Our camp is Diamond Jack's in Jamul, CA. This is a campground that has seen better days. As i am struggling to describe it to daughter Rebecca, she suggests "Rustic". Yes. The evidence that someone cares remains. The seating around the basketball court and horseshoe pit are cushy former bus station (?) waiting room seats on pedestals. Instead of a lamp in the central court, there is a telephone booth absent a telephone. The advantage here is not only a reasonable camping fee, but real peace and quiet. We are about 20 miles out of town.
The cost of living in southern California is sufficiently high that some of the campers here are permanent residents who exit early each morning to make the commute to work. That also means that the campground is pretty quiet at night.
Since we have acclimated well to chilly weather, we don't mind so much that here we are getting rain and somewhat cool temperatures. Somehow Q manages to soak up the solar fuel to keep the refrigerator and lights going.
Today our Chicago kids arrive via Amtrak. Imagine Chicago to Los Angeles, a missed connection and so a wait for the train to San Diego. Grand-daughters Audrey, Kathaleen, and Olivia seem very well rested and energetic while their parents
seem appropriately exhausted. I'm not sure who enjoyed the
surprise most, us or them. We had balloons and smiles as we waited for their train to arrive. They expected to arrive, get into their rental car and drive to east county.
Today our Michigan kids arrive: Becca, Art, Gabe and Max. They will share a rental house with Chris, Dawn and our grand-daughters. These cousins know each other well - and for the first time seem to relate to each other as friends rather than as objects for teasing.
Gigi happens to mention how much she always enjoyed trips to the Anza-Borrego Desert in the spring when the blossoming cacti and succulents are amazing. Incorporating this into the party decorations becomes our motivation. We'll have tables with a few antiques from the era of her motherhood and add a collection of plants.
Alex discovers a perfect collection as we pass the Jamacha nursery. We have no trouble selecting a sweet variety with my sister Marilyn and her Doug. There is a variety of palm that looks absolutely other-worldly or possibly porno. Not going to be a part of the party decorations. If you really want the visual, let me know and i'll send via email.
A little noise of firecrackers or maybe gun shots at about 10:30 pm and then all is quiet in the campground. We think that most of the more permanent residents here are hard-working individuals who have to get up early to commute to work.
Our joy in the new year begins with a stop for ice cream that will be served up with birthday cake in the first celebration of the Gigi's 100th birthday - this one for her friends from church. A conflicting schedule item is a delightful meeting up with Soren & Jeneen and Gavin & Alise along with my kids' families at South Ponto Beach near Carlsbad.
If ever there was hope for this country and the world it can be seen in these two beautiful 12 year olds. If the world is sufficiently good enough to nurture them, they will surely make the world a better place. Alise and Audrey are kind and smart, talented and strong.
BTW, The beach is easily accessible in the winter - Californians find it too cold.