Category Archives: California

Weekly Travel Theme – Motion

train sunset(Racing by a show-stopping Santa Barbara sunset on the Amtrak Coast Starlight)

The back-to-back, Monday-Tuesday, one-two photo challenge punch continues with this week’s Travel Theme of “Motion” from Where’s My Backpack. It is a counter-intuitive concept, to capture motion in a snapshot – I thought Ailsa picked the perfect quote to reflect this:

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.” – William Faulkner

And, with that, here are a few glimpses of motion I have captured both here and abroad.

dolphins(Dolphins playing alongside our whale watching trip in San Diego)

monkeys(Young rhesus macaques playing with prayer flags – and visitors – at Swayambhunath – The Monkey Temple – in Kathmandu, Nepal)

surfers(Watching the last wave of the evening, and resting after a long day in the sun and sea – Playa Dominica, Costa Rica)

pelaton(The Peloton entering Place de Concorde in the final stage of the Tour de France – Paris, France)

cairo(The slow meander of The Nile on a clear night – Cairo, Egypt)

niece on the move

nephew on the move(And, of course, no “Motion” post would be complete in my world without featuring my niece and nephew (both newly) in motion – thrilled with their mobility and clearly on a mission to tackle my camera.)

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Summer of San Diego!

balboa park(Museums in Balboa Park)

It is a funny thing, living in a vacation destination. Although I pass by the Sea World tower each day during my shuttle-ride to the lab, I am most often oblivious to the tourist attractions and natural wonders by which we am surrounded. In discussing how to spend our non-BBQ time during this Fourth of July weekend, The Bat and I got to discussing all of the San Diego attractions that, as residents, we have never taken the time to see and/or experience. Our list grew quite fast and the idea of a summer blogging project bloomed along with it.

east county (Looking out over the arid farm country of East San Diego county)

June was a hectic month – what with constant birthday parties, family gatherings, Whole30 restrictions and work schedule changes. I am very happy to put those days behind me. Luckily, July has opened full of sunshine and, thus far, much more relaxing. So, in the interest of living in the moment and soaking up what the city has to offer – I am officially declaring it The Summer of San Diego. I want to play tourist in my hometown and see what makes San Diego “America’s Finest City.”

alesmith (Beer tasting at AleSmith)

There is no time like the present to really explore the nooks and crannies of San Diego. After 7 years in Boston and 4 years in Paris, I can easily make lists of things I never took the time to see and do (Glass flowers, anyone? Or wine tasting in the French countryside?).  I do not want to take this city for granted. To that end, no project of mine is complete without a list. So, without further ado – here are more things than I could possibly fit into the next 8-12 weekends. Of course posting them here holds me somewhat accountable and provides excellent blog fodder as the summer moves along.

la jolla cove(Sea Kayakers in La Jolla Cove)

Let the games begin!

Attractions:

San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Sea World

Legoland (I want to go this summer, mainly for this)

Belmont Park

 

Historical Landmarks:

Cabrillo National Monument

Mission San Diego

Old Town San Diego – Food and Tours!

 

Parks/Beaches:

Balboa Park:

–       Museums (so many, and free on Tuesdays)

–       Botantical Garden

–       Concert at the Organ Pavillion

–       Play at the Globe Theater

–       Japanese Friendship Garden

San Diego Botanical Garden

Picnic at Kate Sessions Park

Tidepools at Sunset Cliffs

Hiking at Torrey Pines

Palomar Mountain Observatory

Anza Borrego Dessert (might have to wait for flower season next spring)

Camping/Hiking @ Idyllwild

 

Sports:

Watch San Diego Padres baseball game at Petco Park

Play Disc Golf at Morley Field

Surfing Lessons (?)

Paddleboarding

Sea Cave Kayaking in La Jolla Cove

Watch (do?) paragliding at the Torrey Pines Gliderport

Del Mar Horse Races

Sailing in the San Diego Harbor

 

Food/Drink as motivators:

Beer Tasting (at one/some/all of the booming craft breweries in the area!)

Julian Road Trip and Apple Pie

Sunset cocktails at the beachside bar at the Hotel Del Coronado

Farmers Markets

 

@UCSD:

The Stuart Collection

Dr. Seuss Collection

Fallen Star

 

Beyond San Diego:

California Missions Road Trip

Joshua Tree National Park

Big Bear Lake

Wine Tasting in Temecula

Wine Tasting in Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez

Catalina Island

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Train to The Big A for an Angels baseball game

ucsd teddy (“Bear” on the campus of University of California, San Diego)

San Diegans (and visitors), tell me what I have missed, but must see!

Friends (or other bloggers?), let me know if you want to get in on the fun and join me on any of these adventures!

The list is long (and somewhat overwhelming), but it is so exciting to realize how much fun there is to be had in my own backyard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Curves

This past weekend I joined friends (and Walker, of knit hat fame) to participate in the San Diego Farm Bureau’s Farm Tour Day 2013. We were guided through the grounds and operations of three local agricultural giants, specializing in flowers and succulents, avocados and seasonal, organic produce. I had checked the Weekly Photo Challenge before leaving the house early that morning, and spent the day looking out for images that evoked this week’s theme of “Curves”. I thought this photo of almost-ripe avocados did the trick. The fruit hung heavy on the thin branches, while the leaves provided a dappled shadow to protect them from the intense heat of the direct, summer sunlight. The dark, rough, pebbled curve of their outer shell belied the creamy, rich sweetness of the fragile flesh within. They were dipping low enough that I was tempted to grab and pull – but I resisted the urge and was rewarded with a ripe avocado souvenir at the end of the tour. It was a perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday.

low hanging fruit

Weekly Travel Theme – Peaceful

santa barbara train(From Amtrak Coast Starlight, looking out at the Pacific Ocean, north of Santa Barbara, CA)

I am most at peace around flowing water. I do have to wonder if this evolved from being brought up in a beachside community or, possibly, being raised by an avid surfer. Either way, I can sit alongside a river or overlooking a beach, and watch the water for hours on end. When things are particularly tense in the rest of my life, watching (meditating along with?) this continuous, repetitive, unaltered ebb and flow allows me to truly exhale and let the stress go.

grand canal(The Grand Canal, Venice, Italy)

If I had my way, I would never again live more than 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean – inhaling the salt air deeply and listening to the waves pound endlessly against the shore is rejuvenating  Something about that power, the wind in my hair, and the wild, untamed beauty of the Pacific always sets things right.

SONY DSC(Private beach front, Coco Palm, Maldives)

Yet, after several years living alongside rivers, I have also come to appreciate the quiet solitude that can be found watching life flow by. The river always provides a cool breeze to soothe one’s brow on a hot day and a stopping place alongside to take in the view (or a jog) downstream or to set up an impromptu picnic at dusk.

honfleur at dusk(Harbor-side dinner at dusk, Honfleur, France)

When Ailsa posed her Weekly Travel Theme of “Peaceful”, bodies of water on (around/in) which I have traveled – in all moods – and found peace came to mind. Here are some of my favorites.

french riviera(Overlooking the Côte d’Azur while driving from Nice to Monaco)

windmill spotting 2(Windmill spotting while on a small canal outside of Amsterdam, Netherlands)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Sunset at Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica)

tiber(Dusk settles over the Tiber River, Rome, Italy)

omaha beach(Contemplating freedom while looking across the English Channel – on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France)

 

seine(Notre Dame Cathedral and Ile de la Cité as seen from a Seine river cruise, Paris, France)

 

big sur(Bixby bridge, driving southbound on California Highway 1 through Big Sur)

(Last) Weekly Photo Challenge – Change

A week (or two) ago, the theme of the Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post was “Change”. I read about it late on that Sunday night and was excited about the possibilities of my submission, which I began crafting as I drifted off to sleep that night. The next day, Boston happened. I allowed myself be catapulted into a 24-hour-news-hungry, astonished, angry, obsessive place for the entirety of the week. Then another work trip, followed by a brief, rejuvinating drive down the California coast and now here we are.

Putting together a post on the theme of change has continued to dominate my blog-oriented thoughts. Everything about my life has changed in the past six months and I am only now starting to feel settled, comfortable and truly happy with it all. Summing this up seemed like a fitting way to (yet again) re-establish my normal routine (blogging and otherwise).

So, what does change look like for me? The pictures speak for themselves; much more than 5700 miles separates my life(s) in Paris (then) and San Diego (now).

HomePlace Chappe(then)

The intersection of Rue Chappe and Rue des Trois Freres, just down from my apartment in the 18th arrondissement in Paris, France

sd home (now)

My own personal palm tree in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego, CA.

The View

sacre couer(then)

Basilica Sacre Coeur, in the summer, around sunset (featuring a spectacular view over the city)

channel islands(now)

The view of the Channel Islands speeding by while traveling south by train from the Central Coast of CA to San Diego.

Dinner

cheri bibi

(then)

Spring lamb and fava beans at Cheri Bibi.

RK sushi(now)

Playboy Roll at RK Sushi.

Touristing

tour eiffel(then)

The Eiffel Tower as seen from the Bir-Hakeim bridge.

big sur(now)

Big Sur coastline, as seen from the southbound lanes of CA Highway 1

CSA shareslate feb panier(then)

Late February 2012 in Paris: Russet potatoes, celery root, green leaf lettuce, brown lentils and apples.

late feb csa (now)

Late February 2013, in San Diego: Blood oranges, lemons, mandarins, green leaf lettuce, chard, kale, spring mix, carrots, caulflower, romanesco, bok choy and strawberries.

Family scarf family(then)

anna2 wesley (now)

I am lucky enough to have found a family of friends wherever I have landed thus far – and my ‘family’ in Paris was comprised of the best kinds of people. Yet, when I learned that my siblings were going to make me an aunt (multiple times over) in the last year, I knew it was time to come home, for good. The change I can see, on a weekly basis, as my niece and nephew grow brings an unspeakable joy to my heart. I can tell that they now recognize my voice, they always laugh at my silly faces and are just starting to learn how to put their pudgy arms around me for baby’s first hugs. There are so many reasons I am happy to be home, but being an active participant in my family, watching these children grown and change are the best reasons of all.

P.S. At the top of the list of “things that never change” is my predilection to let this blog be the first thing to drop when times get tough. I am very thankful for my new ‘interfriend’ Mere – whom I had the great pleasure of meeting in person last week – for her kind and inspiring words to jumpstart my posting again. It seems I am slowly creating a California family of friends, and I am so excited to discover what unfolds next.

Weekly Travel Theme – Pale

pale 2This week brought with it another challenging Weekly Travel Theme from Ailsa over at Where’s My Backpack. “Pale” images are usually the opposite of what I am aiming at with my camera – I much more naturally gravitate to bright colors, dramatic contrast and loud visuals. Yet, there is a delicate power in the soft, quiet colors of cloudy skies and pale petals. I also think it takes more skill to compose and capture an arresting image from these, more subtle, subjects. A talent I am trying to develop, with a little bit of luck, and few favors from Mother Nature here and there. islandsFor my submission, I have chosen a few photos from the end of a whale watching trip we took in early February. What began as a bright, warm, sunny day had turned grey, blustry and cold by the time our boat was headed back to harbor. The cloud cover hid the sun, only allowing the palest pinks and oranges to radiate through. As the afternoon rain built, the color palette shifted from pastels to cooler shade of greys and blues. Without the sun shining down, or the blue sky to contrast, the increasingly choppy ocean also took on a dark pewter hue, such that the water, the Coronado islands in the distance and the sky above were all part of the same color continuum. pale 3The other ships out that day were primarily white, and blended into nature’s color scheme quite well, including this enormous schooner that traveled past us at quite a clip. Despite the advancing storm, the dolphins were also out in droves playing in the wake left behind by our boat, their black, grey and white speckled skin dipping in and out of the white caps, emphasizing how perfectly they were camouflaged for days like this.pale 4There was a calm to the latter half of that day that I believe was influenced by the shifting hues in the sky. After a long day at sea, the chilly breeze and quiet greys lulled as all close to sleep as we approached the dock. And, every once in a while, we would look back out to sea right as the sun peeked through the clouds for a moment, streaming down in pale, yellow shafts and dappling the water with a soft golden sparkle, which was even more magical than when it had been blazing overhead a few hours before. pale 1

 

In Images – Weekend Getaway

On the road exploring coastal California for my birthday… Here is the view from where we are:

We drove up the coast to see the elephant seals and their pups just north of San Simeon, CA:  talking baby1 baby2

On the way back south we saw a variety of wildlife:

coyote zebra

A quick stop at W.R. Hearst State Beach to walk out on the pier, and ogle the castle from afar.

san simeon pier beach1 beach2 hearst castle

Onto Montana de Oro State Park for tidepooling.

urchin anemone2 seastar1 seastar2