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January 04, 2020

SoCal Hospitality Closing Out 2019

We have entertained guests from Nov 1 until New Year’s Eve 2019.  I’ll try to recap those two months in this single post.

We hooked up with Fran’s brother Bobby for 10 days in San Felipe for the Shrimp Festival then later as he made his way to San Diego we enjoyed his visit at our house as Aleida spent another week taking care of her mother in San Felipe.

Aleida arrived from Mexico on Dec 8 and they left on the 10th.  My kid brother and his lovely bride Juanita arrived on the Dec 11.  Needless to say we spent all of that time cleaning!  I’ll pick up the narrative there.

Dec 11: Marty is indeed a ‘Low Maintenance’ guest, if something needs doing he just does it, including raking the front yard leaves.

He and Juanita took over the kitchen … look at the size of that yellow papaya.  With the limes and oranges from our yard, they whipped up the most awesome smoothie … add tequila to taste.

We treated them to lunch at Casa de Maria in Old Town.  On weekends they offer tamales, my choice, Fran again selected the street tacos, while Marty and Juanita split the shrimp fajitas.

Casa de Maria has live guitar music, always lite and easy conversation music.  Juanita sang along with many of the Spanish songs and danced to the one she requested.

They only stayed a few days, then son Michael with lovely wife Lori and grandson Jm arrived the following evening.

Dec 23: It’s been 3 years since we had all the grands in one spot!  Merry Christmas to us!
But it gets better!!! It’s been 5 years since all the cousins have been together.  Jm with the youngest cousins.

We had L&L Hawaiian BBQ cater the gathering.  Altho Jm is more interested in the pretzels.  I'd say either the beef or chicken BBQ would have been a better choice.

I picked up 2 ‘take-n-bake’ Apple Mountain Berry pies from Julian Pie Company for dessert, and ice cream.  YUM!

We had 19 of the extended family for the evening.  Joey had to work, Barbara had to leave before the group picture, so there's only 18 here.

But the grands/cousins photo is my favorite.  Aj has grown another inch or two.  These kids do not see each other often enough, but get along so well together.

Dec 24: Kami and Jason have the best Christmas decorations and have hosted Christmas Eve for several years.

Both Kami and Jason have artistic skills.  But this water color Kami made for us is amazing!  Within the shadow of a Bobcat (Lynx Rufus) is our Rufus boondocking.
Thanks Kami, what an awesome, beautiful and thoughtful gift.

Jm and crew will spend Christmas Day in North County.

Dec 25: Fran’s sister Susan hosted Christmas Day, where Anne received a set of stilts from Santa.  She picked up walking right away (on the beginner setting).

It was not just a very tasty ham dinner, it was great company.  Thanks Susan and Bob.

Dec 26: I received a ‘beginner’ Disc Golf set from Santa.  It was great that John and Sharon of On the Road of Retirement could join us for a Happy Hour and demonstrate their Disc Golf grips and release.  We certainly enjoyed their company and their disc golf knowledge, it would have been nice if we had a little more time together.

Dec 27: A totally free, sun filled day!  What to do???, we hopped on the bikes and rode  around Mission Bay!  No laundry; no cleaning …

Dec 28: Laundry and cleaning ...

Dec 29: On to the advanced setting on those stilts.

and a trip to Mission Bay with the cousins.  Sand castles and jungle gym kept the kids active.

Topped off with S’mores by the open fire.

Dec 30: A zoo day!  After 15 years of visiting San Diego, Lori still had never been to the 'World Famous San Diego Zoo.  It’s time to fix that!

Jm up close with the tiger.

Disney Studios had animators at the San Diego Zoo to sketch the lion and meerkat for accuracy in the Lion King.

A female koala with her joey on her back, what a surprise.

Dec 31: We had breakfast at the Walking on Water Cafe (WOW Cafe) at the OB Pier.

After which we enjoyed a sunny morning at the Cabrillo National Monument.

The monument fit the time together perfectly.  We could stroll a bit before it was time for them to head home.

Dec 31 part 2: Not only is this New Year’s Eve, it’s also a Tuesday!, and with the departure of our last guests we are free to PARTY!

Where to party??? We pick Offshore for their Taco Tuesday.  Tacos at $3 (grilled mahi), wine $4, add guacamole and beans to share $2.  It’s a perfect date night for us!

And we are both asleep by 9 PM ... That closes out our 2019, it was one of the best!  

We’re looking forward to whatever 2020 brings!

Happy New Year!


  1. So many great memories and good looking food

    1. I'll keep the memories, but sure would like to lose the pounds gained :)
      Happy New Year!

  2. Great Recap with Family and Friends.
    Gaining the weight is always easy but not loosing it. Moderation and Exercise will help.
    Did you know that Coffee has a better Appetite Suppression then Tea.
    Wishing your entire Family a Safe, Happy and Healthy New Year.

    It's about time.

    1. Thanks! It was a great time with the all here at once. It'll take a bit longer to drop the pounds than it did to add it :(
      Wishing you a great 2020, Happy New Year!

  3. May the next year be just as fun filled ;)

  4. Excellent photos and narrative!! What a great gathering !

  5. Oh man... Julian's pies, Cabrillo Monument, The San Diego Zoo, and tacos??? You are killing me with all the San Diego goodness! Can't wait to get back there and we are very jealous that you all have a home base there!

    I was just about to ask if you had a way to follow your blog by email but now I see the sign up form on the bottom of the page. I swear I looked for it before, but didn't see it. I must be going blind... Anyway... carry on... :)

    1. While hosting so many guests we had 3 Julian Pies, 2 trips to Point Loma Seafoods, 3 trips to Old Town, seems like we've eating since Thanksgiving! and countless single serving wine bottles - I'll set up a wine bar like yours next time :)

  6. A good life indeed. The holidays are wonderful and exhausting at the same time. Time to rest up a bit!

    1. It was such great fun having all the family together, but you're right we are now resting up!

  7. This is such a happy writeup and how fortunate you are to be able to spend all this time with family, and friends. Even if the electric bill was high.

    1. We did indeed set a new high with SDG&E, but so worth it! Family and friends are what makes Christmas special.


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