Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Sadly, there was a huge loss of koi fish this year in Balboa Park's Japanese Friendship Garden, read the story here & help rebuild the collection. These small guys in the above photo are in front of the Botanical Garden building.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Day or night, it is a long and beautiful promenade in Balboa Park.

Monday, December 29, 2008

It's a religion, not just hippies

Practicing in Pacific Beach - some of you have probably heard the popular chant...
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama

Rama Rama Hare Hare

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Botanicals #3

Did you know that the city of Encinitas (a little bit north of San Diego) is practically the capital of poinsettias? The Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas worked hard campaigning the plant as a holiday flower and today they claim to supply about 70% of the flowering plants in the US and about 50% worldwide. That's a lot of poinsettias.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Botanicals #2

Again, I don't know what kind of tree this is, but they do have beautiful leaves. The catch is that at this time of year they drop these little balls (seed pods?) or aka doo doo balls in my house and make a nice little mess.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Botanicals #1

Don't ask me what kind of pine it is, because I have no idea. Just pretty.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A jaunty hat for Christmas

At Christmas dinner in our household, everyone wears a silly hat. This site is common in many an English household, but here in America it is much more rare. My English step dad introduced us to Christmas crackers (and the hats hidden inside them), and now we wouldn't have it any other way. Once cracking open your cracker with a neighbor, you'll find a silly (bad) joke which is announced to everyone at the table, a toy - which is invariably difficult to decipher, illiciting more discussion & theorizing as to its purpose, and a hat - which is plunked on your head for the duration of the meal.

Do you have any silly Christmas traditions in your household?

Merry Christmas, everyone. Or, as my step dad says, Happy Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lights fantastic

The holidays always make me feel warped out like this photo. This is what happens when you are trying to take photos of Christmas lights with a toddler in your arms. :)
Alexandra will post tomorrow, so best holiday wishes to you all!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crazy for Christmas

Some people love to decorate for the holidays, and Bob here in La Mesa loves Christmas. There was a "snow" blower (bubbles) at the entrance and you walk around the front and back yards to see several displays.
Aside from Santa in the cockpit of this plane, there were 4 (or more!) train tracks (one with a full village), dolls and figurines, a nativity scene, and lights, lights, and more lights.
AND they served up hot cocoa to visitors!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another gingerbread house

This gingerbread house in Balboa Park is not exactly delicious looking. Click here for something more edible.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

SoCal Santa

Santa is taking a break from all the hustle and bustle. And, it really is sunny and about 60 degrees here today!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not the most radical real estate development in Hillcrest

I posted a picture of this house on Lewis Street at Albatross about two years ago (here). Expat, happened by it and got this photo and wrote: Well, lookee what happened -- it grew another storey and some Christmas decorations. It seems like every week older houses in Hillcrest are being trashed to make way for new condos (just a couple of blocks away, a site on Bachman Place at Montecito has been cleared). They call it "urban infill," I believe. This yellow house isn't exactly National Monument class, but I'm glad they added to it rather than pulling it down.

I don't know if Expat knew this, but this is the story behind the extra storey. I walk by this house occasionally and a while ago, maybe one year or more, the occupants had a sign and balloons out front announcing that the twins had arrived! That must have been fun - construction along with newborns!

Friday, December 19, 2008

No more pork chops

Pernicano's Casa di Baffi was a swinging place about 25 years ago, hosting famous people and serving up their famous pork chops. Now the building is vacant and taking up much needed space in a thriving neighborhood. Big bummer - read more here. I thought this is a fitting photo to tell you that I've decided to stop posting about food on Fridays. Just can't do it anymore, but I'll still post about food randomly.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You're a mean one...

This past weekend we went to see How to Grinch Stole Christmas at The Old Globe theater in Balboa Park. An auditorium filled with kids could easily be categorized as a place to skip - but it was a great scene. The kids were in rapt attention - watching everything going on on stage. The play was really fun - the set fantastic, the actors were a hoot. Seriously, if you can, you've got to go see this show!

Here's a little fun: Click here for the song from the cartoon (referenced in the title of this post)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Street decor

Some of the neighborhoods have banners attached to street lights like the above in Pacific Beach. These ones are decorations in celebration of the season, but at other times of the year they put up a little flag to announce upcoming events.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mission Heights sign

Here is another neighborhood sign, this one is for Mission Heights which is part of Linda Vista....I never knew it existed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mission Hills sign

I can't even remember what this little mini-mall on Washington Street looked like before but it was recently renovated - and it looks nice now. They kept and reintegrated the metal sign that says "Mission Hills" which denotes this neighborhood.
P.S.: I took this photo last week - today it is raining cats and dogs!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I walked by this meeting room and saw this delicious sundae. Earlier in the day there had been a holiday party and there were a few of these balloon sculptures around the room. Happy Sunday to you and Happy Birthday to my husband!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A different kind of turkey

This bird is called a turkey vulture - what ugly and fascinating creatures! There were several of them sitting atop the fence posts near Lake Murray, watching my every move, spreading their large wings and intimidating me.

Friday, December 12, 2008

More tacos

My mouth waters just thinking about these mini al pastor tacos from El Cuervo. One can never get enough tacos, don't you think? Click on the links to see chicken, carne asada, fish, or lobster tacos or the mixed plate.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Clean Rooms, Lo Rates

Along El Cajon Blvd. is located many privately-owned motels, as well as a few of the national chains. The chains don't interest me. It's those privately-owned motels which fascinate me. With names such as La Cresta, La Petite Rouge, and Morgan's, they practically scream hourly rates, and a dark, seedy underbelly that I know nothing about. "I saw your mom on El Cajon Blvd. last night!" was a common tease when I was a kid. The only suitable reply to that was, "oh yea? And what were you doing there?"

Years ago, El Cajon Blvd. was a known location for hookers, but that trade died down once they installed median strips (of all things!). Possible buyers could no longer flip U-turns willy-nilly once seeing 'merchandise' they were interested in. Strange, but it worked!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where are these murals?

Gayle (Alexandra's Mom) writes: You might catch the tiniest glimpse of this long wall of murals if you're on a southbound trolley or train heading into Old Town. Otherwise, there's not much chance you've ever seen them. They're along the new walk/bike path under construction from Mission Valley to Ocean Beach, at the point where it passes under the 8&5 freeway snarl. Yes, you can actually walk the whole way, if you're feeling adventurous. But you might want to avoid some of the seedier underpasses along the way.
And from this point on, the north side of the river channel along Sea World Drive is a pleasanter walk (away from the freeway noise). You can get to these murals from Pacific Highway, if you're interested.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Watch your step

Love these "rocky" stairs at Adrenaline Watersports.
Happy Birthday to my aunt Julia!

Monday, December 08, 2008

The other part of yes mural

When I first saw this mural, I thought I knew who it was supposed to be but after seeing the other half that says "yes" (posted yesterday) I wasn't sure. What do you think?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The answer you want to hear

Here is a small part of larger mural I saw in Pacific Beach. I'll show you the other part tomorrow.
Happy Birthday to my cousin Honie!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Bay side

The neighborhood of Mission Beach is just about a two mile stretch with one main road (Mission Boulevard) flanked by the Pacific Ocean on one side and Mission Bay on the other. Here are some houses on the bay side. Click here or here to see the views from these homes.

Friday, December 05, 2008

SoCal cafe culture

Cafe 976 is in a renovated house with a deck and garden patio in Pacific Beach. And good thing they have a sign out front because otherwise you might think you are just wandering into someone's front yard. So homey.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

BUWP? What's That?

Someone didn't drink their coffee, did they? This, err...'creative spelling' version of BUMP is located directly behind Hoover High School, which is in Central San Diego, about 5 mi. north east from downtown. Makes me smile every time I pass over it.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Inspiration Heights

This marker on Sunset Avenue distinguished the neighborhood of Inspiration Heights. The area was originally called Johnston Heights then sub-divided into Inspiration Heights and is now called Mission Hills. Click here to read about the neighborhood's namesake, Captain Henry James Johnston.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Sunset Avenue

Mission Hills is another old neighborhood that began its development during the construction and building boom of the 1880s. The photo above looks down Sunset Avenue which was originally called Johnston Road.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Cool globes - theme day

Yesterday was the last day of the "Cool Globes" exhibit in Balboa Park. There were 35 larger-than-life globes each one with a message about how to reduce global warming.
This "trashy" one above was my favorite. The project was first displayed in Chicago and has gone to Washington DC and San Francisco. Next year they will visit Los Angeles and London. See more cool globes, spheres and circles from the Daily Photo group - Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.