Sunday, May 31, 2009

All Shook Up

Congratulations to my husband and the thousands of others who ran in the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon today - you are awesome! Not only are there bands playing music at every mile at this marathon, but for those that decide to get dressed up as Elvis there is a pre-race pasta dinner and karaoke party, lots of attention from fans on the course, and a special awards competition for the Kings and Queens.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Door to Communication

Okay this is the last photo, for now, that I'll show of places at San Diego State University. This is the foyer of the Communication building on the campus. The tile work covers the surrounding walls and the entrance to the foyer is even fancier - unfortunately I did not get a good photo of it, but click here to see it and read more about the building.

Friday, May 29, 2009

ENS Courtyard

Do you want to know the winner of the Elephant Odyssey schwag or info about this photo first? Thanks to everyone for your great guesses! Okay, congratulations to Richard (SAN) for getting the closest answer - he guessed one hour and 12 minutes. Pretty close. The zookeeper at the elephant exhibit said it took 40 minutes to trim each of Ranchipur's tusks - so a total of 1 hour 20 minutes. Richard, send an email to me at with your address and I'll pop your schwag in the mail.

Kate came very close too (just 20 minutes off), and gave a lot of thought to her answer. I don't think the elephant had anesthesia, but the zookeeper did mention that it took many days of introducing the idea. Kate, let me know if you would like a runner-up prize of an Elephant Odyssey bag for your very thoughtful answer.

This is a photo of the beautiful courtyard inside of the Exercise and Nutritional Sciences building at San Diego State University. I can't tell you how excited I was to have been able to find my way into the building, walk down a dark hallway, and then find this peaceful scene.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Harry Griffin Park

Tucked into La Mesa, practically shoe-horned behind Grossmont High School, is where Harry Griffin Park is located. This huge, rolling hill beauty has so much to offer visitors. There are lovely paths that wind through natural canyons, a flat grassy area to run around on, a playground, a gazebo up on a hill, complete with arches leading up to it. There's even a fenced in leash-free dog park, with three separate areas, one specifically designated for small dogs! Above is a lovely place to sit while your dog sniffs other dogs' behinds. Doesn't that paint a pretty picture for you? (just kidding!)

Put in a few museums and this park will be the east county version of Balboa Park!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Exercise & Nutritional Sciences building

I didn't get to see any of the WPA murals at San Diego State University, but click here to see a gallery of some of the murals on the campus. I got ahead of myself...before the WPA dug out the Aztec Bowl in 1936, there were 13 buildings that made up the core of SDSU. The core buildings were designed in the Spanish Colonial and Mission Revival architectural styles with Arabic, Moorish, and Iberian design features.The Exercise and Nutritional Sciences building (above) completed in 1934, is one of these core buildings. It was originally known as the "Dual Gym" because it served men's and women's athletics.

Keep up the great guesses for the Elephant Odyssey schwag bag giveaway - click here for the details. I'll announce the winner on Friday, 5/29.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aztec Bowl

The first job for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) at San Diego State University was to dig out the Aztec Bowl football stadium. It provided jobs for between 300-700 men and when it was complete in 1936 it was the only stadium on a college campus in California. In 1997 a new indoor stadium was built to replace the old stadium - the concrete and cobblestone bleachers are all that is left of the old stadium. The new arena is called Cox Arena at Aztec Bowl and I hear that this summer the name will change to Viejas Arena, as new corporate sponsorship has taken over.

I've extended the giveaway deadline to the end of the day on Thursday 5/28 to give more people a chance to win the elephant schwag. The guessing is no where close to the actual time - so guess again or make your first guess - click here for the giveaway info.

Monday, May 25, 2009

SDSU & the WPA

Last month Alexandra posted a photo of the County Administration building that was built as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It got me thinking about what other projects were done in San Diego by the WPA. Our local public radio station KPBS did a short video on WPA projects in San Diego, and I decided to check out some of the places they showed. The WPA played a significant part in expanding San Diego State University and in the above photo you can see the WPA acronym stamped into one of the benches that proliferate the campus.

The giveaway is still in progress - check out the Elephant Odyssey post and leave your best guess.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Matilija poppies

It is my birthday, so I'm going to post something pretty! These are Matilija poppies which are native to California. Their papery thin white petals and the yellow center give it the nickname of the "fried egg" flower. The ones shown here were on a bush that was probably over 10 feet tall.
The giveaway is still open - click here to take a guess at how long it takes to trim elephant tusks and you could win some Elephant Odyssey stuff.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Elephant Odyssey - giveaway

Last night we got to preview the Elephant Odyssey exhibit that opens today at the San Diego Zoo and it was spectacular. The overall aim of the exhibit is to show prehistoric California, so besides elephants there are several other animals including a sloth, tapirs, big cats, dung beetles, rattlesnakes, condors and much more - 39 animal species in all. Above is Ranchipur, a male elephant who came from the Wild Animal Park. One of the keepers said that they had to trim his tusks because they were too long and in the process they also found a cavity. I'm giving away some schwag (small inset photo of an Elephant Odyssey bag, ZooNews magazine, picture frame, and a plushy mammoth) to the first person who can guess (or come closest to) how long it took for both of Ranchipur's tusks to be trimmed. The giveaway will end at midnight on Monday, May 25th Thursday, May 28th - I'm extending the deadline to give more people a chance.
One of the features I liked best about the exhibit is that there were several areas that were sunken so that we can get views like this one above of Mary. A great space and lots of viewing areas, so check it out!

Friday, May 22, 2009

First Avenue menagerie

There is a small herd of metal animal sculptures scattered across three or more front yards on First Avenue in Hillcrest. Giraffes, horses, elephants, a turtle, a lion, and a tiger peek out from behind tropical foliage. They reminded me a little bit of these huge metal sculptures we saw on our way to Anza Borrego.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Garden Spider

This is the sort of spider you see in the's in my garden! Ok, in truth, it's about half the size of those southern spiders, but still it is quite impressive. I hope it sticks around this summer and catches those flies that seem to proliferate in the heat.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Location, location, location

I can't say much about the Ocean Beach International Hostel, because I've never stayed there, but, yes, it is really only 1 block to the beach. I also don't know much about the beautiful stained glass peace sign, but click here to see another one just like it on a precarious cliff side post.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Secret passage

Here's a little shortcut between Newport Avenue and Santa Monica Avenue in Ocean Beach. It's the side door for the Electric Chair hair salon and a little further down the corridor there is a small thrift shop operated by the VFW Post 1392.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Here is another Ocean Beach institution - Nati's Mexican Restaurant which opened in 1960. They have a nice display case at the front of the restaurant with old photos, menus, and this photo of Shaun Cassidy in a Nati's t-shirt from the 70's when he was so hot.
So if Shaun ate there you must know that the food is great. And it is. Two ground beef enchiladas with rice and beans with sour cream and avocado, about $8.50.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pacific Shores

For some reason I got to thinking of the movie "Almost Famous" where the opening scene travels down Newport Avenue. Several other San Diego locations are also shown in the film. The above photo is of a bar called Pacific Shores which seems to be one of the oldest original businesses on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach. I posted an old photo of Newport Avenue from 1943 and you can barely see a little bit of the neon sign from Pacific Shores.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Across Mission Bay

With several paved paths, Mission Bay is probably one of the best areas to take a stroll, walk, or jog. The Model Boat Pond is located on a small island in Mission Bay called Vacation Isle. When I was growing up the area was called Vacation Village. The island includes the pond, a resort called Paradise Point, and a park area with picnic tables, bbqs, and fire rings. The above photo looks toward the short bridge on West Mission Bay Drive.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Beef 'n Bun

It always used to give me a laugh to drive by Beef 'n Bun in El Cajon. Okay, it still does give me a laugh, but I'm not laughing at their burgers anymore. The burger has cheese, bacon, and the beef is not from a frozen patty. I've heard that the shakes and the fried zucchini are delicious heavenly meals in themselves.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I have fond memories of playing in a field of nasturtiums in a canyon at the back of a childhood home. The carpet of the plant was so thick you couldn't see your feet when you looked down.It really made us feel like we were out in the wild somewhere, even though all we had to do was turn around to see home. The smell of the plant filled the air of that tiny canyon. It was not a lovely, captivating, flowery smell, mind you. It was more of a simple, but curious 'plant' smell.

Each spring after some rain you see nasturtiums pop up and grow like crazy for a while. By late summer they seem to all but disappear. As a child, I didn't know that I could have snacked on the plant - nothing about the smell was inviting me to taste it. But lately, I've taken to putting a couple at the top of my home made spring rolls, for a little pretty touch, and a small, peppery bite.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New music

The Conrad Prebys Music Center at UCSD opened over the weekend. There were free concerts and people were allowed to roam the halls, classrooms, and studios of the center. We went to the violin concert of Janos Negyesy which was modern violin music with a modern dance piece. The above photo shows part of the dance piece where this huge metal ball was energetically pushed around on the stage accompanied to the music. Pretty stunning!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The dark side

Cute Darth Vader stencil. Click here to see another stencil graffiti piece I showed before.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Model boat pond

When my mom was growing up she said that you used to be able to swim in the model boat pond at Paradise Point, but sometime during her childhood they put a stop to the swimming and now it is used exclusively for model boats. I spoke with a nice man who is a member of the San Diego Argonauts group and he told me that these remote control model sail boats have a small motor for the rudder and to lift the sails, moving across the water by their sail power. A small boat (about 1 meter) costs about $1000. Races for model sail and power boats are held throughout the year.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Little hut of flowers

Here's a cute little flower stand in Mission Valley. And some nice ideas for Mother's Day: giver her flowers, chocolate, spa treatments, breakfast, lunch, dinner, a phone call or in-person visit, do some household chores, or simply giver her the day off. Hope you all have an enjoyable day!

Saturday, May 09, 2009


The world famous WD-40 company started right here in San Diego. If baby oil gets tar off, then you would be surprised at what WD-40 can do. I recently used it to get some horribly sticky adhesive off of a wooden table. What is your favorite use for WD-40? Click here to see their official list of 2000+ ways to use the product.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Leaving Hillcrest *sob*

Expat happened by the old diner and gave us these pics and story: Felicia showed us a couple of farewell pix of the funky '50s-style diner "Corvette" just before they closed. Now, as the premises are gutted, the style lingers on in a series of cartoonish banners directing our attention to the soon-open Corvette at Lib-Sta (that's Liberty Station for those of you outside San Diego).
....and in other news of the never-ending musical chairs of Hillcrest restaurants, right through the block, the India Princess has served its last onion bhaji. I'm not sorry, personally -- I gave it 2 out of 10. It'll be interesting to see who fills these two holes in the Hillcrest dining scene.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Sunny Beach Day

The weather in San Diego lately has been beautiful - nice & warm.  Hot enough to need some cooling off, but not so hot that you aren't able to get it together to leave the house. So, we snuck off to the beach (Torrey Pines State Beach) to cool off a few days ago.  We had a wonderful afternoon running around along the shore, searching for shells, making rock piles, & laying around in the sand. Yea, it was rough! ;-)

We even managed to get a little bit of tar on our feet! Tar is quite common up around Santa Barbara, but less so down here. (For those of you who may not know this; baby oil takes tar off of skin.)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Squirrel perch

There are a few walking/hiking/jogging/biking trails near the Velodrome where I saw this flowering agave plant. I wanted to get a photo of it, but then I realized that there was a squirrel sitting in the leaves. I'm not a fan of wild rodents, so I took a few snaps and both the squirrel and I took off.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Did you know we have a velodrome in the heart of the city? The San Diego Velodrome is part of Morley Field and their Tuesday night races are now in full swing. It's good free entertainment - the races start at 6:30 pm and you can BYOB and food.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Bringing in babies

I don't know how long this stork has perched atop the buildings at Sharp Memorial Hospital, but we all know what storks do. According to their website the Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women delivers more than 8,000 babies per year, that must be one tired stork!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Pretty in pink

It is only once a year in the spring that this corner yard in my neighborhood pops up in pink. That's Cowles Mountain in the background.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Another view of downtown

I was standing in the parking lot of Balboa Park Golf Course when I took this photo of the downtown skyline.

Friday, May 01, 2009

A dot

I know it just looks like a mass of green, but if you look in the upper middle you'll see a white dot of a person. I was standing on a hillside trail in Presidio Park when I took this photo and some minutes before I was hiking along the same trail as the white dot. Click here to see another view of this canyon.