruised the area to find a no charge parking space. Now it's time vs. burning fuel; we were about to give up when we spotted an empty slot & that made the cruising worthwhile.

We probably stayed another hr or more, sometimes retracing our steps, sometimes angling off the main market path to explore more of Little Italy. DSC08405.JPG Sometime mid afternoon, we returned to our home on wheels.

Later we attended the 5:30 vigil Mass @ the church of St. Mary Magdalene.

Dinner: Turkey soup with veggies & whole grain bread.

Evening movie: "A Man in Love" with Peter Coyote, Greta Scacchi, Peter Riegert, etc. Full-blooded romance about a married American actor who falls in love with his leading lady while making a movie in Rome. Coyote & Scacchi are believable (and extremely sexy) in this sensual & intelligent film. 1987. Not so intelligent! Don't waste your time.

Lights out: 12:32am.
Awake: 7:23 Temp 50 sleep 6+43 sunny overnight @ San Diego, CA.

We ate no breakfast, leaving for Larry & Sallie's @ 10:15 am. We called Larry en route to their campground as today we (4) are going to walk the boardwalk alongside the Pacific Ocean. After parking our Suzuki @ their campsite, we rode with them to the Pacific Beach area. This is a very popular boardwalk for foot traffic plus bike & rollerblading on the concrete path. One has to be truly alert & cognizant of speeding bikes /rollerblading, etc due to a narrower path than the boardwalk downtown. We also watched many people walking & lazing on the beach sand as well as many surfers riding the waves. The things one observes along the trail! Hey, look ahead, someone said. Is that an overweight dog....oh, wait a minute, it's a pig.

DSC08392.JPG Sallie told us that it is a Pot Belly pig from Vietnam & that many years ago they had one as a pet. They loved it; they are so smart & easy to care for, as long as you remain the boss. Sally also told us if you scratch the pig's back, often the animal will roll over & have his tummy rubbed.  We walked & talked for about (35) min & then arrived @ Java & Jones Coffeehouse...also known as: "Cappy's Coffee & Tea." DSC08395.JPG Here we all enjoyed a medium size breakfast while sitting outside on lawn chairs at a fixed wide board table. The food was good & I'm sure we could have easily had more...but we weren't finished walking yet. I expected to continue our trek northbound but Larry & Sallie began heading back south....toward where their car was parked.

Ah, "aren't we going to walk some more," I asked Larry. Sallie indicated that she had to go to the store yet & finish cooking for tonight's Shabbat dinner. K & I wanted to go further, either north or south. So, after making sure there were no hard feelings, we left Larry & Sallie heading for their car letting them know we would walk back to their campsite after some more ocean viewing. I had my pedometer strapped to my belt & monitored our miles. So far, we had walked a mere (2.3) miles.

Heading south along the Pacific beach, Kathy got real close to a good sized Pelican, closer then she's ever been in her life. I quickly got my camera ready & was lucky to get a fairly decent photo
Thumbnail image for DSC08396.JPG After walking further south, we saw a fellow way up in a palm tree with a chain saw. He was trimming the limbs but his climbing equipment & the falling limbs seemed to be a setup for disaster. We watched for awhile as others did, & fortunately, it appeared that his job was finished without a mishap.

After that scary entertainment, we headed east & found the Mission Bay walkway & continued walking on that concrete. We couldn't see downtown San Diego from our campground, but walking around on this Bay, downtown was clearly in view.
DSC08401.JPGWe certainly won't brag about our getting a little disoriented, but we did & had to ask (2) people for "directions." I should have known better, being a boy scout & all, but we were simply walking & talking & taking in all the nice scenery, etc.

Our best helper was a young girl with an I-phone. She set up the GPS feature & told us the streets & the distance to our target.

Back @ Larry & Sallie's campsite ....we somewhat admitted our extra walking miles but hey, it was a real treat for us & what we've seen & experienced during those 6.6 miles.

Dinner: Tuna Steak, broccoli, brown rice pilaf, fresh mango, & a mixed salad.

We finish watching: "The Brothers Karamazov" with Yul Brynner, Maria Schell, Claire Bloom, Lee J. Cobb, Richard Basehart, William Shatner, ect. Set in 19th-century Russia, film version of Dostoyevsky's tragedy revolving about death of a dominating father (Cobb) and effect on his sons.1958. Years ago, I started reading this novel but couldn't finish...it was so complicated; unbeknown to me, Kathy had the same experience & we just realized that while watching this movie. It was much easier to understand. Regardless of the ire & loathing, there is a message.

Lights out: 12:49am.  

Awake: 7:20am Temp 46 sleep 6+57 sunny overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Larry called around noon time; "any plans yet?" he asked. "Not yet" I told him... "But we are working on it."

Kathy has been researching the idea of us all going to Catalina Island (the Wrigley Chewing Gum Island) & staying overnight. When I heard the price for the boat ride, I hesitated; when I asked Kathy what there was to see & do there, I began to squirm. And when she mentioned the hotel cost, I nearly fell off my chair.

Meanwhile, I've been doing a little exploring myself; San Diego's North Field is where Lindbergh's famous aircraft, "The Spirit of St. Louis" was built. I was curious if the Ryan Factory that built the aircraft is perhaps a museum today. With Google's help, it didn't take long to find out that the Ryan factory is long gone & San Diego's aviation museum is in Balboa Park with over (60) aircraft displayed.

In 1966, I and a colleague flew a small plane down to San Diego, landed & found our way to where a small group of mechanics & cabinet makers were building a replica of The Spirit of St. Louis. I met the head mechanic (whose name I've long forgotten) he told me he had been the chief mechanic when building Lindbergh's airplane. He was an older fellow but gave us a good description of how the crew built Lindbergh's aircraft in those early yrs.

Google has: Frank Mahoney as being the company president of Ryan in 1927. Somewhere in my archives, I have the signature of that gentleman as I did ask him for his autograph during our visit.

Mid afternoon, K & I took a 2.3 mile walk around the area. We couldn't help noticing along the way, how long people leave their Christmas displays up & lights on around the San Diego county. DSC08380.JPG We could also see the church we've been attending, St. Mary Magdalene, high on the hill overlooking San Diego. DSC08383.JPG Dinner: lamb chops, asparagus, brown rice with golden raisins & a mixed salad.

Evening movie: "The Brothers Karamazov." We watched ½.

Lights out: 12:40am.
Awake: 7:09am Temp 46 sleep 6+55 sunny overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Sometime after 8:00 am, Larry called & invited us to lunch with them @ Seaside, downtown San Diego. We let him know that we would be busy until about 1:30. then we could get together with you & Sallie. "Hey, that'll be great" he says. "Just drive over & we'll take our car."

This noon time, Kathy & I joined a group of seniors called: "The Hill Toppers." I believe they took that name because they are in the parish of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, which is about (2) miles from our campground & is high on the hill with a beautiful view.

We were interested in listening to their guest speaker today on the subject of: "living a brain healthy lifestyle." We arrived @ the parish hall a little early, had some coffee & took a back seat. At that time, there were about (40) people @ the meeting with a few more arriving later. DSC08370.JPG

The guest speaker was great; probably in her 40's, she had a comfortable sense of humor with older folks & spoke very clearly. She talked for an hr on subjects like: the brain; dementia & its many facets & causes; & the ten warning signs of dementia.

Some things to consider that might help prevent or slow Alzheimer's are: physical exercise, mental exercise, eating healthy food, & having social connections. This was all very interesting & taught us to be doing a little more toward possible prevention of this form of dementia than we have been doing. We thanked the speaker & a few other seniors that we talked with during the meeting & then drove over to Larry & Sallie's hangout.

From here, we hopped in their car & rode to downtown San Diego with them, parked the car & strolled along the boardwalk of the Pacific Ocean. We could easily see the WWII Aircraft Carrier "Midway," & several huge Ocean Liners as we leisurely walked along.

The plan was to have lunch @ Anthony's on Harbor Drive, so we followed L & S's lead in ordering: fresh Alaska cod, & a tuna salad. K & I each had our own meal (no sharing) so this will probably suffice as our dinner meal for tonight.

Then we resumed walking along the boardwalk until we came to the Seaport Village, where some (75) small shops are waiting for the tourists to discover their wares. The girls cased about 5-6 stores with only Larry making a purchase of dark chocolate.

After the Village, we walked back to the car & started toward L & S's campground. En route, Larry decided to visit their daughter, Carrie, where he had some packages to pick up & to see the newly laid bathroom tile; looked good to us. The sun was setting so we climbed the stairs & admired another beautiful view of Mission Bay, Pacific Ocean & thousands of lights from all those buildings & homes.

It was nice being with Sallie & Larry while visiting some of the downtown area this afternoon & walking around so casually, seeing the sights & watching people watching us, etc.

We'll have to do a little more of this exploring during our time here DSC08378.JPG
Take a good look at this face....the eyes have it!

Oh, but we're not finished yet; we are out of blue berries, high fiber cereal, tuna fillets, homestyle peanuts, English Stilton with cranberries, English white stilton, bananas, organic milk, yogurt, etc. After shopping @ Trader Joe's & Henry's, we return to our motorhome & watch our recorded political programs & world news.

Lights out: 12:14am..
Awake: 6:50am Temp 47 sleep 6+25 sunny overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Late morning, Kenny called from snowy PA; we discussed our building progress (which is zilch @ this time) & a few other small details.

Shortly after Kenny's call, K & I motored to Costco to fill a few empty places in the cupboards of our motorhome. I called Larry when we returned; he had been golfing so we decided to do our own thing today but considered getting together tomorrow.

I gave Kathy a helping hand in bringing in the groceries, then desided to crack some more of my butter nuts & have a good afternoon snack.

After a respectable (30) min of getting buttered up, I called my cousin Florentz in PA. He is the guy (way back in time) who got me interested in butter nuts, hickory nuts, & walnuts in the 1st place. We had quite a nice chat...not so much about cracking nuts but about the snow & ice storms in western PA. (18 inches of snow currently & it just keeps on coming down). I was very careful not to over expose our delightful weather here in San Diego.

Cracking these butter & hickory nuts is not a simple thing; both have thick & hard shells. It would be easier to have a Bench Vice; what I do instead is place a butter nut inside one of my larger sockets (33 m/m), & then use the small sledge hammer....to crack the butter nut open but not have the insides fly all over the place.

Next comes the good part: I used a metal stylus (right side of socket in picture) that has an arrow shaped tip to bring out the meat of the nut (left side of sledge hammer). I probably spent (2) hrs having a fun time getting more buttered up. DSC08369.JPG
Meantime, Kathy was inside using (her) (our) new Apple computer sending out a few more Smile Boxes. She is getting very good on....that computer.

Dinner: Tilapia fish, brown rice pilaf, asparagus, & a mixed salad.

Evening movie: "Les Miserables" with Fredric March, Charles Laughton, Cedric Hardwicke, Rochelle Hudson, etc. Meticulous production of Victor Hugo's classic tale. Minor thief March tries to bury past & become respectable town mayor, but police inspector Javert (Laughton) won't let him. 1935. Another GREAT movie you don't want to miss.

Lights out: 12:14am.
Awake: 7:07am    Temp 51     sleep 6+43      mostly sunny   overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Early afternoon, K & I donned our walking shoes & selected sun visor hats; I clamped on my pedometer, we chose water bottles & headed for the (7) mile walking trail around Mission Bay.

Another beautiful day here in San Diego; we've walked portions of this trail but have not gone all the way. Some of the interesting things we saw along the way: Water tricycles built for two...& Sea-doo's covered for the winter but in the ready position for springtime. DSC08365.JPG On our return, we also witnessed something that was strictly for the birds. DSC08366.JPG We ended up walking (5+) miles using the mile markers on the concrete path & my Pedometer.

We talked with Melissa for (38) min; she filled us in on how the boys handle the snow jobs in their back yard & city block. It sounds like they are making the best of a snowy winter.

She also said that my buddy Mr. Electric is missing me .....& I want to be sure that he knows that I am missing him also & the little electrical things we do together.

Dinner: power hamburgers with onions & whole wheat bread.

Evening movie: "The Earrings of Madame De.." with Charles Boyer, Danielle Darrieux, Vittorio De Sica, etc. Captivating classic detailing the events that unravel after fickle Darrieux pawn the earrings presented her by husband Boyer. A knowing look at the effect of living a shallow, meaningless life. Masterfully acted & directed, with dazzling tracking shots. 1953. French-Italian with sub-titles. Kathy suggested we watch this movie tonight so she could get a good nap in now & then.

Lights out: 12:25am.

Awake: 7:50am     Temp 49    sleep 6+33    sunny    overnight @ San Diego, CA.

I've been casually keeping track of the weather back in Nicktown, PA but find it a little surreal. One way to get the real scoop is to call my buddy John who lives there. Sure enough, John reported: 13 degrees with blowing snow, & the rest of the week is forecast to be about the same. We discussed other topics but that weather report was something else.

I called my motorhome pal, Dick, in Arizona; he & his wife, Christine, have been under the weather but slowly recovering. Dick told me they were down in Yuma recently & that's where they caught a bug. We talked about a rendezvous after they are well & can travel again...either in San Diego, Las Vegas or their home in Arizona.

'Twas another afternoon that K & I both ended up on our computers & when not doing that, we were reading.

Dinner: Alaska salmon, brown rice pilaf, broccoli & whole wheat bread.

Evening movie: "The Way We Were" with Barbara Streisand, Robert Redford, Bradford Dillman, Murray Hamilton, Patrick O'Neal, etc. First-class love story about political activist Streisand & her opposite, Waspish Joe College-type Redford, from late '30s to early '50s. 1973. Super good love story; if you haven't seen it, add it to your list. Note: Kathy didn't even think about falling asleep!

Lights out: 12:33am.


Awake: 7:00am Temp 48 sleep 5+36 sunny overnight @ San Diego, CA.

I called my brother in PA & we updated each other on our activities. Early afternoon, K& I took a walk around Mission Bay. I wore my pedometer which showed (3.8) miles when arriving back at our motorhome. We had to shed some threads before our walk as the temp climbed to (72) degrees. DSCO8339.JPG I continued my efforts on getting a good shot of a Pelican dive. Not as easy as I thought! DSC08346.JPGK & I attended 5:30 vigil Mass @ the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, a mere (2) miles from our campground.

Dinner: sausage & chicken in a tomato-eggplant sauce, & a mixed salad.

We finished watching: "Diamonds Are Forever" with Sean Connery, Jill St. John, Charles Gray, Lana Wood, Jimmy Dean, etc. After a one-picture hiatus, Connery returned as James Bond in this colorful comic-book adventure set in Las Vegas; closer in spirit to Republic serials than Ian Fleming, but great fun. 1971. Kathy had no problem staying awake (so far) while watching the Bond movies.

Lights out: 1:17am.
Awake: 9:00am     Temp 47     sleep 7+00     sunny     overnight @ San Diego, CA.

Ohhh, it's so nice to be back in our motorhome again; no offence what-so-ever toward our splendid accommodations in Seattle those (10) fun filled days. It's just nice to be home, even if it is on wheels!

This morning, we expanded the bus, unpacked our suitcases & got ourselves organized again.

Over the yrs, we have been accustomed to starting the new yr out by going to church on New Years Day, usually a holy day of obligation for Catholics. We drove to St. Brigid Church, found a parking spot (cars lined up on both sides of the street) & with (3) min remaining before we thought Mass was to start, like a gentleman should, I reached for the door to let Kathy enter 1st. Humph, that door was locked! I tried the next door & the next door...all (4) doors were locked.

As we walked around the building toward our car, we noticed a glassed in announcement board; Mass was at 9 am, not noon, as we had thought. Kathy made a cell call to another church; the recorder indicated their Mass had also been at 9am & that this was not a holy day of obligation. We wonder if all of California has the same policy.

Those cars lined up on both sides of the street most likely were from people visiting families/friends from near & far.

From here, we went grocery shopping @ Henry's Farmers Market, (6) blocks from the church.... & did we ever stock up our freezer & refrigerator. DSC08303.JPG The remainder of the afternoon was spent tickling the keys on our individual computers.

Dinner: sword fish, brown rice pilaf, mixed salad & bread.

Evening movie: "Diamonds Are Forever." We watched ½.

Lights out: 1:24am.    Caution: not all refrigerators are alike; this one might look like yours!

Awake: 6:36am      sleep 7+26      overcast; later rain      overnight @ Seattle, WA.

Nick & Eriko invited us to join them in touring (2) small houses this morning in the Queen Anne area. We were picked up @ 9:30am; 1st stop, the Coffee Fiore...ahh, what a rich & strong coffee aroma!

Nick parked close to the house we were about to tour, so with coffee in hand, the (5) of us sauntered back to the van & met Noah, the agent for our tour.

Noah's technique as a Realtor is different; there is no pressure, no exaggerating, no taking sides, etc. He gets a salary, not a commission or percentage. Both Nick & we felt more relaxed with this honest approach to exposing anything & everything about a house that other agents wouldn't dare disclose.

In the heart of Queen Anne, the property & house values have been & continue to be very expensive; yes, the property values have dropped a little over the months, but not far enough to buy a decent middle valued home without forking out $ 800,000 to a million plus.

The 1500 square foot house we were looking @, built in yr 1900, is on a squeezed parcel of land, (2) floors with the basement ceiling so low that Eriko had to be careful about hitting her head when casually looking around. Upstairs, the kitchen appliances need to be updated & the bedrooms are very small; in the basement, there is a modest mother-in-law kitchen in decent shape. On the plus side, it does have a small, fenced in back yard, a (2) car garage in poor shape & a paved parking space for (2) more vehicles. Asking price: $525,000. DSC08324.JPG
Next, we met Noah about a mile further west, still in Queen Anne but down the hill & away from the activities & the main services of Q.A. This 1510 Sq Foot Bungalow with (3) bedrooms, (1) bath & updated kitchen, was built in 1909, & is in much better shape.

It too, had a basement (with a higher ceiling) but not what one would call a finished basement. There was no yard to speak of & parking was on the street. Nick rejected this house strictly on location & cost. Asking price: $425,000. He is not ready to buy, but they do get out there & casually tour the homes for sale. DSC08325.JPG Back @ Zack's house, we all had a small lunch & afterward, K & I called Andrew in PA & wished him a "Happy 4th" Birthday." Andrew said this: "Hi! I love you, bye." He said the same to Kathy. Melissa came to the phone & reminded us that Andrew is not up to phone talk yet. She couldn't talk very long herself as they were getting ready to have birthday cake.

Kathy & I finished packing our suitcases & then Kathy decided to make us & the Nick family a dinner before it got too late. She found some leftovers from previous meals & that was good enough for us; there are still more leftovers for whoever might be hungry.

Meanwhile, Katie came back from her work & Nate finished early so he was also home. Katie & Zack have New Years Eve plans so they didn't join us for dinner & Nate was not ready to eat.

Around 5:45pm, we give the gang a "Happy New Year 2010" in advance; thanked them generously for their hotel accommodations, entertainment, hospitality, sunny days & cheery discussions.

After hugs & kisses, Nick loaded our suit cases into his van & with the Nick family & the rain, we were off & headed for Sea-Tac airport. Traffic moved along quickly regardless of the rain; we said our goodbyes & thanks to Nick & Eriko for all their transporting days & good times (Jerry was fast asleep in his car seat) & more hugs & kisses. Gosh, a hug for Eriko; this lady is really pregnant. DSC08182.JPG With our extra time, I talked Kathy into sharing a glass of Alaska Amber beer after going thru security; after all, we are flying on Alaska Airlines.

Security was no problem even though I had to open my suitcase & show a few objects to the inspectors.

At our gate, Kathy saw how few people were flying & asked the agent if we could have a seat further forward; she obliged & we went from row (26) to row (9). Our flight was running about (30) min late due to strong headwinds from the previous flight coming from Houston...so I called Larry & gave him a heads up on our arrival for San Diego.

Also, on this "New Years Flight," the steward gave us each a small complimentary bottle of booze to celebrate the occasion. Upon landing, we got the ok for cell phone calls so I notified Larry, who was parked in the cell phone lot that we were on the ground @ 11:05pm. Larry & Sally dropped us off @ the campground gate about 11:40pm. We turned on our TV, watched the BIG ball drop in Times Square, New York City & welcomed 2010 by watching some commercial fireworks out of our motorhome window. DSC08338.JPG Lights out: 2:00am.
Awake: 6:49am sleep 5+55 mostly sunny overnight & Seattle, WA.

 About 9:00am Katrina went running with Coco for (30) min. DSC08305.JPG
Around 10:00am, Nick & family arrived for breakfast. Today Katie & Zack are making all of us a different kind of breakfast; certainly one I have never experienced... called: Aebleskiver.

Aebleskiver are traditional Danish pancake balls. Katie made them in a special pan called a monk's pan (each batch made (8) pancake balls.). The filled pancake balls were served warm with syrup, powdered sugar, &/or whipped cream. Katie made several batches of Aebleskiver, each batch with a different filling, i.e. apple sauce, strawberries, maraschino cherries, Nutella (chocolate, hazelnut spread), peanut butter, etc. They were delicious, but a little sweet; they'd make a great dessert also.

DSC08306.JPGWhile Katie was making the Aebleskivers, Zack cooked bacon & sunny side up eggs.

To keep us at the table while they made breakfast, there were bananas & green grapes & orange juice. Jerry made fast work of the green grapes. I liked the idea of a very casual breakfast with plenty of anticipation: what's coming next! Thank you Katie & Zack; that was a real treat for us.

Later we all played Wii again; trying our skills @ Hula Hoop, soccer, the bubble, snow boarding, etc. Then the time came for Katrina to leave & return to Denver; we thanked Katrina for helping with the dish cleaning, laundry, playing with Jerry, taking Coco for a run, etc., & wished her a safe & "Happy New Year" for 2010. Zack is her trusted chauffeur for the Sea-Tac airport trip this afternoon.

Nick & Eriko decided to return to their condo to give Jerry a rest before coming back for dinner. Katie went downstairs to talk with her dad via the phone & wish him a, "happy birthday."

That gave Kathy & me a chance to get more practice on the Wii machine without an audience...& we needed that. Although our drill made little difference, it was still fun.

When Zack returned, Katie got right after Zack to help with dinner preparation.

Dinner: Garlic-chicken pasta, leftover mixed salad &, about an hr later, homemade  mint chocolate chip ice cream.

After the dishes & kitchen were cleaned up, Jerry visited K & me in our temporary bedroom. Our Dell computer screen saver was on...showing pictures of our family, friends, places we've toured, etc. He was quite curious & sat on my lap for a closer view.

During the 20-30 min, Jerry identified many pictures of the Foote family, ourselves & others; if he didn't know who it was or what it was, we would tell him. Jerry does not forget much once he understands something. During our slide show time with Jerry, Nick & Nate were having a quick game of chess & Eriko was resting on the couch.

Among other things, Coco enjoys a tug-of-war using a rope knotted on both ends. He sinks his teeth into the rope & walks around the living room just hoping for an opponent. Zack, Nate, Nick & myself, have all challenged him for: "king of the rope."

Well tonight, Jerry started the "tug-of-rope "with Coco. I, for one, was a little uncomfortable at first, thinking Jerry might get hurt or that Coco might bite him, but as time went on, I saw that Jerry was holding his own & Coco was fully involved in the "tug' focusing on the rope, not on biting Jerry. With Coco growling & Jerry pulling as hard as he could, they went back & forth, taking turns sliding on the oak floor. Coco did manage to get the rope from Jerry a few times, but each time, both Jerry & Coco were quickly ready to resume the "tug!"

DSC08321.JPGThe tug of war continued for a good (10) min longer with a lot of laughter from the peanut gallery. My photo does not do it justice but Nick did make a movie of it which I'm sure will be published somewhere, sometime. 

Nick & Eriko took their "champ" home &, since Katie has to work tomorrow, we all retired a little early.

Lights out: 11:10pm.


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