Tag: California Living

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Why We Went to Julian

Our family relocated to San Diego in October 2007 with a purpose: Being close to my father-in-law, so that he could continue to live independently, which he did until his passing, at age 95, in January 2017. Eleven years is long enough. The Wilcox clan, or part of it, contemplates exodus, because the area is increasingly less desirable: Cost of-living and recent zoning changes that will increase population density by way of building more multi-unit housing.

My wife and I are considering many different possible locations to move—anywhere from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico or Texas to Delaware, North Carolina, or the Mid-Atlantic region we left to come here. That said, closer-by would be more practical, particularly if we were to buy a home. Earlier today, Annie and I spent several hours in Julian, Calif., where we looked at four houses for sale. 

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Where Does the Lafayette Belong?

San Diego’s Hillcrest and North Park districts are local cultural and nightlife hotspots, much more so than the neighborhood where my family lives—University Heights. Because of zip codes—92103 vs 92116—there is sometimes confusion, which admittedly may be intentional, about what business belongs to which of the three. For the record, according to the official maps, UH extends outside 92116, well past The Boulevard all the way to Lincoln, which is the last major parallel street before University Avenue and the main Hillcrest and North Park strips.

The historic, and entertainment lively, Lafayette Hotel claims to be “tucked snugly in the vibrant North Park neighborhood”. That would be the case if located on the other side of Texas Street. But the place is “tucked snugly” inside University Heights, I say. Also, El Cajon Blvd is more ghetto than “vibrant”—no disrespect to the businesses along the strip or people living on or around it (I am among the latter). 

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San Diego Bike Invasion

Like mushrooms suddenly appearing after the rain, ride-sharing bicycles are popping up all around my neighborhood (University Heights East) as well as North Park—and from two separate providers: LimeBike and Ofo. The sightings started several weeks ago, one or two, here or there. Now these things are absolutely everywhere!

The Featured Image makes the point. In the foreground, at Alabama and Madison, two Ofos are parked, while across the way—go ahead, count `em—another four can be seen. Out of view are two more further along towards Adams Ave. Photo vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 8:31 a.m. PST, today. 

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Burtech Blues Break

I stand corrected about the water pipeline work, which seemed to reach its mainstay on Jan. 12, 2018. Two days ago, Burtech contractor crews started to earnestly tear up our street, compelling closed apartment windows that keep out noise and dust and, disappointedly, pleasant weather.

My repast has been longer walks, to parts of the neighborhood where the natural sounds of birds, other wildlife, and breeze rustling palm fronds are soothing ambience. This afternoon, while walking down Meade Ave. towards Texas Street, I passed a lone rose rising defiantly behind cement wall, challenging the urban, human landscape’s listless, lifeless incursion. 

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Forbidden Fruit

I suppose these lemons could be bitter and deadly. Or, perhaps, the sign seeks something else: Pilfering deterrence. The tree hangs perilously, and temptingly, over the sidewalk and easily within reach of most passersby. Poison […]

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Slow Down!

Our old apartment of 10 years overlooked an alley, from the dining room and my office. There is something compelling about alley life that gives different insight into San Diego neighborhoods. For example, here in University Heights, utility poles run along the alleys rather than major residential streets. Palm trees reach for the skies in their place.

Many properties keep trash cans and dumpsters in the alleys, where residents will place unwanted items they want to give away rather than throw away. Savengers on foot, bicycle, or truck collect this stuff or forage for redeemable bottles and cans. Some of these people rip open bags of refuse, which attracts wildlife—ranging from birds to possums. 

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Piping Project Progress

Call me mistaken.  Pipeline road construction only seemed to start in earnest yesterday. This morning, Burtech heavy-machinery gouged a long narrow trench—what my wife calls “the mote”—down our street. We are overwhelmed with disruption—like the car being blocked from leaving its assigned parking space—and constant noise. But that’s okay, because the road crew clearly makes tremendous progress. Maybe we won’t be besieged for months, as I had feared.

To document the moment, but not make the workers too uneasy, I used iPhone X instead of Leica Q. Smartphone snapping is familiar to most people and less threatening. In the Featured Image, you can see the trench, for new water pipes, going down the street. I wonder: What about the old ones? Do they just stay in the ground? Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 20, 1/2288 sec, 4mm; 10:39 a.m. PST. 

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Afternoon Walkabout

I spent the day cooped up, with windows shut, consoling our unsettled cats and waiting for the plumber to arrive. Normally, there is fresh air flowing, but we wisely chose to keep out jackhammering noise and airborne debris coming from the street, which is being dug up to put in new water pipes.

The plumber and construction crews completed their tasks within minutes of one another, freeing me to take a later-day long walk. Trudging up Meade Ave. from Alabama Street, I finally stopped and used Leica Q to make a portrait of a sign seen many times. Vitals for the Featured Image, aperture manually set (for bokeh): f/2, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 4:07 p.m. PST. In editing with Adobe Photoshop Classic CC, I tweaked exposure, slightly boosted vibrancy, and aggressively drew out highlights. 

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Water Works

Our street is in trauma. Quick, someone call the EMTs. Charge up the paddles. Stand back while the lifeless carcass is shocked. Thump. Thump. Thump. We have a heartbeat. No, wait! That’s the sound of jackhammers rat-tat-tatting asphalt, concrete, and stone.

Construction started in earnest today for what could be as much as two months of mayhem and noise. Animal life—birds, cats, and squirrels—fled in fear. Our neighbor’s dog, which stayed indoors with windows shut, hid in near catatonic state of anxiety. Oh, I am just loving this project. 

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Tent City

From the Adams Ave. overlook, seen across the canyon to the backside of Franciscan Way, a tented home hugs the hillside. In early Summer, My wife and I walked through the multi-level dwelling during one of its countless Open Houses over the course of many, many months. The overly-expansive layout, square-footage (3,860), and $1.7 million asking price were reasons for our disinterest—and perhaps many other people. There is a pending sale, as of the week before Christmas, for $1.55M, which explains the extermination rig.

Californians tent homes to fumigate, which is common practice before a new sale closes. Think of it as a temporary tent city for vermin, before insecticide snuffs them out. Funny thing, tent city also refers to where groups of the downtown homeless gather together. If neighborhood banter on the NextDoor social network is revealing, there are many University Heights residents who view indigents as vermin they would like to eliminate