Tag: Christmas

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Annie and the Snowman

Merry Christmas! My wife poses with an inflatable along Madison Avenue, between Georgia Street and Park Blvd, in our neighborhood. I photographed kitty nicknamed Alcatraz nearby the same spot 10 months ago; early March 2021, the black and white appeared in my “Cats of University Heights” series.

I left Leica Q2 at home and so used iPhone 13 Pro to take the Featured Image—first of four and best of the lot. Vitals: f/1.8, ISO 32, 1/328 sec, 13mm; 10:31 a.m. PST, today. As you can see, the snowman is quite large, and the smartphone’s wide-angle lens let me capture the inflatable and surrounding scene for context. We had heavy rain for the holiday. I’m dreaming of a wet Christmas…

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A Christmas Eve Reflection

The San Diego neighborhood where I live, University Heights, is a monument to secularism. The closest Jesus comes to being depicted or referenced anywhere is half his name in Christmas, prefaced by Merry, like on the, ah, Prideful trees that I wrote about two days ago.

So on this fateful Christmas Eve, I have no religious photos to share; no crosses, no nativities, nothing other than the stone snowman you may remember from two years ago. He made a 2020 appearance on the same property but brandishing a presidential political sign—and I did not approve. The fresh Featured Image comes from Leica Q2, two days ago. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/500 sec, 28mm; 1 p.m. PST.

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Who Approved This?

Last week, while walking along Panorama Drive, I passed by what seemed like the strangest holiday decoration: An inflatable, rainbow-colored Christmas tree. The next day, there were three. The day after, my wife and I walked over so that she could see. We found four more—not every one erect but all unmistakably identifiable even when deflated. This will be our fifteenth Christmas in this San Diego neighborhood, and I have never seen such signs like these.

As I opined on July 4th, about seeing more Pride flags than the Stars and Stripes, University Heights has undergone dramatic, observable changes since start of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns in mid-March 2020. New residents, many of them Northern California escapees, are everywhere. Their emigration contributes to soaring rents and skyrocketing home sale prices. The newcomers also bring different values that are commiserate with adjacent Hillcrest, which is known as a gay enclave. But Pride holiday trees, all on the same street?

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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.

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The Christmas House

A few years ago, when my daughter shared an apartment in Point Loma, Calif., I drove up Garrison on the way home from her neighborhood. Houses along the way decked out big time for Christmas, such that traffic snarled as drivers slowed to gawk, others searched for parking, and pedestrians admired the decorations. My wife and I visited the street this evening, previewing what’s expected to come. Only one house had spiffed up for the Holiday—and in unbelievably magnificent fashion. The Featured Image and three companions are but a glimpse of the fabulously adorned property.

I captured the set using Google Pixel 3 XL, which proved to be more than a low-light performer. It’s a charmer. I am rather surprised to see character and dimension in these quick snaps. I cropped all four 3:2 and straightened two, but did not otherwise edit. Vitals for the first: f/1.8, ISO 176, 1/24 sec, 4.4mm; 5:35 p.m. PST (about 55 minutes after sunset). 

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The Great Gift Mom Gave to Me

On this first Christmas without mom, who passed away nearly five months ago, there is little pause for reflection. Flu symptoms started on December 20; today is the first in five where fever dropped below 37.8 degrees Celsius (100 F); 38.9 C (102 F) was frequent. My core body temp tends to be below normal (36.1 C; 97 F), which (I hope) explains why low-grade fevers are so debilitating. I let the blog auto-post several entries to my “Cats of University Heights” series, which is one reason there are so many uninterrupted.

There is little sentimental about this December 25. My wife finally succumbed to the flu by Christmas Eve; we steered our daughter away from the quarantine household. She is in Northern California with a friend’s family, and looks like she feels out of place, too. We’re here, as is her bag of presents, and she celebrates without mom and dad but with the loss of two grandparents. My father-in-law passed away Jan. 11, 2017. He already was in desperate decline last Christmas Day; I can’t imagine the dire circumstance if Anne and I were this bedridden then, when he needed so much assistance.