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Santa Catalina Island — The City of Avalon, California

Frank Castaldini, real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in San Francisco, CaliforniaThis post is dedicated to Frank Castaldini, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in San Francisco, California. I have known Frank for several years through a real estate professional networking site and highly recommend him for anyone buying or selling a home in the San Francisco area. If he can’t help you in your specific locale, I know he can refer you to someone (almost) as good as he is.

Dedications are my way of trying to provide a little extra Google juice for people I have come to know and respect over the years.

Out & About San Diego

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

My birthday to myself last Sunday was a trip to Santa Catalina Island, a place that I’ve wanted to go for about 18 years, since the day I arrived in San Diego and saw pictures of it. Now through May 1, if you have a birthday, you can ride the Catalina Express to and from Santa Catalina Island from Dana Point, Long Beach, or the Port of San Pedro in Los Angeles — FREE! The caveat is that you have to depart on your birthday, but you can return anytime.

Following are my best eight pictures of the City and Port of Avalon, a little enclave of about 3,300 people.

The first two pictures are of the Avalon Casino, the signature building in Avalon. I think it used to be a casino in its early days but it is a theater and a theatre now:

Avalon Casino on Santa Catalina Island

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

Avalon Casino on Santa Catalina Island

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

When leaving the boat dock, this building towers over you from the cliffs above:

Avalon on Santa Catalina Island

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

I thought it was going to be the most spectacular house on the island when it is finished, but in zooming in on it using the computer, I think it’s going to be a public lookout point. Might have to go back!

I think this condominium complex is where 75% of the Avalon population lives:

Avalon on Santa Catalina Island

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

We found a very nice restaurant at The Landing to have my birthday meal. The first picture above of the Avalon Casino was taken from the restaurant.

Avalon on Santa Catalina Island

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

From the restaurant we could see lots of parasailers:

Avalon on Santa Catalina Island

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

Tuna fishing was once a big industry on the Island. This picture is of the Tuna Club, one of the first buildings on the Island, was also taken from the restaurant we ate at:

Avalon on Santa Catalina Island

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

It was a dreary gray morning when we left Long Beach, and even an hour later when we arrived in Avalon. As the day wore on, the clouds broke up and disappeared, the sun came out, and Avalon turned magical, looking like something out of Europe.

Avalon on Santa Catalina Island

Pictures copyright 2010 by Russel Ray Photos

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

And where do you get your sausage?

Out & About San Diego

If you be nice, I can get you some sausage from the sausage tree (Kigelia africana):

Sausage tree

I don’t know about where you live, but I have never seen sausage that looks like that, not to mention growing on a tree. Sausage here in San Diego is rather slender and is found in the meat section at the grocery store. To me, those look like Russet potatoes from Idaho.

Sausage tree

The Kigelia genus contains only one species, and you’re looking at pictures of it. Sausage trees are native to tropical Africa. I have seen two of these trees in San Diego, one on the campus of San Diego State University (which is rapidly turning into a world-class arboretum) and one at the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park.

Sausage trees can be both evergreen or deciduous, depending on the amount of rainfall. The fruit is a wood berry (looks like a potato to me) and can be up to 3.3 feet long and 7 inches wide. Inside the fruit are hundreds of seeds. Hanging down on long, rope-like peduncles, the fruits can weigh up to 22 pounds, so don’t park your car under it and walk around it if you see one because the fruits do fall to the ground.

Sausage tree

In the realm of herbal medicine, the fruit is supposedly a cure for a rheumatism, evil spirits, syphilis, constipation (it’s a strong laxative) and, get this, tornadoes. The raw fruit is poisonous, but when dried, roasted, or fermented, it can be made into beer, sink care products, or eaten.

The sausage tree is related to jacarandas and catalpas, among others, and the flowers are extremely beautiful, large, and kind of waxy.

Sausage tree flower

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

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House at the University of California San Diego

A challenge to all my real estate friends: List this house!

Ron and Alexandra Seigel of Napa Consultants in Santa Barbara, CaliforniaThis post is dedicated to Ron and Alexandra Seigel, luxury real estate marketing consultants and owners of Napa Consultants in Santa Barbara, California. I have known Ron and Alexandra for a few years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend them for anyone needing luxury real estate marketing services anywhere in the world, not just in Santa Barbara or California.

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I did a post on March 2 about Dr. Seuss and the Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), I was reminded that there are lots of picture-taking opportunities on the UCSD campus. It ranks probably as the quirkiest campus I’ve ever visited, and I’ve been to five or six hundred college and university campuses, maybe more.

An addition to campus late last year was a house. It seems to be a standard house, until you look at where it’s located. Is this an example of the old real estate adage: “Location, location, location.”

I want all my real estate friends to come up with their best listing presentation for this fine piece of Southern California real estate:

House at the University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

House at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That house sits on top of the Irwin & Joan Jacobs School of Engineering building, which I think is six stories tall. Irwin Jacobs is a founder and former chairman of Qualcomm, the company that makes much of the stuff that lets your mobile phone do what it does….. blame him.

I went over to the Geisel Library, sixth floor, to get one more picture:

House at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Related posts:
» The Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego
» The Sun God of the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D camera and a Canon 55-250mm lens. Picture frames from Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

The Sun God of the University of California San Diego

Robert Gilbert, real estate agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in Katy, TexasThis post is dedicated to Robert Gilbert, a real estate agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in Katy, Texas. I have known Robert for a few years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend Robert for anyone needing real estate services in Katy, Texas, just west of Houston.

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I did a post on March 2 about Dr. Seuss and the Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), I was reminded that there are lots of picture-taking opportunities on the UCSD campus. Off I went yesterday, and my next few posts will be of some of them.

UCSD is a rather young university, having been founded in 1958. In the ensuing 50+ years it has risen to be a major public university, particularly strong in the sciences, particularly engineering and the health sciences, and annually ranking in the Top 10 of research universities ranked by research funds that the University brings in from outside sources.

Its 2,141-acre campus was built in the midst of a eucalyptus grove overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Blacks Beach, a world-renowned Naturist beach. Unfortunately (in my view), much of the eucalyptus grove has been destroyed over the years in the name of progress, i.e., constructing more buildings on campus to meet the needs of a population comprising 1,205 faculty members, including six Nobel Laureates, and 29,000+ students.

There are many unique buildings on campus, as well as many works of public art, of which the best known is the Sun God:

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Sun God, by Niki de Sant Phalle of Paris, France, was the first sculpture commissioned for the campus by the Stuart Collection. It was installed on the campus on January 27, 1983. The sculpture itself is 14 feet tall, constructed of fiberglass, and sits on top of a concrete arched base that is 15 feet tall. No public monies were spent on the sculpture; it was funded entirely by the Stuart Foundation of San Francisco.

According to then-Stuart Collection Director Mary Beebe, “[Sun God] appears to have just landed there out of some fantasy world. It’s a friendly and embracing bird, with mythological and primordial overtones. ‘Sun God’ is very colorful, exuberant and certainly joyous, but with a slightly awesome edge.”

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

Sun God at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Related posts:
     » The Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D camera and a Canon 55-250mm lens. Picture frames from Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Ice in the snow (!)

Snow pictures from San Diego, California (part 2)

This post is dedicated to Chris Smith, a real estate agent with RE/MAX Chay Realty in New Tecumseth, Ontario, Canada. I have known Chris for a few years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend Chris for anyone needing real estate services in the rural areas around Toronto.

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I thought I could do four posts yesterday, but noooooooooo! Work got in the way.

As promised, though, here are some pictures of snow in past years in San Diego County. All pictures are from the Cuyamaca area:

Location of Cuyamaca, California

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I just learned how to use picture captions while making them look nice!

New fence in the new snow

New fence in the new snow

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Old tractor in the new snow

Old tractor in the new snow

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Old farming equipment in the new snow

Old farming equipment in the new snow

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Old red barn in the new snow

Old red barn in the new snow

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

New houses in the new snow

New houses in the new snow (most of this area burned in the October 2003 fires)

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hay in the snow

Hay in the snow

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Mailboxes in the snow

Mailboxes in the snow

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Ice in the snow

Ice in the snow

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Related posts:
     » Snow in San Diego!
     » Snow pictures from San Diego, California

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon Rebel XSi camera and a Tamron 70-300mm lens.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

Friday Flower Fiesta — #6 (March 2, 2012)

Kathy Schowe, real estate agent with Intero Real Estate in La Quinta, CaliforniaToday’s Friday Flower Fiesta is dedicated to Kathy Schowe, a real estate agent with Intero Real Estate in La Quinta, about 90 miles northeast of me. I have known Kathy for a couple of years through a real estate professional networking site. I highly recommend her for anyone needing real estate services in the desert cities of La Quinta, Palm Desert, and Palm Springs. Kathy is an expert on living the desert life.

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I had forgotten that Fridays are for my Friday Flower Fiesta and that if I miss a Friday my regular Friday Flower Fiesta readers get upset.

Since I had already done two posts today (Snow pictures from San Diego, California and The Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego) before realizing that it was Friday, I was rushing about wondering what flowers to put in my Friday Flower Fiesta today.

I went to Ralphs a couple of blocks away to get some milk and that’s when I realized that today should be an orange day. Just in those two blocks but two different streets, I found all of these orange flowers:

Roses bloom year-round in San Diego, but orange roses are pretty rare. Most people prefer red.

Orange rose

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

March and April are when the clivias are blooming. I found a couple of yellow clivias, too, a much rarer clivia color, but it’s not a yellow day. It’s an orange day.

Orange clivia

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The aloes are coming to the end of their spring blooming but you can still find some around, the laggards. Two different aloes:

Orange aloe

Orange aloe

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

February through mid-April is also the spring blooming season for ice plant. If you’re ever in San Diego this time of year, the freeways are covered in purple and pink ice plant. Orange is a much rarer ice plant color.

Orange ice plant

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

This is also blooming season for the kangaroo paw, so named because its racemes look like kangaroo paws.

Kangaroo paw

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I believe the following is an African daisy, which also tend to bloom year-round in our climate.

Gerbera daisy

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Last is one of my favorite flowers, a protea. My wise old grandmother in Kingsville, Texas, used to have a protea bush, but only because I bought it for my little cactus garden before she claimed it as her own. :)

Protea

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

All pictures taken by Russel Ray using a Canon 550D camera and a 55-250 Canon lens. Picture framing was done in Corel PaintShop Pro X4.

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat

The Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

Today happens to be the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, more famously known simply as Dr. Seuss. In honor of Dr. Seuss, today is also National Read Across America Day, a reading initiative created by the National Education Association. Although Geisel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1904, he died right here in La Jolla in 1991.

La Jolla, California

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Geisel and his wife, Helen, moved to La Jolla shortly after World War II, and it was from La Jolla that he wrote his most popular works:

  • If I Ran the Zoo (1950)
  • Horton Hears a Who! (1955)
  • If I Ran the Circus (1956)
  • The Cat in the Hat (1957)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957)
  • Green Eggs and Ham (1960)
  • One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (1960)

Sadly, Geisel’s first wife, Helen, committed suicide on October 23, 1967, over her husband’s affair with Audrey Stone Dimond, whom he married on June 21, 1968. Geisel had no children with either of his two wives, but he and Audrey spent almost a quarter of a century contributing to literacy nationwide, as well as the programs of the library at the University of California San Diego.

Geisel died of throat cancer on September 24, 1991, and on December 1, 1995, the University of California San Diego renamed the University Library Building to the Geisel Library in honor of Audrey and Theodor Seuss Geisel. It ranks as one of the most unique buildings in San Diego. Here are some pictures that I took on March 2, 2011:

Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The library has thirteen floors of which only 12 are usable. Eight floors are in the skyscraper, two are underground, and there is no third floor if you’re in the elevator. The third floor is simply an emergency exit that allows people in the skyscraper to evacuate without having to go down through the subterranean floors.

Since it is a skyscraper, one would not think to go down in order to go up:

Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Parts of the library are actually underground. I didn’t realize it until I was leaving the library, but this part that I was walking on is the roof of part of the library:

Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The crooked wall you see at the right in the picture above looks like this:

Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

All pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Interestingly, there was a Dr. Hans Seuss who also lived in La Jolla at the same time. Dr. Hans Seuss was an internationally renowned chemist and nuclear physicist, and a founding faculty member of the University of California San Diego in 1958. The United States Postal Service confused Dr. Hans Seuss and Theodor Seuss Geisel, regularly delivering to Dr. Hans Seuss mail that was addressed to Geisel’s Dr. Seuss.

The Dr. Seuss Collection, housed in the Geisel Library, is the world’s largest repository of Geisel’s original drawings, sketches, and manuscripts. Dr. Hans Seuss’s private collection is also housed in the Geisel Library, forever linking the two Seusses.

Geisel Library at the University of California San Diego

This post approved by Zoey the Cool Cat