Tag: California Living

Read More

I Wonder How Much is the Pet Rent for THAT

About a month ago, I spotted a porker outside of a cottage apartment that my wife and I briefly considered renting sometime last year. While charming, with excellent windows, and lower monthly obligation than our current place, the one-bedroom flat came up short on living space; we wanted a little more square footage, not lots less. How then is it big enough for the current residents, which I guess includes the pig?

Then there is the question of pet rent, which already is an abomination applied to cats and dogs—and it’s too common a fee here in San Diego. Consider BLVD North Park, which actually is located in University Heights: Prospective tenants pay a $400 deposit for their animals and $50 additional monthly rent for each one. The fifty, even one-hundred, is typical for places demanding the fee—and so is $500 for deposit, which may not be refundable. Landlords could as reasonably pump a pint of blood from each resident, every 14 days, for the plasma. The vampires.

Read More

When Pandemic Closes the Gym, Try This

The weather is unseasonably warm this week, here in San Diego. Temperature reached 26 degrees Celsius (about 80 F) this afternoon. I set out for a morning walk, when cooler, and surprisingly found what is the Featured Image. We all may be ordered to “shelter-in-place” and to “social distance“, but people still go outdoors—and exercise is all the more important to folks whose gym routines are upended by closure of most businesses.

The make-shift “fitness circuit” is wonderful remedy for anyone looking to maintain a physical exertion routine or to use the lockdown as opportunity to improve health through increased activity. Sunlight is an excellent source of Vitamin D, which offers several health benefits—improved immunity is one of them. That could assist the body’s fight against the ravages of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—aka COVID-19.

Read More

From Fallen Flowers the Taco Truck Rises

The Taco Truck is a daily fixture, typically gathering a constant line of customers nearly all day long, at the corner of Meade and Texas in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. But after California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order on March 19, 2020, the food service operation vanished—for more than three weeks. I wondered why given that eateries offering delivery or take-out were permitted to stay open. What’s not take-away about a food truck serving burritos and tacos?

A few days before April 12, when I shot the Featured Image, the Mexican meals-on-wheels reappeared, but without standing tables alongside for customers and with a whiteboard upon which was scribbled a phone number to place orders to be picked up at the window. I suppose selling something is better than nothing, despite the stolen ambience and charm that made the place popular plus—that is festive and social, and, of course, good eating.

Read More

San Diego Snowman Dresses Up

What a difference that three weeks make. On Dec. 1, 2019, I shared “San Diego Snowman” adorning a home along Maryland Street, here in the community of University Heights. Since, my walking path deliberately passed by, as I looked for something to return: His black hat that I recall topping his rock-for-brains head before heavy rains pelted Southern California and presumably washed it away. I hadn’t mentioned his missing adornment for concern it was imagined; a false memory.

But look at him now! Stoneman is dapper wearing the topper, scarf, and something else: Smile replacing frown. He’s happier perhaps for Christmas being three days away. I am overjoyed to snag a portrait of his fine wear before rains return, starting overnight.

Read More

Once a Mighty Palm

Strange story the stump tells. Gone is the magnificent palm tree that dominated the corner of Monroe and Cleveland, nearby the Wilcox’s old apartment, in our San Diego neighborhood. This morning, while driving by, on my way to North County, I saw a tree cutter toss down the last frond before lopping off the top. Late afternoon, walking back, the devastation confronted me.

I haven’t written much about this tree over the years, but fleeting mentions are significant enough: “Fallen Fronds” (December 2017) and “Bell” (November 2016) from my “Cats of University Heights” series, where the kitty sits by the palm trunk that is now a stump.

Read More

Hey, Let’s Throw Some Dirt Bikes in Back and Go Ridin’

For about a week last month, I passed by this truck parked on the adjacent street from our apartment. San Diego has a 72-hour limit for staying in one location, and the day I captured the Featured Image, the city’s parking patrol had placed a pink warning notice on the windshield. Since, the vehicle is off-street outside a nearby apartment building.

Vintage vehicles are quite common in Southern California, which sunny climate extends their potential lifespans compared to states like, say, Maine or Virginia, where harsh humidity or precipitation are aging elements. Consider this other long-lifer, a Rambler remembered with kitty Nelson from my “Cats of University Heights” series in December 2017. Months later, someone placed a “for sale” sign in the rear window. In another universe, an alternate version of me bought that classic.

Read More

Be Blue, Buggy

There is something oh-so-stereotypical about 1960s-70s Volkswagens and Southern California. For sure, vintage VWs are commonly sighted, and weather is one reason. With so much sun and so little rain to accommodate them, Cal cars […]

Read More

Affordable Housing?

Oh the lies they tell to sell. San Diego is in the midst of a so-called affordable housing crisis, for which the poorly urban-planned cure eases zoning laws to increase population density among some neighborhoods. Funny thing, circumstances convince me that developers and politicians define “affordable housing” differently than do I or other residents. Rather than lower the entry point to rent, many newer properties raise it such that by comparison the already high monthly that I, or others, pay suddenly seems more affordable. Ah, yeah.

Consider, as example, the soon-to-open Blvd North Park, which takes up the block between Alabama and Florida on El Cajon. The complex is a wonder of marketing myths—ah, lies. As you can see from the Featured Image, which shows the leasing booth and building behind, the structure is very much under construction. Yet the leasing manger told me two weeks ago that the place would open—meaning be ready for tenants—on September 1. That’s the first lie; okay, a presumed one. The second is indisputable.

Read More

Say, Sunflower?

The rainy season may be (mostly) over, but the full flowering super bloom sweeping Southern California is everywhere. How about them lilacs down the street? Or this sunflower rising from a nearby construction zone? Road crews have worked that sidewalk and street all Winter, seemingly. It’s amazing there is soil enough to grow anything, let alone something so sudden and big. But, hey, the small patch of dirt sits at the bottom of an incline, where water (lots of it) flows fast and the right elements were just right.

By the way: Seems like nothing sprouting out of the earth can grow fast enough, this Spring. We are overtaken by plants not just thick and lush but towering upward. The newspapers prattle on about the super bloom, but I am awed by the super sizes of every green leaf thing. Gardeners and landscapers are overworked—and with the President tightening up border crossings, I can’t imagine there are enough (illegal) immigrant workers to whack weeds and mow the grass. Oh, and for the record, California has officially cancelled the drought. Too much of a good thing is…

Read More

Boatload of Trouble

Since starting the “Cats in University Heights” series in October 2016, no one has objected to my photographing their animals—until today. In fact, some neighbors have asked me to include their pets. The story: As I approached the multi-family dwelling where Blue and Valentine—both nicknames—reside, a skinny and frisky shorthair walked down the sidewalk alongside a nearby open-fenced yard. As I approached, the putty-tat retreated to the grass. From there, another feline moved my way, and I started clicking the shutter of Fujifilm GFX 50R, with attached Fujinon GF63mmF2.8 R WR lens.

“Why are you taking pictures of my cats?” a woman calmly, but firmly, asked from behind a home’s security door. She didn’t step out onto the porch, and I couldn’t see her even while looking straight on from the sidewalk. I explained about my photographic project that started two-and-a-half years ago. My demeanour was friendly then, and when asking the name of the kitty whose portraits I had just taken. Gaping silence followed. “It’s okay, you don’t have to tell me”, I interjected, trying to diffuse any tension.