All posts by Vavara

March 9, 2018



They are everywhere!  A month or two ago — none.  Now, there are these yellow ones, and also orange ones, and green ones.  They appear in rows and racks, and also randomly parked.  Who rides them, and where from and to? And how did those people transport themselves before?!  Are they replacing walking or riding the bus or Uber/Lyft?

They are new, attractive, and apparently reasonably priced to rent.  What happens when it rains?  And will they be stolen — for parts or whatever?  And who maintains them?

And who thinks it’s safe to ride a bike in downtown San Diego?  I think it’s hardly safe to walk…drivers seem to treat driving like a video game or sport, not thinking about the damage potential of a 2-ton vehicle.  Brave (foolhardy?) bike riders!

March 8, 2018


I saw these in the San DIego Library’s rare books room.  I can’t remember what they are called, what the language is, what they say,  how old they are, who made them for what purpose, nor how they are made.  I wish I had taken some notes.

But they are extraordinarily beautiful in their graphic simplicity, strength, rhythm, and contrast of color and line.  The delicate red with the dark, bold black; the horizontal format; the repetition and variation — lots of the things I talked about yesterday.

There is such loveliness in the world — nature-made and human-made!

March 7, 2018


And texture and surface and color.  And repetition and variation.  And curves and lines and holes and connections.  And rhythms and pauses.  Knitting is so much like music and art and dance, both in its process and in its results.  I’ve been thinking about the art I like to make, and a lot of it is repetition with rhythm.  Even the drawing I do tends to have elements of dance; I like to dance with my pen.  When I make collages there’s often a grid or some sketchy elements of a grid, which provides structure for the dance of shapes and colors.

It’s really all the same even when it’s different.

March 6, 2018

Our Local

As the British would say.  Restaurant/sports bar.  A great “Taco Tuesday” with yummy carnitas and superb potatoes for the vegetarians/vegans and those of us who just enjoy spicy potatoes!  Also a dozen toppings, including my favorite, avocado cream.  Beans, rice, shredded cabbage, two cheeses, pico de gallo, and more.  Nice service.  Too loud but very clean.  To top it all off, a very reasonable price and delicious salads for those of us who want a veggie with every meal.  Happy.

March 5, 2018


Part of a sculpture on the Martin Luther King Parkway, which is a walkway across from the harbor and convention center.  It has quotes and sculptures.  In this one,  I like the surface texture of the brushed metal — and the lights and darks in that you don’t really notice when looking at the real thing.  But they are very evident in the photo; the camera can enhance the image, not just capture it.  And I did nothing to the photo except for cropping it — no contrast or color manipulation.

You can see some sky and palm trees in the upper opening and a building and a truck in the lower one.  There are things to marvel at right in front of us every day.

March 4, 2018

Corinto Again

Art?  Fencing?  At the beach in Corinto, Nicaragua.  Tires and palms and sand and color and the sea.  And yet strange.  A sense of defeat, of doom, even in the face of the color and the effort.  Or maybe just my gloomy glasses.  I look back at that trip and really wonder about the fate of the world.  Of us all.

March 3, 2018

All the Way

Yep, it’s turtles.  Dear friends gave us this.  There are little bells between the turtles.  We have it hanging on the back of an oft-used door, and the turtles’ bells ring whenever someone goes in or out.  A small tinkle, as it were!

March 2, 2018


I love these.  Again.  Even if some are out of focus.  I am out of focus too, sometimes.  The contrast is great.  The deep velvety green and the bright white.  With the yellow-green accents.  It’s hard to know it’s spring just by looking around.  Some of the trees are still bare of leaves, but there’s so much that blooms year round.  And it might rain tonight.  I hope.

March 1, 2018

California Groceries

It is so wonderful that we get such glorious produce here.  In March, even.  I  made pasta with asparagus for dinner, with a simple squeeze of  lemon juice and fresh-grated Asiago.  Butter lettuce salad with fresh orange chunks (oops, left the orange out of the photo) and avocado.  (Artichokes for tomorrow.)  Bakery baguette, too, as if we didn’t have enough carbs.  It was just too appealing to have real bakery bread, one of my favorite indulgences!

February 28, 2018

Squirrel Lookout

Aka, squirrel on a sprinkler pipe.  Nice vantage point.  I looked at it, it looked at the ocean — or, more likely, the cliff and beach between it and the ocean.  Pretty good protective coloration, and pretty good vantage point.  Clever squirrel, don’t you think?

February 27, 2018

Redoing the Docks

At Seaport Village, Marriott (and others too?) has/have lots of docking space.  Here, it was the geometry that attracted me.  Like a railroad track, the separators march on, in parallel lines into the distance…with the palm trees at the end of the road!  There are also a large group of workmen out there.  I wonder what they are doing.  And then there are the mysterious cubbies in the foreground.  OK, boating friends, what is all this?

February 26, 2018

Best Towel Animal

I forgot that I wanted to post this.  The towel animals are always amusing and clever.  I even enjoyed taking them apart to see how they were constructed.  But when this one appeared, I asked our cabin steward to leave it up.  It was just too whimsical to undo.  So it accompanied us for most of the cruise.  Hanging out in the corner, keeping an eye on us quite benignly.

February 24, 2018


The whole wall of printing tiles.  I stood there looking at it for about 30 minutes.  All different, all gorgeous.  A collage of texture and shape:  simple, geometric, floral, complex, subtle, powerful…How many people made these?  How were they used?  Did the makers get to see the results?  Were they well-paid?  How long were they in use?  How did they end up here?  And, and, and…

February 23, 2018


Back home again.  We went to the Mingei International Museum (of folk art, craft, and design) in Balboa Park.  I keep forgetting how wonderful it is.  My favorite this time was a wall of tjapas from Indonesia, printing blocks made of wood and copper.  Each individual one was a thing of beauty; the array of hundreds was breathtaking.  I wish there had been samples of the printed results, too.  If you visit San Diego, check out the Mingei!

February 22, 2018

Cabo Boats

Cabo San Lucas.  Tourists, tourists, tourists.  And we were just two among them.  The last time I was there, it was with my sister, and we “swam with the dolphins.”  It was surprisingly wonderful, despite misgivings about the marvelous animals’ [highly possible] exploitation.  We could touch them, they “kissed” us, we could even “ride” them, all in a swimming pool.  This current visit was quieter, duller, and felt a bit sad.

February 21, 2018

Ruins at Izapa

Our excursion in Puerto Chiapas took us to these ruins.  They are on a riverbed, large, and 2000-3500 years old!  There have been multiple excavations.  We saw stones with carvings and perhaps glyphs.  It was quite hot and humid and I didn’t get to see as much as I would have liked.  For me, the significance of these sites is that we preserve them, study them, and realize how connected we are, to our past and therefore to our present.

February 18, 2018


Stacks of Containers

In Costa Rica?  I think so, although we saw them in several ports.  Some ports were more working ports, others more tourist-y.     From the ship, they looked like piles of decorated Legos.

February 16, 2018

Marine Animal

Well, perhaps at first glance.  Large-scale sea-faring equipment is exotic to my eyes.  Loved the colors and especially the red lobster claw-ish stuff.  The contrast with the thick organic rope is appealing against the black of the ship.  And that is certainly an aggressive yellow!  Bicycle seat shape, too.  Hm….guess it keeps ropes from slipping off.

February 15, 2018

Leaving the Canal

It was almost sad to have done it, knowing I’d probably never do it again.  Can say that about a lot of things.  Cherish the moments?  It’s not just that.  It’s travel, in its complex, confusing, affirming, edifying, challenging insights.  Or not.  All the things unseen.  Makes you wonder.  Who works on the canal now?  What’s that like?  A whole lot of people must be needed to maintain it; and the new, larger locks are now up and running, as it were.  Up and running.

February 14, 2018


I’m watching them watching…there were several viewing decks.  We liked being down close to the water and the action, although we moved around the ship a bit.  The views over the sides were different; we could see the action of the mules, the ropes, etc.  Probably the closest I’ll get to that kind of engineering feat…

February 13, 2018

Miraflores Locks

In Panama City, approaching the Pacific.  If you enlarge this, you can get a really good look at the double set of gates.  They remind me of the flappers on a pinball machine, somehow.  Mighty big pinball machine!  The whole thing feels like you’re in a movie.  But then, travel often does feel that way; as if all the visuals you’ve seen on screens suddenly are 3-D, materialized in front of your eyes.  I sure wish I could have touched some of these things, too; they were very foreign yet appealing and beckoning to the sense of touch.

February 12, 2018

Two-Way Traffic

It’s bi-directional traffic.  There’s a ship ahead of us in the locks, heading toward the Pacific, as we are.  Then there’s the ship to the left, coming towards us.  Photos of the lock gates coming up.  It was really quite impressive.  Seemed like some feat of magic.  And the ships look so small here.  But ours was 936 feet long!

February 10, 2018

Entering the Canal

Palpable excitement on the ship’s decks at 6 am.  This is a partially completed bridge near the entrance, called the Atlantic Bridge.  The whole thing is amazing, starting here.  And it was also tragic; so many workers died of illness and accident.  Engineering (and political) feats come with quite a cost.  There was much failure before there was success.  Reading about it is fascinating; seeing it is quite a wonder.

February 9, 2018

Cartagena Tree

We skipped through the Bahamas and stopped in Cartagena on the way to Panama.  We toured the city and there were many lovely old trees.  There are palms here in southern California, but not of this stature!

February 8, 2018


So many blues, from pale to turquoise to navy to brownish.  So many lovely patterns in the wake.  The water was very deeply colored.  Here it looks almost icy.  It looks very clean, too.  And benign.

I think this would make a great quilt.  But I don’t really make this sort of pictorially-based work.  Maybe in another life?

February 7, 2018


Well, it was early on the cruise.  It seems to be a pier post.  It was probably in the Bahamas, at the cruise line’s very own somewhat banal island.

It is certainly easy to see that there’s plenty of abstraction on offer in the constructed world — as in nature as well.  Isn’t the texture both enticing and off-putting, even perhaps a bit dangerous?   And I do enjoy the richness of the rust color, especially juxtaposed with the black and white.  Not your typical cruise photo, but eh?!

February 6, 2018

Leaving Ft. Lauderdale

Sure looks more amazing from the water than from land.  I don’t think I have too many peninsula photos.  A bit surreal, like the land has just been plunked there.  I like the two boats in the foreground.  They are cute.

February 5, 2018


A study in white, out our cabin window on our Panama Canal cruise.

Machinery can certainly be beautiful, and the various shapes and black/white contrast and that yellow strap/belt certainly add to this.  The peek of bright light there next to the yellow  draws my eye, along with the repeating curves of the white edges, the hose, the fan blades, and the white fan container. People make a living designing these things, and others manufacturing and assembling and testing and shipping and installing and maintaining them.  Kind of amazing.

Which I was, (amazed, that is!) when, speaking of maintaining, three workmen appeared outside my window, just inches away, while I was taking a nap.  They had to do something to the lifeboat.  I had a fever (flu, ugh!) and there were these guys, me in my undies because I was um, feverish…I pulled the window curtain quite quickly!

You never know what you’ll get when you look at a lifeboat.

December 27, 2017


Maybe.  If.  Entrance?  Gate.  Keep out.  Come in.  Tiles.  Geometry.  Wreath.  Squares.  Diamonds.  Textures.  Blue.  Light.  Plants.  Orange stucco.  White piece of paper?  Steps.  Railings.

It’s just across the street.  Hmph!

December 26, 2017

The Dock

We walked out to the Broadway Pier.  I love these combinations of metal, wood, and water.  The rusted bolts, the split worn wood, the shadows, the contrast of the black [water] and white [post], the evidence of the water’s force and the salt’s insistent corrosion — all speak to me of boats and piers and the universality of harbors everywhere.  Similar photos could probably be taken in thousands of places around the world; this one is at home.

December 25, 2017

Christmas for the Birds

We saw this on our walk today.  Lovely to look at and lovely to think about the birds enjoying.  Giving.  More giving.  Let’s all think of ways to  do more giving!  May the season of giving be extended…every day.

December 24, 2017

Back to Green

It’s a tangle.  It looks edible, but I don’t think it is.  It’s larger than a ground cover, perhaps a low sprawling shrub.  It’s variegated and slender and lovely.  It’s planted along Harbor Drive, where we walked today in the glorious sunshine after a brunch out at a French cafe with our son and daughter.  Happiness is.

December 23, 2017


I’m still noticing the basics of the architecture and design around here.  The juxtaposition of materials, the lines, the curves, the contrasts of texture, the refined and the organic side by side — all contribute to a sense of care about detail as well as about the whole.

Wood and metal, stone and concrete and shrub.  Coarse and smooth.  Gray and brown.  Works for me!

December 21, 2017


My father’s 100th birthday.

We can see through, perhaps, but do we know what we are looking at?  And it’s simple and complex, simultaneously.

Put your eye there, or your tiny fingertip.

Order and dis-.

Oh world, what we make, what we do, how we don’t possibly love enough!

December 20, 2017

What’s for Dinner?

All natural.  Onions, mushrooms, yellow and green zucchini.  A mere pinch of sugar,  barest sprinkle of salt, a few good grinds of black pepper; saute in half olive oil, half butter until *almost* done.  Add just a bit of half-and-half, sprinkle with a generous amount of grated parmesan, and pour over cheese tortellini.  Dinner in a dish, fast and easy.  And so much less rich, fatty, and salty than something in a restaurant.  I feel sad for folks who don’t like to cook.  Plus — it’s pretty, don’t you think?

December 19, 2017

Morning Glory

On our walk, at the Children’s Museum park.  I wish it were a morning glorious in our congress.  Just the opposite.  There is enough in the world to go around, and we haven’t the political will and moral integrity to share.  Morning glory indeed.  This is one of the times that beauty makes me sad…

December 18, 2017

More Palm

The richness of the color and texture is so compelling.  Silver with pale green in the bottom left; rich rust across the middle;  mottled gray, cream, and pale orange at the top; and finally, the black-on-white veining just over the silver.  You can’t look at these trunks and say they are just “brown!”

There’s so much color in our world and we don’t seem to stop to notice it, usually.  I wonder how much my insipient cataracts keep me from seeing?  I’m pushing myself to really look!

December 17, 2017

Another Leaf

R has a lovely photo he called “Yellow Leaf.”  His is better; it was taken in our back yard in Kansas.  This one is almost too pristine; she looks like she’s posing.  However, I enjoy her regal demeanor and her slightly saucy attitude.  There are a zillion leaves on the sidewalk, somewhat surprising to me as it doesn’t get that cold here.  But the days do indeed get shorter, in terms of sunlight, so the foliage is taking its cue.

December 16, 2017

Living in a Postcard

Friends from out of town visited us today and we walked down to the harbor.  I don’t want to get to taking the beauty of this place for granted.  Palms against high-rise hotels against perfect blue skies…it’s lovely day after day.

Some have asked if I miss the seasons.  Short answer: no.  Sometimes I miss the rain and mist and fog, but not the traditional midwestern or New England seasons.  My parka lives in a box in storage, and that’s fine with me.   Just fine.

December 15, 2017

Trunk Show

There are lots of palm trees, lots of rows of palm trees, lots of trunks of palm trees — all to be seen on our walks.  This was today’s  star-quality trunk, with that intriguing  rake/broom/piano string arrangement of fibers just sitting there looking natural.  Which it was.  Is.  I have no idea how it gets that way.  I could do a whole series of peeling palm trunks.  The palms are often machine-trimmed, and they also lose fronds naturally.  The textures are compelling, don’t you think?

December 14, 2017


This was our first housewarming gift, from a very good friend, and I thought I’d take its photo, as it’s doing quite well.  This being said by the woman who has a rather brown thumb and is delilghted that her “lucky bamboo” is still thriving after over two months!

P.S.  Aren’t the floors pretty?  One of the features we really liked about our new condo.  Not solid wood like what we used in the Midwest, but a pretty color and finish on engineered wood.  Thank you.

December 13, 2017

The Riparium

By Roman de Salvo.  I had to look up the word; it’s a type of aquarium, with lots of plant material.

Public art keeps calling for my attention.  I thought it was an abstracted sailboat; the wires and the “masts” defining the sails and the logs (eucalyptus) defining the deck of the ship.

But maybe San Diego is a sort of Riparium, and a boat sailing the earth through the universe…

December 12, 2017

Working Harbor

I forget that.  It’s a busy fishing harbor, transport harbor, shipping harbor.  A few miles south, cargo ships unload.  And here, close to home, are not only pleasure boats, but also working fishing boats.

We were treated one morning to watching them unload opah.  Apparently they are a fish that is high in mercury, much like swordfish.  Sigh.  Everywhere you turn, there’s something that needs fixing.  Even our glorious weather has its downsides — fire, drought…but look at that blue sky and even bluer water!

December 11, 2017

Bollards as Sculpture

There is a set of five of these light sculptures in a large walkway near the Marriott in the harbor.  They are quite attractive, and have a subtle wave form, each of the five slightly different.  Katie MacDonald and Kyle Schumann are the artists.  This is a part of the percent for art program; we enjoy walking by these on our way to the harbor several times each week.  They are especially effective at night.

December 10, 2017

Boat Parade

We walked down to the harbor to watch the decorated boats,  It was a balmy evening, with people picnicking and sitting on the lawn and the rocks and the benches, watching about 80 boats make their way from one end of the harbor over to Coronado.  Some of them had music and dancers, and they were all having a pretty good time.  So were the crowds; a San Diego “winter” special!

December 9, 2017

Not Quite Fallingwater…

But still, water features, especially urban ones, are lovely.  This is not at our building, but featured at one nearby.  I have no idea how much water is “wasted” by such things, but the visual and auditory benefits can’t be dismissed.  We are drawn to water; and, no longer near the beach, I can’t help but take pleasure in this!

December 8, 2017

Up Close

Bougainvillea is ubiquitous and so dramatic and rich and well, just so very Mediterranean/Californian.  And yes, I checked the spelling of both of those tricky words.  (Is there a “u” or an “i” and is it double “r”…?!}  (And lots of punctuation all in a row there!)

I used to be able to trust my intuitive spelling…now, not so much.  I knew I knew how to spell something; now doubt pesters me far too often.  “Bougainvillea” is always something I’ll have to look up!

December 7, 2017

Just Glory

On a gorgeous morning, on a tragic day 76 years ago.

The sky is still blue, the sun is still shining for us.  There’s a lot that’s up in the air, as it were, and beatiful days like this give me hope.  For all of us.  For our children.  Amen.


December 6, 2017

Pigeon Party

There were a zillion of them.  As I stepped closer, they noisily and rather frantically took off.  So I stepped back and waited for them to gather again.  This is only about half of them; the rest were leery and gathered elsewhere.  There must have been some terrific crumbs of something yummy there  — party time!

December 5, 2017


So this leaf is just standing up in the middle of the sidewalk.  All by its lonesome.  Perky as can be.  No visible means of support except its stem, which is behind it, at 90 degrees, lying on the sidewalk.  Too cool.

December 2, 2017

‘Tis the Season

I like the variegated ones, better than the red ones or the funny yellowish-white ones.

They must be related to coleus.  I’ll have to check.  I like variegation in general.  Here it makes the leaves seem very carefully dyed, by a skilled textile artist with some pointilistic leanings.

November 30, 2017


Landscaping in the common areas is quite lovely.  These again remind me of spring.  And I had to get out of my “winter” clothes today, as even though the mornings start quite cool (well, cool for here, high 50s or so when I get out), later in the day it can be quite balmy.  One of the reasons we tell out-of-town friends that winter is a great time to visit San Diego!

November 28, 2017


We treated ourselves to a special dinner out tonight to celebrate our move to downtown.  After our 2+hour relaxed evening, we walked back to our condo, enjoying the lights of the Gaslamp and Marina districts.  It’s pretty magical at night, and, as you can see, not very busy at 8:30pm on a weekday at the end of November.  Mid-July weekends would tell another story!

November 27, 2017

At the Dock of the Bay

Sometimes the simplest things are compelling.  The water is nearly black.  The wood is textured and the metal bolts are corroded and fade into the color and grain of the wood.  The inserted piece in the lower center is balanced by the notch in the upper left.  I think there are nails or thin rods along the bottom edge, but I’m not sure what they are for.  I’m also looking much more carefully than I did when I took the photo — another reason I do this!

November 25, 2017


We walked a bit earlier than usual today and the fog was so moody and lovely.    It softened all outlines, put half of Coronado in a shroud, and fuzzed up the skyline quite effectively.  Rather surreal, I think, in a comforting rather than threatening way.  I like the fog and its mystery and its peek-a-boo playfulness — blue sky is playing there towards the bottom — peek-a-blue!

November 24, 2017

Nature in the City

One of the things I really like about our building in general, and our third floor condo in particular, is the mix of trees and buildings that comprise our views.  When you walk in, you see green trees out our windows, their leaves softening the rectangular architecture of the building across the street.  You can frame almost any vista with greenery of some sort.

This view is from the large central patio on the lobby level, which we see daily because we don’t zoom by the lobby to an upper condo; we are just behind the lobby area, also very convenient.

November 23, 2017


Another spiky greenish-gray succulent-looking plant with pale yellow spiky-looking flowers.  I sure haven’t seen them all.  They are nice to see:  “Thanks for sun and thanks for rain, for restful sleep and play.  Bless us all who sing this song on this Thanksgiving Day.”

November 22, 2017

Once Again

With feeling.  I think I’ve used a photo of this sort of plant before, but if so, it’s been a while.  The mini-leaves and the red and yellow contrasts are appealing, as is the tangle.  Order in the midst of chaos.

Speaking of chaos, people my age remember just where they were 54 years ago today.  I was in study hall, and the math problem I was working on was a set theory problem, involving the set of presidents who died in office.  Chilling.

November 21, 2017

Same, Only Closer

Well, not the same one.  I took a photo of a cycad earlier (a year ago?) but from further away.   This really looks like a tangle of shredded feathery paper, with some orange-y brown pods tucked here and there.  It’s simultaneously a bit off-putting and attracting.

Nah, it’s impossible.  I made it up.  Someone just painted that on top of my photo.  Well, no, I wouldn’t do that.  But it does look like something scooped up from the depths of the garbage disposal, doesn’t it?

November 20, 2017


In the sanctuary at San Juan Capistrano.  Everyone else was taking photos of the ornate altar.  I noticed that the ceiling was simple– and that the beams weren’t parallel.  That was how it was.  Elegant in its imperfections.  The whitewash contrasted with the dark green was lovely.  The simple candelabra fit with the elemental aesthetic.

There are incongruities and cognitive dissonance at these California missions, in their history and  also in their becoming tourist sites.  Recognize that and enjoy it for what it offers?

November 19, 2017

More Flowers

We need more flowers.  This combination of purple and white is so fresh, and, dare I say it, springlike.  In November?  These, too, look rather impossible, a quirky invention, perhaps.  They are soft and fluffy to the touch, yet somehow beg to be squeezed.  Have I said, at least a hundred times, how delightful the weather is here in San Diego?!

November 18, 2017


At the Farmers’ Market in Little Italy, downtown San Diego, California, USA.

Wish it were all beautiful and abundant and available for all of us, everywhere.  Where’s the will?  The older I get, the more I understand the simplicity and the wisdom  and the frustration of “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Have we lost both our will and our way?

Just look at these colors.  I brought some home.  Fortunate.

November 16, 2017


Or stone-bark.  This wall seemed alive to me, ancient yet growing.  Its juxtaposition with the stone stairs was convincing, as it seemed of a different nature, not laid on earth, flat, but rather climbing upright, reaching, trying, dreaming of attainment if not perfection.

And yet it crumbles, slowly, imperceptibly, and yet it stands, neither proud nor humble, just there.

November 15, 2017


And leaves and stems and bricks.  The colors and shapes.  It’s all about the colors and shapes.  But then, it often is.

I like the wildness.  And the diagonals of the twiggy branches.  And the grayish green in the lower right-hand corner.  There’s more gray-green at the top right.  I don’t know what I think of the dark gray concrete on the left.  Maybe it anchors the wind-blown branches.  Or is a foil to the old brick.  At any rate, it works for me.

The berries themselves are some soft and round to sprinkle and cluster in front of the sturdiness of structure, of more regular, intentioned geometry.  And they aren’t shy.

My photos are memory quirks, and serve me, asking me to notice and to think about what’s there, why I chose it, and what it means to me — while I just start writing and see what happens.  This is what happened.

November 14, 2017

Big Fella

You don’t need sci fi or inventions of big plants.  This thing had to be 12 feet wide.  Really.  Like it was going to eat the whole mission if it got loose.  Not your typical garden specimen.  I wish there had been a sign, perhaps saying how old it was.  And how tiny it was when planted.  It was more than imposing…it was a bit scary.

November 13, 2017

More Pond

And palms.  And broken reflections, and greenish-black water, and ruins of the mission in the background.

We have been here several times, but it seems there are always new things to see.  This time there were lots and lots of people with professional photographers posing them, perhaps for holiday cards.  Festive.

November 12, 2017


Well, the mission at San Juan Capistrano is a good place to ponder.  And to look.  And to see.  The dark water is such a dramatic backdrop for the vivid colors of the leaves and flowers.

We met friends and had a lovely time.  More photos to come.

November 11, 2017

Seaport Village Peace

Just a few blocks from our condo.  Could be anywhere, I guess.  Peaceful.  You can sit on a bench, sip coffee, eat a cookie or a pretzel, shop for overpriced souvenirs, look at the boats in the harbor, gaze across to Coronado and its bridge connecting to the city, watch the tourists, or just sit and contemplate.  We did the latter.  (Latterest?  What’s the last in a long list?)  It was good.

November 9, 2017

East at Dusk

Funny, the sky looked dark blue-gray to me.  The camera sees differently.  There’s something almost spooky about the lights in the building across the street — and it’s the grocery store.  Doesn’t look like it.  The more distant buildings almost look like rooftop appendages.  Flattening the picture plane…

We walk mostly in the mornings.  Seems like this would be a good time to walk, if only for noticing the lighting.

November 8, 2017


From our living room windows.  Well, maybe it should be the great room?  It’s all one big room:  living room, eating area, kitchen.  We were noticing that city noises seem less intrusive than suburban ones.

There’s traffic, as you see, and even ambulances and police cars and roaring motorcycles.  It’s partly a matter of expectations, I think; one doesn’t expect silence.  And it’s being on the third/fourth floors in a commercial-style building, high enough up that the noise doesn’t seem so much in your space.  It’s down there.  The windows are also heavy-duty and seem to do a great job of muffling sound.

We like it.

November 7, 2017

Another View

I finally looked up the architect for our buildings.  They have a huge web site and do lots of different kinds of projects.  I’m continuing to be impressed; here’s another view of the “plaza” level where our condo is located.  We like being able to walk across the hall and out to the pool and this view!

November 6, 2017


Leaving the architectural world for a bit, we took a morning walk at the harbor, the embarcadero to be specific.

These leftover stumps of chopped-down palm trees look like other independent life forms, and have a strange, neglected sadness .  I was glad there wasn’t much color in this photo.  The morning light seems to sweep gently over these stumps and remains.  I remember recently seeing an article exploring whether plants feel pain.  This reminded me of that question.  Pain is a big question.

November 5, 2017

Grillin’ and Chillin’

Well, neither.  Although maybe it’s time to make some pizza dough and try out the building’s BBQ grills out on the entrance plaza.

This was just another angle on the angles.  Looks impossible, but there it is.  Wonky space, eh?

November 4, 2017


Near and far.  Streaks and swoops.  Angles and more angles.

Now that I look at it again, I like the 1/3 – 2/3 ratio, side-to-side.  And the reflection in the left-hand near windows.  And the buildings are like people talking in a group, leaning in and out.  The one on the right has the floor.  The center one has her arms crossed and is very reserved.  The one on the left (us?) is curious and wants to come closer and listen better.  It has an openness as well as the bright light edge.

While I type this, I hear fireworks, probably at the Midway, a few blocks away.   The Midway is an aircraft carrier museum, and fascinating even to a non-military person.  When there are events there, they sometimes do fireworks.  Someone is being honored.

Living downtown.  Yep.

November 3, 2017

Out My Window

Already framed for me.  We have nearly floor-to-ceiling windows on the north side of our condo.  The upper transom part makes a great frame for a view.

Here, what appealed was the cloud-hat over the top of the building, and the graphic quality of the hard linear outlines in contrast with the softness of the clouds — plus the great deep blue of the sky juxtaposed with the black and white of the architecture.  Look up, look out, look — I keep reminding myself.

November 2, 2017

One More Floor

OK, I’ll move on to something else tomorrow.  But here’s a bit of variation, again.  Irregular shapes, many sizes.  I love the little piece in the corner.  And the darker brown splotches.  Isn’t “splotches” a great word?  I wonder if other languages have splotchy words.  They must…And then there’s the greenish dimpled piece to the left.  Who’d have known it was green?  I didn’t until I enlarged this photo.  Sometimes a photo can tell you more than your eyes do.  Well, I guess that’s trite.  But anyway.

November 1, 2017


Simple, clean, just enough texture and color variation so as not to be clinical or boring.  Swirls.  Dots.  Inclusions.  Not white but not much color.  Actually, a similar stone is used in the bathroom floors of our condo.  Nice because, well, not white.  Not sterile or generic, yet not making a brash statement.  Not that brash statements might not have their place…perhaps this tells me why it is a good exercise to make art with very little color, at least once in a while.  Color can be deliciously distracting!

October 31, 2017

More Stone

On the walls, outside.  Some low walls, some higher ones.  Pretty stuff, nice contrast with yesterday’s stone.  More tomorrow.  I think they did a lovely job with variation and color and texture.  I wonder what architectural firms do large condo design.  Probably lots of constraints and not too much opportunity for innovation.  Still, good job!

October 30, 2017


This building is really beautiful in a subtle way.  They used a variety of stone in the flooring, the walls, the columns.   It is quiet, not ostentatious, and quite lovely and harmonious.  I took several photos today; this is the flooring on the outside patio, near the pool and the entrance level.  More to come.  It is of its time, for sure, and probably not considered adventurous or particularly innovative.  But I like the effect, of quiet quality.  I think it is amazing that I get to live here — unearned privilege, to be sure.

October 29, 2017

Only in SD?

Rooftop decks with palm trees?  Really?  Well, probably Hawaii and other tropical places…but it makes me want to remember to look up!

This was on my way to get my hair cut.  A pleasant walk.  And there’s a bicycle race/rally going on outside our window.   I mean, the route goes on the street below our windows.   And people in costumes.  Kids, too.  And a high-wheeler went by (I think that’s what it’s called?}  Urban living has its moments, for sure!

October 28, 2017


I love the funny time of day, not quite even dusk, when the light is soft and the shadows are velvety.  The city lends itself to focusing on shapes, especially when they are so nicely displayed in the evening sky.

This is just one view from the main entry terrace of our building.  The weather was perfect; we walked to the library and got our new/renewed cards, and walked back, in the middle of the afternoon when it was warm but breezy and not stifling like it’s been.  Maybe November will bring kinder weather to all…

October 27, 2017

Just Before the Set

Coronado beach.  I love the drama of the craggy rock border.  And the sun bleaching out the water and the horizon.  The beach at the Del never ceases to amaze, with its size, especially its depth, and its lovely sand.  Pizza supper afterwards, outdoors on one of the large patios.  A great way to start the weekend!

October 26, 2017


Sleek, with green.  It is strange to live in such a place of contrasts.  Huge.  Elegant.  A homeless problem.  San Diego is attempting to alleviate that but needs to do so much more.  Smack dab in the middle of downtown.   Plants.  People.  Noise.  quiet.

Ran into a friend at the grocery store across the street.  Didn’t think it would take too long for that to happen…we probably know at least 15 or 20 people who live downtown.

Sleek.  Green.

October 25, 2017

More New

I can’t stop being amazed by the new botanical forms I find.  I wonder if this area is unusual in the number of species that seem to thrive.

Don’t know what this is, don’t know how to find out, and I don’t think that my ignorance takes away from the wonder of the color, the form, the contrast, the wheat-like shapes…however, if anyone knows, enlightenment is always good!

October 24, 2017


Urban architecture can be disorienting.  I enjoy the forced abstraction of pointing the camera at random exterior geometry and seeing what comes up.  Here, the surprise is the inserted column of green next to the roundly carved brick/stone.

This is a view from part of the condo complex we moved into three weeks ago today.  San Diego is a fairly green city — in terms of plantings.  My windows give me treetop views and commercial buildings and sidewalks and people.  There’s sky, too — the buildings aren’t all tall.  Were we on a higher floor, there would be harbor and water views as well.  We chose interior space, light, and airiness over a dramatic view.  It feels comfortable in a surprisingly uncrowded way.  It breathes.

October 23. 2017

In the Pink

You would think it’s spring.  This is blooming in the grounds of our condo complex.  Some sort of impatience (?) on a large, sprawling shrub.  “Impatience” is a great name for a flowering plant.  Whose impatience?  G-d’s?  The grower’s?  The plant’s?  The color is less than impatient, for sure.  Call it “vibrance,” perhaps?!

October 22, 2017

Almost Surreal

These soft and waxy blooms seem other-worldly in their swirled perfection.   An art friend’s suburban garden nearer our previous home flaunted these and other similarly dramatic flowers on this warm day near the end of October.  Six years ago, when we moved here, we needed hats, scarves, and parkas at this time of year.  Ha! (Not…)

October 21, 2017

A New One

No longer an ocean blog, but still a San Diego blog.  We moved to a downtown condo, and found this unusual specimen with its huge (10-12″ diameter) leaves on one of our first walks.

Walking is the definitive verb assoicaited with city living.  We have a view of treetops and the linear architecture of high-rises from our third-fourth floor home.   We hear street noise — muted.  The grocery store and pharmacy are across the street.  The second grocery store is in the next block.  The hardware store is four blocks away.  There are dozens of restaurants within a few blocks.  We can walk to the ballgame, the symphony, the library, the harbor, the maritime museums, and the train station.

We have downsized again — and it feels like a big step up!

July 23, 2017


Or maybe 7 1/2?  Seven is a nice number; odd and prime and pretty to write.  And these beauties, with their bridge of a twig, seem like great night-lights.  It wasn’t quite night, but they sure jumped out.  Love the symmetry of the brown markings and the increased density towards the peak.  Anyone know what they are?