Thursday, April 30, 2009

This Season's Grapes

I've had this grape vine for years - 5 or 6 of 'em by now. Last year it gave me its first bunch of grapes. Finally, this year, there are so many little clusters of grapes, I can hardly count them all. Of course, I have neurotically counted every single one, almost daily. I'm also fretting about the ones that are down low & may be plucked off before they're allowed to grow into mature grapes. I'm very excited, to have lots of grapes this year!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

For your car window

I always wondered where people bought these car window stickers - not that I want one. There is a place in Mission Beach by the roller coaster that sells them. See something you would put on your car?Now, really, who does this stuff and drives around with it on their car?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Viejas outlet mall

The above photo is of the Viejas Outlet mall where the Concerts in the Park are held. The mall is very pretty - lots of water features and southwestern looking architecture.
There are also lots of benches, a few little bridges, and some critters around the mall.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Everything's coming up roses

Well, not exactly...a little bit more prickly these days...from a neighborhood yard.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lake Hodges

This looks down Lake Drive on your way out to Lake Hodges Reservoir, which is between the communities of Escondido and Rancho Bernardo. I don't spend a lot of time in North County and this was my first trip to Lake Hodges. After reading a little bit about the lake, I'm interested in going back again when the new bike/pedestrian bridge opens and also to check out the Piedras Pintadas (painted rocks) area where remnants of Kumeyaay Native American life can be seen.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I'm going to bore you with one more photo of the inside of Corvette Diner (their last day in Hillcrest will be tomorrow). They have lots of neon in this restaurant and the above Bowl-o-rama sign has got to be my favorite..the ball lights up as it rolls down the alley. How 1950s is that? Do you remember the US TV shows "Make That Spare", "Celebrity Bowling", and "Bowling For Dollars"?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Hasta luego

Corvette Diner has been in Hillcrest for 22 years and now they will be moving to Liberty Station. I think the last time I went there was for a birthday party about 22 years ago. Their last day in Hillcrest will be this Sunday.
Our waitress told us that the new place will have an arcade, private party rooms, plentiful free parking, and of course they will continue to have all the 1950's memorabilia.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

La Jolla Museum Of Contemporary Arts Cafe

There's a little cafe at the MOCA in La Jolla, called The Museum Cafe. Tables are stuffed cozily between the columns, making you feel like you can safely carry on intimate conversations. Vines crawl up around the columns and onto a lattice roof. It's really quite picturesque. A wonderful place to meet up with friends for a leisurely cup of coffee & a chat - not that I know much about that sort of life anymore. I'd be too busy saying non-leisurely mom-things, like, "Come back here! Please sit down." and, "Use your napkin, not your sleeve, please."
More on the Museum of Contemporary Arts, here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

OB Elementary stairs

This is the main entrance to Ocean Beach Elementary school which was built in 1934. The tiles are in pretty good shape after 75 years. Happy Earth Day (40 years old) and Happy Birthday to Expat (__ years old)! Cheers to aging with health, beauty, and grace!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fountain in Little Italy

This fountain is outside the Village Walk condos - a super colorful complex in the heart of Little Italy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Topiary madness

Bunnies, elephants, monkeys, whales, ghoulies, swirlies, and so much more! This is a private residence in the Midtown/Mission Hills area where they have done an incredible job sculpting the bushes.
P.S.: Click here for a short article in the Tribune about the garden and its owners.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Interstate 8 West

This is what you would see if you entered San Diego County at sundown on the interstate 8 freeway going west. I didn't know this but on wikipedia, it says that the 8 freeway is called the Border Friendship Route from San Diego to the Arizona state line.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cliff side

This is a photo of the Point Loma cliffs that I took last year when we went tide pooling. The best time to go tide pooling is when there are really low tides (in the winter and spring). Even though the season has kind of passed, there are still times throughout the rest of the year when tides are low enough to see some marine life. Click here for a nice guide to tide pooling in San Diego.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Leaning tower of yogurt

It is a landmark in El Cajon and used to be the Leaning Tower of Pizza, but it changed ownership in 1977 and became the Yogurt Mill. I haven't tried the yogurt, but there is always a crowd every time I pass by.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Works Progress Administration

I had a little business to attend to this morning at the County Administration Building. While taking care of my business, I learned a little bit about this building & fountain. It was begun as part of the Works Progress Administration, by Roosevelt. The fountain was created thanks to the Federal Art Project of the WPA. It occurred to me that as a subject, this fountain was appropriate for our current times.

A little sign inside told me that 15,000 San Diegans attended the ground-breaking ceremony in the 1930's. Quite an attendance!

As an aside, it is difficult to take photos around this building, what with all the security guards around.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Back to school

The Francis Parker (lower) School was the first of several elementary schools in the city designed by William Templeton Johnson. He also designed these elementary schools: La Jolla, Muir, Jackson, Linda Vista, Bandini, and Fremont. And the music rooms at Roosevelt and Wilson junior high schools. Johnson designed several buildings in San Diego - click here to see another and here for a full list.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Everlasting shrubs

Since I often forget to water my plants, these potted plants would be safe in my yard. There are actually 3 or 4 more "plants" along this wall in Mission Hills. It makes for a well manicured, "green", and easy maintenance parking lot.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Moo 2

A follow-up on the Cow Parade from Expat: Remember the glamorous artist I featured last August? She was painting a cow, if you remember. Now, La Jolla and University City are awash with art cows as part of an exhibition which will benefit Children's Hospital and the Zoo. Download your map from the web site and choose your cow cruise. We didn't see Chris Keller's striking yellow cow but there are plenty to admire.
This matador-cow is outside the Union Bank on Girard St.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Happy Easter! Looks like egg salad sandwiches are in our future.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

George J Keating building

George Keating died in 1888 and his wife Fannie carried on with their plans for the construction of the above building in 1890. It first opened as a modern office building in 1891, once housed a bank, and is now a restaurant/bar on the ground level and a hotel on the upper levels. Here is a fun fact: the architects of the building, the Reid brothers, also designed the Hotel del Coronado.

Friday, April 10, 2009

View of OB pier

Here's the view of the Ocean Beach pier from the top of Niagra Newport Avenue.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Pearl of the Pacific

At the end of the road at Shelter Island there's this really neat fountain called Pearl of the Pacific. It was designed by James T. Hubbell. There's a beautiful wall behind it, mosaic all over, ornate blue-painted metalwork that looks like waves. It's really fantastic.

There is a walk all around the bay at Shelter Island, with sculptures along the way, culminating in this masterpiece at the end. Incredibly scenic and well worth the trip, if you haven't been here yet!

For more information on this fountain, click here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Rooftop & tower

This is a photo I took of the rooftop of the Chabad of Downtown San Diego and one of the towers of the Harbor Club condos - I just liked the lines. Out with the chametz! The Passover holiday starts tomorrow and one of the traditions is to get rid of and not eat breads and grains that have been leavened. Some years ago we thought that our son might have a wheat intolerance so we tried for a short time to live without bread and it was not easy. Have you ever tried a wheat-free, dairy-free, fat-free, sugar-free or ____-free diet?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Argh, gimme my coffee!

This drive through coffee spot in Ocean Beach is pretty cool and very pirate-y.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Get on with the challenge already

A court case was settled last week deciding the teams for the next America's Cup challenge. The San Diego Yacht Club won the trophy in 1988, 1992, and 1995 and probably followed this case closely. The above photo is the famous club's headquarters on San Diego Bay.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

What's left of Goodan Ranch

Goodan Ranch was a working ranch in the 1930s. Before that there was a German town (which there are no traces left), and before that native Americans lived in the area (grinding holes where food was processed can be seen in some rocks). The October 2003 Cedar Fire swept away quite a bit of what was left of the ranch including a barn, a water tank, and storage areas. There is still life at the ranch: friendly rangers will greet you across the way at the Vistor Center that opened in 2007 and see two lizards posing on the window sill on the right in the above photo.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Sycamore Canyon & Goodan Ranch

The Sycamore Canyon Open Space Preserve, shown in the photo, burned down during the Cedar Fire in October of 2003 and was closed for almost one year. The preserve is located near Poway and Santee. My friend and I took a hike through the area and found that we could still see black tree branches sticking up here and there. We walked from where I was standing when I took this photo to where you see the trail in the middle of the photo. The telephone poles lead to the Goodan Ranch Ranger Station and the remains of the Goodan Ranch, which I'll show you tomorrow.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Gastro-treasures of Linda Vista

Well at least some people are dining out these days...Expat brings some Friday food to us here: Our Friday dinner trio decided to be really adventurous last week (actually, we mostly decided to go CHEAP, due to an economy drive). Sab-E-Lee is a real hole-in-the-wall, as you can see. Six tables, no reservations, no booze, no credit cards or tablecloths. It doesn't even have its name outside. But a very enthusiastic review in the Reader about a month ago got our attention. (Here is another review from the voracious eaters of mmm-yoso!!!) This was NORTH Thai food, the reviewer explained, not at all like what we're used to eating at, say, Amarin Thai in Hillcrest. More like Laotian, apparently.
Pictured are the house specialty, papaya salad, and the North Thai sausage fried rice. We also sampled the duck and one chicken dish. It was terrific, especially the duck, and just over $20 each. They definitely like it spicy up there in the North -- even the papaya is hot. Don't all go at once, please -- even the very limited readership of this blog would overwhelm the place.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

April Fools!

Leaving home yesterday I happened past this poor car. I hope the owner didn't have to get somewhere with any sort of timeliness!

What is your all-time favorite prank - either played on you or by you?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Theme day - yellow

Last week I posted photos of some of the wildflowers we saw at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. But we really don't have to go far, we can just drive down the freeway and see spots of color: yellow, orange, purple, fuchsia, and red. The above photo is from a short hike I took in Sycamore Canyon Preserve/Goodan Ranch which I'll post more photos of this weekend. Follow the yellow brick road to view thumbnails for all participants.