Saturday, July 26, 2008

Travel Journal: San Diego July 18-24

I'm finding that of all my posts, I enjoy re-reading my travel journals the most. Bits and pieces of a vacation seem to escape my memory over time (by time I mean a matter of weeks or even days....)

So I'm going to travel journal this vacation as well. Laura's 20's party was the key event, but other lovely moments bracketed that day.

The three hour flight from Houston is usually pretty mundane, but as soon as the pilot mentions they are beginning their initial descent in to San Diego, I usually look out the window and try to start identifying local landmarks. The wind farm was something new to me this trip.

The it Marina, or Hodges, or ....???? It is dammed at one end, and at varying times is either quite low or brimming. (Update: B. says it is neither, it is either San Vincente or El Capitan, with San Vincente being most likely. And that if it had been Lake Marina it would be spelled Lake Marino. What can I say...he was an East County boy and would know these things better than I who dwelled west of the 5....insider joke there.....)

(Another update from our friendly Swedish heliocopter instructor Janitha, who comments:
As an aviator, I use lakes as easy identified waypoints. So of course I had to pull up an old chart from San Diego and take a look at your lake. By following the approach course in to Lindberg field, the lake you flew over is most likely Barrett Lake. El Capitan Reservoir is too far north of the approach course. Sorry east county boy... ;-) (And the real name is Lake Morena, I saw it on the chart as well.)

The wispy fog clouds over the bare undulating landscape tells me that San Diego will be experiencing the typical overcast sky. The hotter it is inland, the deeper the cloud banks will be on the coast. It is a basic weather pattern fact that eludes most visitors to San Diego; they arrive at the coast expecting a sunny sparkling week at the beach and are often dismayed to discover that even in deep summer the beach may never really clear up.

After a bit of time with Mom and Dad, Laura came over and we walked the three blocks to the beach at the foot of Vallecitos, in La Jolla Shores.
When I was growing up, the beach routinely had about ten to twenty people on it on week days; my family and two other neighboring families usually made up about 16 of those folks.
Today the beach is packed with people as far as the eye can see.
After the long flight it felt good to just walk a bit around the neighborhood. As a kid I used to enjoy peeling the soft skin like bark from this kind of tree.

I was thrilled to see a few Jacaranda blooms on a few of the Jacaranda trees. The tree usually blooms in June, and is covered with the periwinkle blue blossoms, which are supported by grey barked branches; the green leaves fill in later. It is a signature tree for San Diego; entire streets are lined with Jacaranda trees and if one Googles Jacaranda the results tend to mention San Diego as a place that has a lot of the trees.

The other tree that blooms around town is a Tipuana Tipu. We had one in the back yard of the house we raised our kids in. Rumor had it that Kate Sessions, (a local horticulturist in the late 1800's) imported the trees from South America, and if we had one in our yard, a HUGE one by the 1980's, it was most likely a housewarming gift to the homeowners from someone who knew her, as she died in 1940. We were the only ones in the neighborhood with a Tipu tree, so it must have been planted deliberately.

A small Tipu tree.
Laura and I compared notes on our childhood adventures with lantana. We both had stripped the blossoms of the individual flowerettes and used them as a confetti to toss about, or to pretend a wedding recessional. I suppose most Southern California girls have similar memories, and the sharp scent of lantana brings the memories to mind again quickly.

This was a new flower to me. I like it!

A newer house in the neighborhood, or at least possibly a remodeled house. I don't recall it growing up when it was against code to build a two story house. Now the property values are so high all the little beach houses are being torn down and mega houses constructed. My complaint: they block the lovely sea breezes!

I don't recall this house either, but it is a nice use of the typical Spanish style architecture of the area, and of course red tile roofs are just SO Southern California. Naturally visitors think they are romantic, while those of us who have been surrounded by such growing up tend to prefer shingled cottages for our own romantic dream houses.
(or at least I do....and I was thrilled when Bernie created a shingled sided weaving studio for me in our garden in our home in San Diego years ago.)

Always a struggle to spell; always a bright spot in the So. Cal landscape.
It comes in so many colors ranging from white to pink to coral to red and purples. The blossom petals feel like dried tissue paper, and the spent blossoms blow around on the slightest breeze. The people next door to my parents have planted a hedge of bougainvillea around the high wall around their house, and the ABUNDANT flowers tend to all blow into our yard.
This drives my dad absolutely batty; he is a dedicated neat nick.
His solution: Sweeps the blossoms into a box and dumps it over the neighbor's fence into their front yard. This has been going on for years. The neighbors are artist and apparently never step outside of their house anyway.
I'm sure behind the wall is now a nicely decomposed pile of blossoms that serves to enrich their soil.

An "original" sized house a few doors up from my parent's house. I would never had thought of painting the house grey, and then the door orange to compliment the tile roof. The orange terricota sun and garden brick walk way just pulls the whole scheme together perfectly.
I like the low maintenance landscaping too.

There are several kinds of Australian Eucalyptus trees blooming on our street. Another childhood memory: On a hot July day I'd walk to the little corner store and buy either a banana or root beer flavored popsicle with my allowance. As I sucked on the cold treat walking home I would be forced to share with the bees that flew buzzing to me from the tree blossoms.

There were always a lot of blossoms and a TON of bees!

This was a huge tree even back in the 1960's; I wonder how old it is now.

The flowers would be spent and pods would form; they seemed to regularly get harvested and sprayed with a metallic paint, then sprinkled with glitter to make Christmas decorations.
We girls would pick the buds and use them as lipstick tubes!

I only remember red and orange Eucalyptus flowers as a kid; but the newer pretty pink ones are gorgeous!
Dad had a "naked lady" out in the garden; the flower also known as belladona lily. The house the kids grew up in had a side walkway that was lined with the bulbs. Every year the stalk would rise up out of the dirt and bloom on Laura's birthday. After the flower was spent, the green strappy leaves would come up, and by autumn the leaves would dry up and wilt away, leaving no trace of the lily in the soil.

Each July the breeze through the side walkway was scented with the sweet lemony fragrance of the Naked Ladies.

A gerbera daisy in Dad's garden.

A cascade of fuchia blossoms drew hummingbirds constantly. Mom, Dad and I enjoyed sitting in the cool garden (BUG FREE! HUMIDITY FREE! ) and watched the cat watch the hummers in the garden.

Kangaroo paws were blooming everywhere in the area. They come in either red or yellow, and grow to be a nice full four to five foot tall shrub. I never remember seeing them when I was a child; I have to wonder who introduced them to the area.

A crinkly little five spot flower bloomed at the park above the beach. Another "new to me" flower in the neighborhood.

It was so nice to be in La Jolla again, and to eat outside and visit with my folks and Laura.
Later we looked through an old costume box; I'll post a few pictures from that later.
Laura and I shared the guest room; the next day we got up and headed to Solana Beach.
I'll post those pictures tomorrow.


running wildly said...

My gosh, even in FLIGHT you take amazing pictures.


And that one of you posing....girl, you are divine. I hope your husband appreciates that!

Lovella said...

oh how wonderful to walk through your old neighborhood soaking up the trees and plants and vegetation of your youth. I can't imagine how wonderful it is to do that when you've been away. I've never been away and I still love a trip to the farm to see how the old apple trees are doing.
Your pictures are wonderful and the one with you in front of the bouganvaillia. . sp? is awesome.

It was great having you back to the blog.

Anonymous said...

It really is amazing to see all your pictures (as well as Laura's; it must be in the family!!!) I, who grew up in the middle of Helsinki,Finland,during and after the II. world war, could not even dream of such a beauty,which you describe so wonderfully!!! Thank you for your blogg, Jill!! I can sit hours and just get thrills about your way of living ;)) By the way; I just loved that roller coaster in San Diego!! Greetings from Sweden, Stockholm,to the cats and you all!! Pia P.

Sara said...

That was a lovely tour of your "west of the I-Five" neighborhood! I've walked on that beach more than once myself, though I didn't live west of the I-5.

It's been so long since I've visited that area that your post today is nostalgic to me! CT and I have spent a weekend or two in past years at that tall hotel on the corner somewhere in that general area. We would have dinner in the restaurant on top and watch the sun set over the ocean...assuming, that is, that the fog had not rolled in!

You offer such wonderful descriptions of the flowers and plants too, and great photos.

I love naked ladies! Sometime in my childhood I read that they were the flower for my birthday month, August. Their name, of course, intrigued me, and after that I always notice them when they are blooming. They do have a beautiful fragrance.

Vicki said...

Hey, Jill...welcome back! I'm finally catching up (we were away this weekend).

Your photos and commentaries are so enjoyable! There are lots of similarities between SoCal and Central and Southern Florida - the tiled roofs, Mediterranean-influenced architecture (look at the histories), trees and flowers (except that purple and white one - that's new to me) and so on. However, we do have the heat and humidity and insects. After spending the weekend back in the Orlando area where the heat and humidity are super-intense, I'm glad to be back in the Tampa area where the sea breezes keep things a bit more tolerable.

Janitha said...

As an aviator, I use lakes as easy identified waypoints. So of course I had to pull up an old chart from San Diego and take a look at your lake. By following the approach course in to Lindberg field, the lake you flew over is most likely Barrett Lake.
El Capitan Reservoir is too far north of the approach course. Sorry east county boy... ;-) (And the real name is Lake Morena, I saw it on the chart as well.)

rachel said...

I love all your flower photographs-espeacially the blue larkspur...thanks for dropping by...