Sun, Surf and Sea Air ~ Cardiff, CA

For a second year we are back to work as Camp Hosts at San Elijo State Beach and tomorrow begins the big work week.  Imagine if you will a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean at one of the best surfing spots on the West Coast and that is where our RV sits.  With near perfect temps, pounding surf to lull you to sleep at night, and intoxicating sea air, how can this be called work?  Yes, what we do classifies as work, but there is plenty of time for play and if we don’t get more than our fair share of exercise, shame on us.  We literally can walk or bike most any place we need to go, unless of course we want to head a few miles south to do more San Diego exploring, and we will be doing plenty of that.

For now I will leave you with a small sampling of the sights right outside our door:

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Dress Rehearsal is Over

Yes, our “dress rehearsal” is now over and we are ready to go live, and yes, there is some work involved here, albeit it small compared to what “work” looked like for us pre-retirement.  We have had the luxury of training while the campground is still closed for the season, instead of OJT, which is how most of us have been accustomed to learning jobs over the years.  And beauty of all beauties, there was even an actual training manual involved, thanks to our industrious instructors.

One of our first official duties as camp hosts was to clear away an area where we could plant some native shrubs.

Frank in his OSHA-approved footwear & Terry, clearing the site for planting

Bill thought it would be great for each of us to plant a shrub that we could come back to 20 years from now and look upon its progress.  At this point I am glancing over at Terry and see him doing the math.  No, I couldn’t actually see him counting.  He has long since progressed beyond using the finger method.  I could tell by the look on his face that he is looking 20 years into the future and wondering if he will still be standing upright!

Terry & me planting our shrub

Planting these shrubs was such a good idea, as it gave us a solid connection to this state beach.

As a wrap-up to our training, we had a short meeting, followed by a pot-luck and bonfire.  It gave us an opportunity to get to know one another better and at sunset, we all stood at the cliff fence watching the sun slip below the horizon.

I have to shout out a quick thanks to our instructors Bill and Lisa, for hiring us and for providing such a welcoming, supportive training atmosphere.

We have thoroughly enjoyed Bill and Lisa since meeting them several years ago and look forward to getting to know them a little better in this new environment. I love this photo of them, so relaxed, which is how it should be here.  I particularly was drawn to Lisa in this photo, as her expression pulls me back to memories I have of my dear friend Barbara, too soon gone.  Barbara, such a force of creativity, wonderment, compassion, a true gentle spirit, loved by all. Lisa is much like Barbara and her expression, for me, embodies a sense of pure contentment, which draws everyone to her.

We are looking forward to our time here, working with the public, which I’m sure will offer some interesting stories, and exploring the area beyond the campground.

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Will Somebody Pinch Me?

We have spent the past week training for our first workamping gig in the San Diego area.  Picture this, we are sitting outside at a picnic table, warm sun on our backs, cool breeze gently moving the pages in our manual, and the ocean in our peripheral vision (more so if we are not paying attention to our instructor).  How could anyone possibly use the word “work” in a sentence describing this?  But yes, this is the job we have signed up for, camp host at San Elijo State Beach.  Oh, the agony of it all!

Our friends Bill and Lisa, who have spent many a year at this place, are passionate about the preservation of the California State Beaches, which has been a concern due to governmental funding issues.  They helped to set up the non-profit Friends of Cardiff & Carlsbad State Beaches for just this purpose, of which Bill is a founding board member.

Yesterday was a short day for training, so back to our rig and a quick change into something more comfy and we are off to the beach for some exercise.  There is so much to see on this stretch of sandy beach, from the surfers at Swami Beach, an area we are told holds the best surfing in California, the dolphins and whales we catch a glimpse of occasionally, the multitude of shore birds searching for tasty little morsels, children busily building sand castles, young and older lovers strolling together, and joggers effortlessly moving (how I wish my jogging was) along the beach.

Marbled Godwit

It is wonderful to start down the beach, then take one of the many long staircases up to street level (which are also great for strengthening your legs), to wander along the sidewalks of Encinitas, window shopping, while I wind my way back home.  There are so many interesting shops and restaurants, that if we are not careful, we could do some real damage here.

Sanderlings

Back home, a little more exercise, clean up and I scurry off to do some grocery shopping.  Trader Joe’s is just a couple of miles from where we are staying, as is Whole Foods, Sprouts, and a few other interesting looking groceries.

As I return home, walking up to the RV I hear some great tunes wafting out from the windows.  Terry has figured out how to fix our DVD player and has the Eagles Farewell Tour playing.  This day just continues to get better!

I quickly put the groceries away and after some chopping and dicing, get the pasta sauce simmering.  Terry puts himself in charge of the drinks and hands me my glass.  Ah, the aroma of a glass of good red (which I have not had in my hands for a while) is quite intoxicating.  The song Love Will Keep Us Alive begins to play and I am such a sucker for all of Timothy B’s music!  I look at my husband and motion for him.  He complies, because that’s what he does (sometimes) and we dance. Shame on you!  You thought this was going to be a post tagged for mature eyes only, didn’t you?  Nothing like the Eagles, the ocean, and a California sunset to get you into the mood to dance.  And I would say this is true whether you have a partner with you or not.

After dinner, with a nearly full moon to guide us and the pounding surf as our symphony, we strolled down the beach to round out a most enchanting day.  Love truly will keep us alive, wouldn’t you say?

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A Contemplative Kind of Day

Spiritual awakening is about waking up from your ego. It is not about awakening the ego.   ~  Sampo Kaasila

The day started with a 45-minute sit and the instructor discussing the practice of Drishti, which is a technique that develops focus.  She asked us to focus not just on what we wanted or needed for ourselves but for compassion and abundance for all of humanity.  Imagine what our world would look like if we awoke each day thinking about others instead of ourselves, particularly those who we struggle to understand or even like.  Imagine a world where we attempted to see another’s point of view instead of holding on so stubbornly to our own.  This was a great way to start my day.  Yoga and a walk on the beach followed.  Ahhh, utter bliss!

Ever since I read the book Autobiography of a Yogi some years ago, I have wanted to visit the Self-Realization Fellowship Hermitage in Encinitas, CA.  This is the center that was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1937, the revered yogi who brought India’s great science of meditation to the West.  He tirelessly devoted his life to uniting East and West in spiritual understanding.

Terry and I walked into Encinitas from our campground, toured the meditation gardens and the temple.  It was a lovely extension of my morning and I am looking forward to participating in some of the meditation sessions offered.  Our walk back proved to be just as joyful, as we were able to watch a pod of whales spouting offshore and a school of dolphins playfully riding the waves in.  I think we could get used to this place.

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Sunset and Surf

As I stand looking out over the ocean, I am marveling at the vastness  and beauty of it all.  The smell of the salty air, sandpipers running along the water’s edge for whatever coastal treasures they can find, a pair of pelicans flying overhead together as if mimicking fighter jets, wingtips aligned, and sun and sea melding into one. This is what Terry and I are mesmerized by now, while sipping on a chilled glass of wine.  This is what we can see from our picture window.  Yes, we have landed in San Diego, Cardiff-by-the-Sea to be more exact, where we will enjoy the rest of winter.  I feel especially blessed at this moment and hope that all of you are experiencing a sunset and surf kind of day, no matter where you find yourself.

Tomorrow promises to be a great day too, starting with yoga and meditation.   Life is good. 🙂

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