Gaslamp Architecture, San Diego

The pink hotel viewed from the Hotel Andaz

This area of San Diego was once known as the new town and most of the buildings are Victorian with some Art Deco.  In the 1980s and 1990s many of the buildings were listed as historic buildings.  It is now a lively center for business and nightlife.  This is a link to the Wikipedia page about the Gaslamp Quarter

I wasn’t able to identify all the buildings in this post but they all caught my eye.

Florent restaurant

Four buildings

SDSU Gallery

Sunset from Gaslamp

I loved the detail on the side of the this building.  The new architecture looked really good against the older buildings.

Water feature in front of buildings

Totem pole at the mall

The Tipsy Crow

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Snow in the subtropics!

My street

I was just about to take some photographs of our late autumn foliage when this happened.  The last time we had snow was in 2009 so it is a big event.  Everyone gets a bit silly when we get snow and the mechanics at the auto shop had been throwing snowballs.  My next door neighbor’s daughter, who has grown up with us, is now very tall and at university.  She created this miniature snowman.

Snowman!

Last week I told my girlfriends that it was going to snow this week.  I doubt they believed me.  My sixth sense has been hyper recently and I had a premonition of my death.  Nothing awful – just that it would be my lungs.  I had the last rites when I was a baby (lungs full of fluid), so I am good to go! 😇  Yesterday I drove downtown in the most awful weather, icy rain, crazy drivers and a warning light on my car.  I was working outside and remarked to my colleague that snow was coming.  He didn’t believe me either.  As I drove back home in the same conditions, I noticed that odd look that the sky has when snow is in the clouds.  Just a faint hint of pink with a heaviness to the clouds.  All those years living in the north of Scotland has honed my Farmer’s Almanac skills.

My Japanese Yew and Mountain Laurel

Some of my plants are suited for a wide range of weather including these two buddies but some tropical plants look overwhelmed.  Katniss blames me for all weather events and has been hissing at me this week.   Just call me Freya…  Today, at her first sight of snow, she had no words but later wailed at me for the cold.  There is a lovely deck to shelter under and she has a thick, glossy coat.

Old Town, San Diego

Colorado House

Stable Museum

Close to the Immaculate Conception Church is a Pioneer Park with original and replica buildings from the origins of San Diego. As I wandered through the park, I wondered about my ancestors. Was I walking in their footsteps?
This is a quote from Old Town San Diego guide

“Old Town San Diego is considered the “birthplace” of California. San Diego is the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement in California. It was here in 1769, that Father Junipero Serra came to establish the very first mission in a chain of 21 missions that were to be the cornerstone of California’s colonization. Father Serra’s mission and Presidio were built on a hillside overlooking what is currently known as Old Town San Diego”.

I bet it really was cosmopolitan back in the day!

Spice shop

I was fascinated by the huge scale. It made me think of bushels and pecks – such descriptive measurements. When we moved back to the States, I was delighted to find imperial measurements instead of Metric weights. Sometimes you are just to old to adapt to kilos… Then I discovered that American imperial measurements are different to the old British ones. The gallons are different – WTH???

Senora de los Meurtos

I visited just before Halloween and Dia de los Meurtos and loved the vivid color in these displays in the restaurant district. You can tell that it is autumn in San Diego with that fantastic clear light. It was about 80 degrees with NO humidity – yay! I fearlessly ate lunch outside without misting systems and didn’t get bitten by mosquitoes. When you live in a sub tropical swamp, those weather conditions are heaven. As I write this, it is heavenly weather in Houston but there is always some bloody mosquitoes…

Ah, it was a perfect day visiting ancestor’s graves at an appropriate time to honor them and then being able to imagine how they lived.

Anything but books tag

Sweet Potato and Bison casserole with brown rice

Thank you to Lisa from Life of an El Paso Woman  for nominating me for this blog challenge.  Lisa’s blog is a fun mix of music, romance and topical subjects.  I have a soft spot for Lisa because she is the only blogger friend I have met so far.  I have been struggling to write anything so this challenge is a good distraction

Q1 What is your favorite cartoon

Minions and/or Despicable Me!  What’s not to love?  Phrases that I incorporate into regular life such as “It’s so fluffy I could die!”  Everything about the film appeals to me from the forgotten orphans with retro names to their loving Despicable (but not really) Dad and their new mom.  I particularly liked the bad Minions, “Bah,” and the evil Spanish chicken, ‘el pollo diablo’

As for old ‘toons’, my favorite was always Roadrunner and Wiley Coyote.  Why do you think I live in Texas?  When I see a roadrunner, I always look up for a giant anvil falling out of the sky.

Q2 What is your favorite song right now

Camila Cabello – Havana ft. Young Thug.  I love the slow sexy Cuban vibe and her beautiful voice.  Just imagine moving your hips to this slow salsa beat on the hot sands of somewhere, anywhere, in Latin America.

Q3 What could you do for hours that isn’t reading

Binge watching some new cable series that everyone has been raving about.  There is a new British series called Liar that I sat and watched for 6 hours straight – hooked!  Then I had nightmares all night.

Q4 What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised about

I make handmade soaps with unusual shapes and scents.  One of my favorites is vanilla cupcake in a cupcake mold.  Many years ago I started a business but after making endless soapy party favors for two baby showers, my sinuses and allergies waved a white flag of surrender.  I am still allergic to the very expensive perfume oils but now just make them for grateful friends.

Q5 What is your favorite thing to learn about

Languages and real news.  I am NOT a Trump supporter but I would like to hear more balanced news stories about global events and not just bloody politics.  Working at an airport, I collect small phrases in different languages – for example, “Eet smakelijk” which means enjoy your meal in Dutch.  My bad Spanish comes in very handy at times, especially with a Scottish accent.🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Q6 What is something unusual that you know how to do

Impersonations.  One of my favorites is Donald Duck.  Teddy says that the words are incomprehensible (my Donald Duck is a slow learner) but most others laugh.  In a toy shop in Grand Junction, Colorado, I had a Donald Duck competition with a Dad.  The poor child looked frightened…LOL!  The next impersonation is R rated and certainly not politically correct.  Sometimes, when I want to get Teddy in the mood, I impersonate a South East Asian sex worker. “Come on Big Boy.  You pay money, I do trick! Maybe ping pong ball?”  Occasionally it actually works but mostly it makes him laugh.  Let’s just say I am fun in bed…

Q7 Name something you have made in the last year

Soaps!  I also made a bison and sweet potato casserole, photographed above, in an attempt to get Teddy to eat well.  My cooking skills are good but my desire is lacking.

Q8 What is your most recent personal project

Does the intro page of my memoir count?  I keep starting stuff but can barely even manage to write on my blog which I love.  Anxiety and boredom, a strange combination, has been my bug-a-boo this year.

Q9 Tell us something that’s your favorite (food?), that is oddly specific

I assumed from Lisa’s blog that this question referred to food.  I like a sandwich of Dave’s Killer Organic Bread, buttered with salted chips or crisps inside it.  Other favorites are a bowl of cooked peas with butter.  My food choices reflect my Irish heritage – anything with butter on it.

And now I tag

Lana at Travelling Vegan Christian

Mohamad at Mohamad El Karbi

Evil at Evil Squirrel’s Nest

Lyn at Lynz Real Cooking

Please feel free to ignore this tag challenge 😁

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Harvest Cart in Old Town San Diego

Happy Thanksgiving!  We have much to be thankful for in Houston; that most of us survived Hurricane Harvey.  We are grateful to our neighbors, friends and all the help we received from all over America and the world.  My heart goes out to everyone struggling today and my thoughts are with  you. ❤️

Walk into the light

Side door of the Immaculate Conception Church, Old Town, San Diego

Outside the door

“It was here in Old Town that Saint Junípero Serra celebrated his First Holy Mass in California on July 2, 1769, near the site of the present Immaculate Conception Church, and it was on the hill overlooking Old Town that he planted the cross which marked the site of the Mission and the Presidio.”  This is a direct quote from the website of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Old Town, San Diego.  Given that my ancestors were buried in El Campo cemetery, a block away, I knew that they had sat in the current or previous church.  My senses tingle when I can reconnect with the past.

Exterior of Immaculate Conception Church

Intricate Spanish detailing on the front door

I was curious about this American saint with the strange name.  He was born in Majorca, one of the Balearic Islands, to the east of the Spanish Mainland.  When I was a toddler my crazy mum and dad took me to live on one the smaller islands, Formentera.  It didn’t work out… If you click on this link, Saint Junipero Serra, you can access an Encyclopedia Brittanica article about him.

There is some debate about whether he really helped the native people of California and that is the reason why he was canonized in 2015.  Missionaries often think they are doing God’s work when they might be erasing a culture or set of beliefs.  My personal belief is that you can volunteer or work in the third world without a specific faith or any but I wouldn’t want to belittle the good work that many missions do.

El Campo Cemetery had a broad mixture of names – Irish, English and Spanish mostly.  Many had intermarried like my family.  The stained glass in the Immaculate Conception Church had been donated by various families and it represented this broad range of original nationalities.

Front door

It was a lovely little church enhanced by the perfect sunny day.  When I was looking for information about the church, I was amused by reviews on Yelp and Tripadvisor.  Who would dare give less than a 5 star rating???

 

 

El Campo cemetery, San Diego

El Campo cemetery in the old town, San Diego

My nomadic ancestors have graves all over the world but I recently found out that some of them settled in San Diego as early pioneers.  This provoked my recent visit to San Diego.  Leaving the airport, I had a very personable Uber driver who took me to my hotel in the Gaslamp area, to drop my bag, and then straight to the oldest cemetery in San Diego, El Campo.  It is situated in what was once the old town and now has a replica pioneer town.  At first I was surprised at how small and basic the cemetery was but there was something haunting about the simple stone markers and recent wooden stakes.  Much of the cemetery was taken over when a new railroad was built and many of the residents were re interred in a different part of the city.

This plaque is in remembrance of my great-great-great grandfather Jesse or Julian Ames, a pioneer from Connecticut.  His daughter Matilda is my direct link to this very large family.  The Ames family has a very large family get-together every year – perhaps I will ask for an invitation?  He was born in 1807 and died in 1866.

This is the grave of my other great-great-great grandfather, Juan Maria Marron who was born in 1808 or 1809.  From researching historical records there were many people with very similar names born at the same time in San Diego.  The re interred graves caused some more confusion but my ancestors are there somewhere and more importantly their spirits live in the modern city of San Diego.   Juan and Julian’s children married and are my great-great grandparents.

Grave of an Indian Maiden

Of all the graves I looked at, this grave of an Indian maiden pulled at my heartstrings.  Did she die of a European plague such as smallpox or flu?  Or perhaps life was just harsh back in those days.  So many women died in childbirth although I think referencing her as a maiden means that she was without children.  Then my mind wandered to my Mestizo heritage.  Was this a maiden taken from Mexico or a local native?  Cemeteries are so interesting, especially if you have a personal link.  In those days, San Diego would have been paradise, good weather, fine farming and seas full of fish.