Back to San Diego for Christmas where Grandpa John gets to play Santa Claus. No, I don’t get dressed up, but I certainly did gain some “Santa” weight with all of the good eating in Europe and Portland this year. Dropping some of that tonnage will probably be grist for the New Years resolution mill. Hopefully all of this years walking, hiking, scuba and swimming will help out a bit.
A good case of dysentery in India is always good for dropping ten pounds quickly. I am not looking forward to India, but the Taj Majal is a bucket list essential. The good news is that because of the proximity to Sri Lanka, I have added the Maldives to this year’s itinerary. 2018 is shaping up to being an amazing year with many exceptional destinations on the roster.
Before I leave for my next adventures there are a number of enjoyable celebrations; 1. A new grandchild is due in December. 2. Christmas 3. Grandma’s 92nd. Birthday 4. Mia’s Birthday #2. 5. New Years Eve.
Regardless of her difficult pregnancy replete with back pain and other unpleasant complications, Dina forges ahead with Christmas preparations including tree decorating, baking Christmas cookies, wrapping copious gifts, planning Mia’s birthday party, Christmas Eve dinner preparations. All in all she is proving to be a Mom of epic proportions. I never cease to be impressed by her dedication and skills.
My delightful granddaughter, Mia.
Here she is sporting her usual smile.
Off she runs towards the tree.
She waits for daddy to make the final approach.
My daughter, Dina, makes her first attempt at Christmas cookies, with her newly acquired Kitchen Aid mixer.
As you can see she made good use of her house warming gift. It seem like everything she touches in the kitchen turns out tasty.
THE LATEST ADDITION – Danny’s wife Vilena gave birth to Aelita on 12/12/2017. Coming Attraction will be Dina’s Aria in April of next year. There will be three little girls to play together. This is yet another pleasant thing on the horizon. Watching them grow together as the years pass by.
EL VEZ – MERRY MEXMAS CHRISTMAS SHOW
The Mexican Elvis performs his yearly Christmas Show with his two Elvettes, Lisa Maria & Preselita. Much to my delight, he enlisted the talents of a few of my favorite San Diego performers to take the place of the band he left behind in Seattle. The Schitzophonics were all part of the lineup, as well as Birdy Bardot from my favorite former band, The New Kinetics.
El Vez sports his Elvis style belt while Leti lays down a quality beat on the drums.
EL VEZ – 37 years of working his charms.
THE ELVETTES – Birdy vamps it up.
Pat Beers tears it up on lead guitar.
Its all about the kiddies today.
Mia’s table next to the tree laden with presents for Mia.
Grandma spreads some Christmas cheer.
Pepe (Mia’s nickname for Joe) shares some photos with Mia.
Mia dines with her favorite red-nosed reindeer.
Grandma Jenny approaches her 92nd. birthday.
Joe digs into Dina’s Strata, her latest breakfast creation sensation.
My former wife, Yelena, adds a little panache to Dina’s kitchen.
Mia explains the function of a toy to Baba.
My son in law Steve looks on as Mia steals the show.
NAPS – Good at any age.
NANA with her new granddaughter.
MIA readies herself for some gift immersion.
LEGO TRAIN SET – This one was a big hit. Loki sadly whimpers in the background, knowing his life is over now that there is an additional baby on the way.
It’s all about Mia. The few gifts for others were given on Christmas Eve.
Nana gets in on the action.
Mia churns through gift after gift.
I look at gifts and just see multiple pieces that will become strewn about the condo in need of pick up.
Remote Controlled Cars – This is one of mine that I particularly liked, and that Mia seems fond of it as well. Simple enough for a two-year-old and lots of fun. Comes with two cars so she can play with friends, parents, and grandparents.
Oblivious of all the goings-on, Aela bides her time until next Christmas.
Proud papa Danny chillin’ on the sofa.
Sisters in Law compare Mommy Notes.
Danny gets Aelita ready to hit the road.
Dina laughs it up with Mia at Baba’s 92nd. Birthday.
MIA’S SECOND BIRTHDAY
DINA’S FIRST BIRTHDAY CREATIONS
MIA WEARS HER BIRTHDAY CASHMERE SWEATER
PUNCHBALL WITH HENRY
LUNCH WITH NANA
MIA AND HER STYLISH FRIEND, TANYA
MIA OFFICIALLY ENTERS THE TERRIBLE TWOS
GRANDMA TINA CUTS THE CAKE
TIME FOR PRESENTS – Between Christmas and Birthday it was quite a haul.
MORE CUTE FASHION
LOTS TO GO
ACCESSORIES FOR HER NEW KITCHEN AT HOME
Resting with Baba
TIME TO HIT THE ROAD
I think most people would be shocked to hear that a place like San Diego is enough to send me into a low-grade depression. After my flavorful adventures, San Diego holds all of the appeal of plain oatmeal with a side order of rice cakes. Being here is almost unbearable even after traveling the world for 10 1/2 months.
BlanDiego is one of my least favorite places to visit given that I squandered almost half of my life living here. Pretty much the only thing that kept me here was the weather, but the never-ending, blue, cloudless skies can drive you just as mad as excessive rain or cold. Plus, thunderstorms are almost unheard of. Dull, dull, dull. The only variety offered up is the Shake n’ Bake of the frequent earthquakes or wildfires, something I would just a soon skip.
The place is as phony as a three dollar bill. The greenery is predominantly manufactured since Baja California is pretty much a drought-ridden desiccated wasteland which is also a type of ecosystem that I find particularly unpleasant. The population is getting very dense and it’s very expensive since everyone wants to live here. Predominantly a vast concrete pasture of endless commercial enterprises, franchises and faceless architecture, Balboa Park is its only claim to something relatively compelling. However, you can only take so much Spanish Baroque before it becomes nauseating.
Even it’s pretty beaches are rendered useless for anything but volleyball and sunbathing since the water is cold year round. Boasting one of the thinnest cultures in the United States, it leaves you hungering for something more after a short while in its environs. If it weren’t for family, I daresay I would likely never return.
PHIL’S BBQ – The best in San Diego.
Upon getting into the security line at the airport, my mood immediately brightened. On sitting down to a delicious BBQ dinner of a quarter chicken with ribs, I was most cheerful. And when the plane took off I was positively ecstatic.