I always end up writing these posts in odd places. Currently I’m in the San Diego Whole Foods, where I just picked up some avocados so Simon can try a real one when he flies in at 10 (that’s in 2.5 hours ahhhh!!!!).

The alternate name for Whole Foods; Whole Paycheck should really be put into place, it’s crazy. It’s no wonder they’re starting another store that has cheaper prices, but hopefully the quality won’t be affected…I can wish right? I guess that’s why farmers markets are so important and such a better way to go. I was perusing the isles of produce earlier and laughed at the imported fruit and veggies from Mexico that takes over the shelves, with California grown produce sprinkled in here and there. Yes, it’s much better than a Maine Whole Foods, but come on. So here I am sitting in the Whole Foods cafe clickity-clackin on my keyboard, trying to figure out what everyone is staring at me for. Seriously, I keep spinning around to see if there’s a sign on the back of my chair or something. I’m not wearing anything too crazy this time, I’m actually dressed for cold weather like everyone else here, so that can’t be it. Some woman was about to sit next to me to eat her food, but then looked up, saw me and then walked away. HAHA, it’s driving me crazy, maybe it’s the 5 cloves of garlic in the broccoli that I dumped onto my plate from the Whole Foods buffet? Who knows, I’ll just keep smiling back.

Today I had to pack up my bags and was on the train again for San Diego. It took me all day to pack my belongings; somehow I managed to acquire two more bags of stuff during my time in Oceanside, so that was a fun factor to work around. But most of it is food, so with Simon around it will disappear quite fast!


I was sad to say goodbye to Karen and Ari and leave the cute little hilltop property with it’s gorgeous views and peaceful bird sounds in the morning. But we are planning on a reunion on the east coast, either in Maine, or on their other property located in upstate New York.

I always seem to go from one extreme to the other; camping in the redwoods to LA, Oceanside to San Diego. But already I can tell San Diego is quite different than LA, it seems more laid back and a lot less congested with traffic.

The last few days in Oceanside were so nice, the new Workaway, Gabriel moved in so it was nice to have another person in the house, and also great to have some help with the cooking and cleaning. He’s French Canadian, from Montreal and accidentally booked a flight to San Jose, California instead of San Jose, Costa Rica (yeah, I couldn’t help but mention a few things about what he was missing in CR…oops). So he found himself in California for his holiday break, but was determined to make the best of it. On the day he was supposed to arrive I was taking a walk to the local when I saw a guy with a backback chugging it up the hill looking quite lost. I knew that look all too well, since I’ve both worn it many times during travel, and seen other travelers spinning in circles with large packs on their backs. I introduced myself and he said he’s gotten off at the wrong bus stop and had been walking for quite a while. I walked him back up to the house and then headed to the store, the sky opened up and it started to pour, so lucky for him to be inside, not so lucky for me. But it rarely rains, so I can see that the locals always welcome it.

Christmas dinner was enjoyed on Christmas eve, and was lovely. The neighbor, Tim joined us again and Karen’s mother also joined. So with the addition of Gabriel we had a group of 6, plus the hungry cats and Tim’s dog Murphy circling the table. We put on a big feast again but had to enjoy it inside this time due to the crazy winds outside. We wanted to do all of the cooking on Christmas Eve so Christmas could be a relax in pajamas and do nothing day. I tried out a new cookie recipe and promptly ate four of them, just to test of course…somebody has got to do that terrible job. They were great by the way. And were gone by the next morning, but I had help!20161224_142258

Karen’s mother is Jewish and Hanukkah was starting at sundown, so we lit the center light, the candle for the first day and said the prayers to invite in the light of the new year. It was nice to include both traditions, and reminded me of my childhood when the family would spend Hanukkah-usually earlier in December-with my mom’s side of the family and Christmas with my dad’s side of the family. It gave me a broad view of different traditions and an open mind towards the many ways people celebrate the holidays. Since then, my immediate family has let go of some of these traditions; Christmas is now called Happy Family Day, and Hanukkah seems to slip our radar. As a family we decided that these holidays, especially Christmas have become such a huge money making time of the season, that the true roots of spending time with family and being merry seems to have been lost in the sea of wrapping paper, stressed out parents trying to find the perfect gift, and unhappy kids because that “perfect gift” was used for two days after Christmas and is now left to collect dust. To the rest of our family, it could appear that we are not” keeping up with traditions” but what if those traditions just don’t jive with us? What’s the good of carrying them out if they don’t have a whole lot of meaning to us? In fact, we’d probably being doing them an injustice instead. So we set out to make our own “traditions” and I use this term loosely because we are always open to change if something is left behind one year, or another aspect is brought on. Over the past few years, we got rid of the wrapping paper because we thought it was too wasteful, then switched to homemade gifts. Now (meaning the last year or two) gifts are really on the bottom of the list and the exchange is basically “okay well here’s a good day to give you those socks I knit last week”. Now I’m not even home, but a good phone call to wish my parents a Happy Family Day does the trick. I guess to us it’s like any other day, but we put more emphasis on cooking food together, hauling out the old board games (there’s one tradition we have not lost) and avoiding Christmas music like the plague 🙂 I enjoy our ever changing tradition, no pressure to outdo each other with lavish gifts, just a day to take a hike in the snow, and an excuse to eat more. Not an excuse to be a consumer and buy, buy, buy.

After we ate, to avoid the inevitable food coma that was about to ensue, Ari, Gabriel and I walked quite a ways to Game Stop to nerd out for a bit, I listened to them talk about all sorts of games and was more interested in the Star Wars knick knacks on a shelf in the corner. We were gone for about two hours so when we got back we were definitely ready to crash out and watch some Star Wars with homemade popcorn. I didn’t think Star Wars would be mentioned so many times on the blog, but Ari is a big fan, and has rekindles my fan-girling a bit too, Harrison Ford, anyone?

The next day (Christmas) I taught Gabriel how to make homemade coconut milk from a whole coconut. We cracked the coconut with a hammer and scooped out the insides, grated it, put it in the blender with hot water, strained it and voilà; we had a modest amount of coconut milk for the amount of work we put in. But that’s the whole part about starting from scratch. It’s almost like the work is the most enjoyable part, and makes savoring that glass of amazing and fresh coconut milk even sweeter. So for us it was not really a relax in pajamas day and instead a coconut grating, hammer wielding kind of day.

unfortunately I was blinking in all of these…


We exchanged some small gifts that morning and I was so happy to receive a beautiful dreamcatcher that Karen made out of some branches from one of the Eucalyptus trees out in the yard. I’ve attached it to my back pack so I can carry it with me all the time and happily remember my time on the hill.20161227_200548

I almost had a heart attack this afternoon when I got on the train for San Diego. Gabriel and I headed to Oceanside so he could check out the city and I could get on the train. Our ride took a long time and I was pretty flustered with trying to carry all of my stuff, hug Gabriel and buy a ticket for the Coaster (cheap train that runs back and forth from Oceanside to San Diego) at the same time as it pulled into the station. This resulted in me buying  the wrong ticket which turned out to be for the local busses instead of the Coaster, so instead of paying $5.50 I paid $2. I didn’t realize this until I got on the train and caught my breath enough to actually look at the ticket. By this time the train had already started moving. My heart was beating so fast, and then a memory of Karen telling me that in her many rides on the Coaster over the last few years, she’s only been checked for a physical ticket twice. I hoped it wouldn’t be one of those times…

Luckily, nothing happened. Yeah, go ahead, shake your finger at me but it was an honest mistake, and I’m sure my four large, bulky, heavy bags didn’t take up toooo much space.

When I arrived in San Diego I got a ride to my first ever Airbnb to drop off all my stuff and take a breath for a moment before heading here (Whole Paycheck) for dinner and avocados, and to wait for Simon (1 hour now….). We will be staying at three different places during out time in San Diego and this one will be for the first three nights. It’s adorable glamping (glamorous camping) overlooking a canyon in a neighborhood outside of the city. The neighborhood itself is a little sketchy, but the house and property where we are is cozy and safe. There’s a nice little patio with chairs and a kettle for tea in the mornings. I’ll make sure to include pictures in my next post.

Off to the airport in a moment, happy holidays!



One thought on “Southbound

  1. Thanks for the reminder to light the 6th Hanukkah candle. Enjoyed wearing Christmas p.js.all Christmas day with Florida family and then play the dreidel game with the great grand kids. Loved reading your blog. Have a wonderful time in San Diego with Simon. Love gram


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