Category Archives: Photos

Peace in Ocean Beach

Picture of the Moment

One of the more eclectic neighborhoods of San Diego is Ocean Beach.

It’s a time warp right out of the ’60s.

It’s fun to go there because it’s a beach, of course, and it’s one of the best places to watch storm waves crashing to shore.

It’s also interesting to drive the streets because you never know what you might find on any given day.

Recently I found a large garden ornament, which fits in well with yesterday’s Music on Monday’s focus on peace.

Peace symbol in Ocean Beach stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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My six favorite San Diego vista points

Out & About

The following are my six favorite places from which to view San Diego:

San Diego Sky Tours

San Diego Sky Tours takes you on a 20-minute flight over downtown San Diego, Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres), Qualcomm Stadium (home of the San Diego Chargers), Sports Arena (home of the Los Angeles Clippers when they were the San Diego Clippers), SeaWorld, Coronado Bridge, Hotel Del Coronado, beaches, San Diego River, and more! Take a ride in a biplane, a tour aircraft, or a helicopter. Nothing quite like it. Rates start at $124.

Remember, too, that if you fly into San Diego, sit on the left side of the airplane. The view of downtown San Diego as you are coming in for the landing is not to be missed!

Downtown San Diego from San Diego Sky Tours

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mount Soledad

A very popular tourist vista because it’s just minutes north of downtown San Diego, and downtown La Jolla, one of the area’s best tourist venues, is on the north side.

Mount Soledad rises about 823 feet above the coastline. There is a huge cross and Veterans Memorial at the top. On a clear day you can see Tijuana, Los Angeles, and probably Tokyo!

View from Mount Soledad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mount Helix

The most popular vista point in East San Diego County. Mount Helix rises 1,365 feet above sea level. It’s about 14 miles inland but you can see the ocean on a clear day. There is am amphitheater and large cross at the top. Along with Easter Sunrise Service, there are usually theater presentations during the summer. Right now the only thing I see on the Mount Helix calendar are weddings and Power Yoga.

Mount Helix is my favorite place to see the sun rise.

Sunrise from the top of Mount Helix in La Mesa, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel

In downtown San Diego on the harbor front. Comprising two towers, the older one, at 497 feet tall, has a vista point bar at the top. Unfortunately, it is way too small and crowded all the time. Be sure to visit Seaport Village at the foot of the towers.

Downtown San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

California Tower

The California Tower is 198 feet tall and located in Balboa Park.  While it is not as tall as the other vistas, the views are spectacular.

After having been closed for eighty years, it opened again on January 1, 2015. If you go, and I highly recommend that you do, make reservations and buy tickets online. They sell out far in advance, and it’s not even Tourist Season yet!

You won’t go to the tippy top because it’s not safe yet, but you won’t be disappointed. Afterwards, enjoy the rest of Balboa Park, including the world-famous San Diego Zoo.

California Tower and San Diego Museum of Man, Balboa Park, San Diego

Gian Panda Gao Gao at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Coronado

A trip to Coronado has to be on everyone’s list of places to visit while in San Diego. You will travel over the very beautiful Coronado Bridge on your way to see the Hotel del Coronado, one of the most famous hotels in the world; Frank Oz’s house where he wrote much of “The Wizard of Oz”; Coronado Beach, one of the best beaches  in the United States according to those who rank such things; and downtown San Diego from across the harbor. If your budget includes splurging at a restaurant, splurge at Peohe’s.

San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge

Downtown San Diego from Marriott Coronado Island Resort

Hotel del Coronado

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (3-13-15)—Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

Friday Flower Fiesta

San Diego has had a very long rainy season this year, possibly the longest I’ve experienced since 1993 when I moved here. It started early this winter, with .37 inch in November 2014, 3.95 inches in December, .42 inch in January 2015, .04 inch in February, and .89 inch so far in March. We even had hail earlier this month!

The rain, spread out over several months, means that plants have a better opportunity to drink up some of that water. When that happens, every plant seems to bloom whether or not it’s that plant’s blooming season.

Here is a representative collection of Photographic Art stamps made from pictures taken this past week.

Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Golden chalice vine

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flowering maple

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peace lily

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Paintbrush lily

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Primrose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Foxglove

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hibiscus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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But it’s so pretty….

Did you know?

Landscapes in San Diego are awash in pink right now and it has nothing to do with breast cancer awareness. It’s from a tree. Looks like this:

Pink trumpet tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That picture was taken yesterday as I was traipsing around the new sections of the expanded and expanding Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

I have been enamored of the tree for several years but it doesn’t seem to be stocked by the plant nurseries, and I never could find out the name of the tree….

….until yesterday.

The tree was everywhere, and everywhere I saw one, I would stop to see if there was a nameplate nearby. Finally, in an odd location in Balboa Park, I found a dying tree with a few flowers on it, and a nameplate at the base.

The nameplate reads Pink Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa).

Pink trumpet tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

However, with the advent of genome tracing and such, apparently this tree has been reassigned to the Hydroanthus genus and is now considered to be Hydroanthus impetiginosus. It’s still a pink trumpet tree, though!

The pink trumpet tree ranges from northern Mexico (which could include southern California!) south to the northern part of Argentina. It is believed to be indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago.

Unfortunately, the pink trumpet tree is a major cause of deforestation in the Amazon. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s wood is popular for flooring and decking but it does not grow in concentrated stands, tending to be scattered throughout the forest. Thus, in order to get to individual trees, logging roads have to be built long distances through prime rain forest. Once the pink trumpet tree is harvested, the logging roads make great roads for others to come in and clear the forest for agricultural uses. Computer modeling predicts that the pink trumpet tree is headed for extinction in the wild.

Other facts about the pink trumpet tree:

► It is the national tree of Paraguay.

► The inner bark is dried, shredded, and boiled to create a bitter herbal tea known as lapacho. The tea eases coughing for those with a cold or the flue, as well as “smoker’s cough.”

► Recent research indicates that the main active ingredient in lapacho is toxic enough to kill fetuses in pregnant rats in doses of 100 mg/kg of body weight.

Lapacho induces clastogenic genetic damage in rats, meaning that it causes chromosome sections to be deleted, added to, or re-arranged, leading to mutageneis, carcinogenesis, and cancer. Known clastogens which you might recognize by name include benzene and arsenic.

But it’s so pretty….

Pink trumpet tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Out & About—Mission San Antonio de Pala

Out & About

Father Antonio Peyri of Mission San Antonio de PalaI always thought that a Mission was a Mission was a Mission. Not so!

Mission San Antonio de Pala was founded in 1810 by Fr. Antonio Peyri (picture ►) as an “assistant mission” to Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, 23 miles west.

Peyri was born in 1769 in the Villa de Porrera in the Archdiocese of Catalonia, Spain. Interestingly, I could not find an actual birth date for Peyri but every source knows that he was baptized on January 8, 1769, and confirmed on October 30, 1772.

Peyri was ordained to the priesthood on March 16, 1793, and embarked for Vera Cruz, Mexico, on May 8. After three years with the Franciscans at San Fernando Collage [sic?], he left for Alto California on March 1, 1796, arriving in San Francisco on June 18. He was called in 1798 to establish Mission San Luis Rey de Francia—the main mission 23 miles west of Mission San Antonio de Pala—where he served for 34 years.

The church was dedicated on June 13, 1816. The campanario is the only free-standing one of its kind in Alta California mission chain.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The campanario was restored in 1998 and is a copy of one in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. The two bells were cast in Mexico by Cervantes. The bottom bell is dedicated to St. Francisc, St. Luis the King, St. Clare, and St. Eulalia, and the top bell is dedicated to Jesus and Mary.

The bells are rung only on Sundays and for funerals, weddings, deaths, and for emergencies, such as wildfires approaching. Sadly, the Mission found it necessary to install a large sign telling tourists NOT to ring the bells out of respect for local customs.

The mission was very successful and prosperous, converting over 1,300 Indians to Catholicism. Most of the Alta California missions started to decline in 1846 due to secularization by the Mexican government.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

There is a plaque placed in 1996 by the Order of Alhambra stating,

“THIS MISSION HAS BECOME THE
MOTHER CHURCH OF CATHOLICISM
AT
CAHUILLA, LA JOLLA, PAUMA, PICHANGA,
RINCON, SANTA ROSA, AND TEMECULA
IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.”

The names are Native American Indian tribes, not cities.

The mission was severely damaged in the Christmas Day 1899 earthquake. Restoration in 1902-03 resulted in archetypal paintings being whitewashed, although they eventually were restored as well.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Restoration of the quadrangle began in 1954 and was completed in 1959. Thousands of adobe bricks were made from the mission ruins, and cedar logs were, once again, brought from Palomar Mountain. The quadrangle is a very peaceful place, unlike most quadrangles that I have visited throughout the United States.

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Quadrangle at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

According to one source, the mission was destroyed by the historic Southern California floods of 1916, heaviest and most disastrous in San Diego County, but was rebuilt the same year using the original adobe. Another source says only that the foundations of the chapel and campanario were undermined and caused the buildings to crumble. The story of the 1916 flood will eventually be a blog post of its own; quite interesting.

The chapel and museum wing are original (but what does that mean in light of the paragraph immediately above?), the chapel undergoing extensive restoration in 1992 due to termite damage that threatened to collapse the roof.

I found the museum quite interesting in light of me finding the original “The Peace of the Resurrection” (see my previous post and first picture ▼).

The Peace of the Resurrection by Raul Anguiano at the Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Many of the quadrangle buildings are home to the Vivian Banks Charter Elementary School where I taught chess on Thursday afternoons.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mission San Antonio de Pala is the only original Alta California mission still ministering to Native American people.

Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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“The Cemetery” at Mission San Antonio de Pala

Out & About

Cemeteries have always fascinated me. Nonetheless, I have only been to two funerals in my life, that of my granddad who died in 1978 when I was 23, and that of my best friend who died in 1989. I didn’t even get to go to my wise old grandmother’s funeral in 2003 because my three uncles threatened me with violence, one stating that he “didn’t know what might happen” if I went. Since he had more weapons than the United States Army, I decided to stay away.

San Diego is the only place that has two national cemeteries—Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (picture ▼) and Miramar National Cemetery—and Southern California is the only region that has three of them, with Riverside National Cemetery about 60 miles from me. My husband’s dad is interred at Riverside National Cemetery.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I find national cemeteries to be kind of dull, boring, and uninteresting due to their monotonous conformity.

However, they always seem to be located in beautiful places.

I think the most interesting cemeteries I ever visited were in New Orleans; those are what I call cemeteries.

We don’t seem to have a lot of cemeteries here in San Diego, but while out and about a couple of weeks ago I discovered “The Cemetery”:

The Cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala, Pala California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Located at the Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California, founded in 1816 to convert the native Indians to Catholicism, The Cemetery is the original Mission cemetery and claims to hold the remains of hundreds of Native American converts to Catholicism, as well as other early California pioneers.

If The Cemetery holds hundreds of remains, they are not well marked after all these years, or they were buried in a mass grave.

Actually, while researching this post, I discovered that the cemetery is also known as the “Old Luiseño Cemetery,” named after the tribe of Indians the Mission had served. Graves typically were marked by wooden crosses, a great supermajority of which have fallen, deteriorated, or been misplaced.

Over at Interment.net, I found a partial list of those interred in the cemetery.

There might have been about twenty grave markers in The Cemetery. Here are some that I found interesting:

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t think this last one is a grave marker unless it’s a place holder for all those grave markers that aren’t there anymore.

Grave marker at the cemetery at Mission San Antonio de Pala in Pala, California

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Enjoy life. Make waves!

Picture of the Moment

After three consecutive days of rain, we’ve had three consecutive days of absolute beauty.

THIS is the San Diego that I’ve come to know and love, especially since lots of sunshine lets me get out and about to explore and take pictures.

Here’s one that I really like from yesterday:

Enjoy life. Make waves.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Taken at San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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