Christmas on Coronado Island

Christmas in San Diego is altogether a different experience when compared to the “standard” American Christmas that you see on TV. No blizzards, no scraping ice off the windshield, and no temperatures below freezing at all, for that matter. It’s common to have 65 degree days in December, perfect for strolling outdoors in a light cardigan or simply a long-sleeved shirt. I have fully adjusted back to not grabbing a coat before heading out the door (so different from Kansas!)

We do have our own Christmas traditions here in San Diego, though. One of them is December Nights, a two-night long festival at Balboa Park which draws over 300,000 spectators and makes parking a nightmare. I have never been, so we tried to go this year–brought the camera and everything–then drove around nearby neighborhoods for about half an hour (trying to find parking) before giving up and moving on to plan B…

Christmas at Hotel Del Coronado

Plan B is another excellent San Diego Christmas sight to behold–the famous Hotel Del Coronado gets decked out with lights and manmade skating rink outside…

Lights and skating at Coronado

…and features a famously opulent Christmas tree in the main lobby. While we were there, a caroling group (in Victorian garb) added to the ambiance. The tree’s decorations are different every year, and this year the theme was (apparently) …pillows?

The Christmas tree at Hotel Del Coronado

Really though, I love seeing a tree packed-to-the-brim with decorations like this. My tree (which you will see Friday) isn’t nearly this full, but is special in its own way, I guess.

Fountain at Coronado

After taking a stroll around the hotel, it is nice to walk up and down Orange Avenue and check out the stores and restaurants, and to drive up and down the streets of this wealthy community and check out the Christmas lights on multi-million dollar homes. We stopped in at Bottega Italiana (1017 C Ave, 92118) and got some delicious gelato.

Gelato on Coronado Island

If you like theater, the Lamb’s Players Theatre offers up a different Festival of Christmas stage production every year. My parents have gone many years in a row and it has become quite a tradition. I can’t promise that it won’t be corny, but the actors and actresses are all really, really talented musicians and it is bound to be an enjoyable (and family friendly) evening.

My tips:

  • Park wherever you find a place–it isn’t a big area and everything is easily in walking distance.
  • There are lots of people trying to get a good picture of the tree. Don’t linger right up next to it! Admire from a few feet away so others can get their turn.
  • Look like you belong! Yes, tourists flock to this location but for heaven’s sakes don’t show up in board shorts or ratty clothes. This is a resort hotel– a classy establishment.
  • If you have the cash to drop, I hear that brunch at the Hotel Del is to die for!

Overall, this is a cheap wintertime date since it’s mostly driving around and sightseeing! Our only splurge was on the gelato, which wasn’t much of a splurge at all for that matter–each scoop cost less than a Starbucks drink. Seeing the lights and the ice skaters is a nice way to remind yourself that although you were wearing a tank top earlier in the day–it still is Christmastime, after all!

We’re Moving!

My friends in real life know, both of our bosses know, and if you follow me on twitter I can assume you’ve put two and two together, but let’s just make it official and announce it on the blog.

I mean… nothing’s true until you read it on a blog, right?

Anyway, the hubs and I (and our pooch) are moving to sunny California!!! The timetable looks like it will be right at the beginning of September, however we are both putting out job applications like mad and if one of them decides to pick us up, we could fast-track this whole operation, if necessary. I am very excited about this adventure.

Mostly I operate under the assumption that the people who read my blog know me in real life and know my story; however, I have seen increased traffic over the past 4 months (which I L-O-V-E) so I suppose I’ll explain a little bit in case I have any new friends who haven’t met me. I am from California. I was born there. Of my 24 years of life, I have spent about 16 of them in California. While the state and I have had some rocky times, it truly is a part of me. I finished my bachelor’s degree in San Diego and while living there fell head over heels for “America’s Finest City.” However, I also fell head over heels for this guy who lived in Kansas, hence the two-and-a-half year detour.

I’ve felt a lot of growing pains while living here, and although I do have a great group of friends, I have never felt like I really belonged in this town of 13,000 (versus my adult life spent in a city of 2 million and/or a city of 100,000). There is a social structure I can’t seem to get my mind around, based on who you’re related to and what sports you played in high school. I guess I never thought it would be so hard to break into, and didn’t know I’d be such an outsider. So, we’re heading to the land of outsiders, a place where people come from all over the country (all over the world, really) where we believe there will be more opportunities.

So, since I get asked the same questions every time, I figured I’d do a little FAQ! Of course, you can and are always encouraged to ask any other questions in the comments… I love comments!

FAQ:

Do you have jobs?

No, not yet, but we are sending out lots of resumes and praying hard! We invite you to throw us any leads and contribute your prayers ;)

No job lined up… so, why now?

Why not? With no kids and no house payment, this is the perfect time to move! We don’t want to get bogged down with real adult life with careers, investments, etc, in a place where we can’t maximize our potential. I admit, there is an appeal to living in this idyllic small town, if that’s your thing, but we are both ready for an adventure. When I moved here in 2010, I didn’t really picture myself in Kansas for more than 3-5 years and I have reached the 2.5 year mark. Doug has never lived more than 30 miles from where he was born… some would find that comforting, but he is itching to experience a new culture. And believe me… as much as American culture is homogenous from region to region, there are still lots of big differences.

What’s the plan?

Well, like I said, we’re applying for jobs like crazy. If one of the jobs picks us up, we’ll move to wherever that is. Our #1 preference is to move to San Diego, but our back-up plan, if we don’t get hired somewhere in the next six weeks, is to move to Temecula, where my parents live. Not move in with my parents, just closer to them where rent is a few hundred dollars less per month. Of course, if a job lands us anywhere in-between, like Escondido, Oceanside, Carlsbad, well then our minds are made up for us. :)

Do you have a place to live? 

Nope, not yet! However I’m very lucky: since I grew up Temecula and lived in San Diego, I know what neighborhoods to scout out, reputable apartment complexes, and what kind of rent looks reasonable. Thanks to the internet, these days you can sign up for an apartment from several states away! What we might end up doing is getting a short lease somewhere which will afford us time to fine the perfect place–in between work locations, restaurants and parks nearby… you know, the whole shebang.

So, do you hate Kansas?

Okay, fine, nobody asked this one, but a part of me suspects that people view this “rejection” of Kansas as a rejection of the Midwest, of small-town life, of their way of life. This is not true. Overall, I have enjoyed my years here in Kansas and I have made many friends who I love. That said, I think that moving somewhere with more hustle and bustle is what my little family needs right now.

———

Well, enough living in the future, I have lots of living in the present to do. Like a bachelorette party tonight, a birthday party next weekend and an upcoming baby shower for another friend. I do have lots to do and be appreciative of in regards to my current situation. There is a lot to soak up and lots of memories to savor. 

Adventure

It doesn’t have to be rock climbing, white water rafting, or visiting a foreign country.

I went home for lunch, as I do every day. I have the same routine: pull in the driveway, head inside, plunk down purse and keys, let Mosey out of his kennel into the backyard.

Today, I pulled in the driveway, and a cute little black and white face peeked out at me from behind the rolled up hose, and a smiling dog approached my car. He stared at me through my window as I shut the car off. Once I stepped out, he got nervous and ran around to the far side of the house. Clearly curious, he came back with minimal coaching on my part. He sweetly continued to sniff around the yard, obviously interested in the dogs that have gone before him. I checked his collar for his name–Dib–and got the phone number of his family.

He was so friendly! It didn’t take a lot of effort to lead him to my backyard where he’d be safe and sound until his owner came for him. I called, she was home, and told me where the little guy had wandered from. It was several blocks away, and to get to my house he had to have crossed the busiest street in town! He was on an adventure, and so was I. I headed inside to get my own dog–knowing he still needed to go outside. I took him out on a leash and let him sniff the new guy through the chain-link fence, of course I knew that Mosey would like him, but not all dogs like his high-energy friendliness, so I kept them apart. Mosey was quite miffed that I didn’t let him run and play with his new friend.

About this time, a silver mini-van pulled up, and the husband of the woman I talked to on the phone got out. Dib got all squirmy and wiggly–very excited to see a familiar face. I let him out of the yard and he jumped into the arms of his owner. The man explained that the little guy had made a jail-break out of their back door, which hadn’t been closed all the way. He seemed a little embarrassed and sheepish that the dog they’d adopted just six months ago had escaped to explore the big wide world. I didn’t even get his name, but I’m glad I could play a starring role in their reunion. Of course, secretly I wanted to keep the sweet little pup.

It only took about ten minutes, but my unexpected encounter with this little guy was all I needed to put a smile on my face for the rest of the day.

I’m also more convinced than ever that if we get a second dog, I want it to be like this guy. Can’t you imagine the Abbott and Costello kind of schtick he’d pull with skinny, lanky Mosey?