Another fast trip home last weekend.
Home being San Diego area, home for the first 46 years of my life.
And where our parents still live.
It is no secret that it is part of Southern California which is known for being a bit insane.
("Insane Diego" is a nick name of my home town.)
Underwater pumpkin carving anyone?
Especially the pumpkin on the right...apparently a pumpkin in a scuba mask?
My current home is deep in the glories of autumn colors.
It was hard to fly out on Thursday, to San Diego, where autumn is barely discernible.
Where the colors are colors are watercolor blues and grays and muted sand year around.
Bernie travels a lot.
He recently hit the "1 million miles of air travel" milestone.
Isn't that amazing?
I never would have ever thought I would know someone who has flown a million miles.
After we flew in to San Diego we went over to pick up a rental car.
I got quite a charge at seeing our name on the car rental Preferred Service Board.
He gave a quick look for our name, walked over to the assigned vehicle, opened the doors, loaded our luggage, got in, turned the key and off we went.
No muss, no fuss.
I asked if he had requested the car model.
He said no, he didn't care anymore, but if I wasn't happy he'd switch it.
I didn't care either.
It was a nice new Chevy SUV.
We drove off in record time.
The San Diego airport is right next to the San Diego harbor.
It is always good to see the San Diego sky line again.
I remember when there were no high rises on the bay.
I remember when the El Cortez was the ONLY high rise in San Diego!
Now we can barely find the building in the skyline.
I can remember when there were not so many ships.
Although there always seemed to be a lot of sailboats.
I remember when there were not so many cars!
It was only 4 pm.
Now I do remember seeing Navy ships outlined on the horizon.
Red tiled roofs: Very San Diego.
Palms lining streets:
Also San Diego to me.
The tall sail ship Star of India and the ferry ship are part of my mental picture of home.
So much traffic NOT during rush hour: Not part of my memories.
(This is insane!)
Planes jetting in right over head, so low sometimes you swear can see the faces in the plane windows.
Yes, that is how it has always been.
I do remember when the planes were all prop planes.
Jets came later...
Jacaranda trees in bloom in late spring: A signature San Diego memory.
Except this is OCTOBER!
Since when do Jacaranda bloom in October?
That is as odd as a daffodil blooming in November.
See the building above the bridge with a bit of red pointing up from the roof?
That's the El Cortez, the "famous" high rise of my childhood.
It had a glass elevator that ran up and down outside the building.
It was a real childhood thrill to be taken downtown to ride the elevator and see downtown all lit up at night.
There is no lull in the traffic at all now.
There is some bit of humor to be seen though.
Heated toilet seats?
In San Diego, where it never really gets cold.
How wimpy are the SD folks getting to be these days anyway?
Honk if you like warm buns indeed.
We drive east on 94 and soon see Mt. Helix in the distance.
It is the other San Diego Mount with a cross atop.
This cross was on private land so it wasn't contested all the way up to the Supreme Court like how the cross on Mt. Soledad was.
Apparently all roads lead east....
We went to Bernie's dad's home which is just a mile off the freeway here.
We spent the night.
It was good to see Hal; we still really miss Barbara though.
The next day, Friday, we went out to La Jolla to see my folks.
Then I went back to La Jolla again on Saturday while Bernie stayed with his dad to help him with some minor home repairs.
I swung by the La Jolla Shores beach.
The palm trees were silhouetted against the typical grey beach sky.
Fog...there is almost always fog at the beach in the morning.
So many palms; I guess they almost make up a forest of palms.
I don't think I have ever heard anyone speak of a palm forest though.
The palms and the other trees have been there for as long as I can remember, which specifically would be since 1958.
I remember this tree as a child, the tree with the white bottle brush shaped flowers.
My parents met on the beach wall, just a few steps away from here, in the early 1940s.
I should ask if the tree was there when they met at a beach party as teens.
There are still the low growing twisty trunked trees that sprawl just beyond the sidewalk next to the sea wall and the sand.
The trunks always struck me as strange.
Now they are more appealing to me for their strangeness.
The beach fan palms: I liked the fan shape palms branches better than some of the other palm shapes.
A look to the left, to the south from La Jolla Shores:
Just past the much hated box high rise, built in the 1960s, is the famous La Jolla Cove.
The cove is now barely bearable as a herd of sea lions have taken over the beach and flocks of pelicans now perch on the surrounding cliffs.
Both the sea lions and the pelicans make powerfully scented "droppings" which can cause gagging when the breeze blows the smell up the cliff.
When I was growing up, seeing a sea lion and a pelican was a rare and exciting thing.
Now there are so many of both that one can hardly walk on the beach.
Looking north to Scripps Pier.
I never jumped off the pier but most of the boys I grew up with did so as a rite of passage.
The palms have captured a kite...
The new life guard tower is now open.
For fifty...sixty years the lifeguard station was a plain two story brick building.
This new station, new this year, is architecturally quite different.
Instead of the old tower's red brick (red brick is really uncommon in Southern California) the new tower is made from several colors of brick and areas of mosaic.
I saw myself reflected in the new tower's window.
I saw my reflection and was surprised to see a person much older than how I was seeing myself in my mind.
In my mind, I was a child, a teen, a young woman walking the along the beach.
I had never thought of myself walking the beach at almost 60...
When my parent's built their home just three blocks from the beach back in 1958, they created mosaics to decorate the walls inside.
The mosaics were not too different color wise from these mosaics.
Apparently mosaics are making a comeback.
I admire the simple guard tower landscaping.
Beautiful, isn't it?
The brief shot of bright orange, shockingly bright, contrasting boldly against the constant gray beach mists that surround it.
It is mostly as it has always been there.
I hope as it will be, always, in the future too.
To be continued...