Tuesday, December 24, 2013


The Christmas spirit is special in San Diego.   A big celebration known as December Nights is held in Balboa Park every year when the museums are free for a weekend, music is sung and played on several stages and in some of the museums and ethnic food is available everywhere.

Another weekend there are evening boat parades on both San Diego Bay and Mission Bay with sparkling lights and decorations.

Sea World is decked out in festive lights too. 

  Many churches have special holiday programs.  We enjoyed the presentation at the La Jolla Presbyterian church that included a small symphony, a large choral group, bell ringers and children choirs. The program included a  French Christmas  mass by Baroque composer Charpentier, Christmas anthems and carols.

   We also visited Coronado to see the holiday decorations at the Hotel Del Coronado and to watch the ice skaters at the hotel’s outdoor ice rink by the beach.  After an early French dinner at Chez Loma we went on to a holiday program at the Coronado Lutheran church that featured a mandolin orchestra. A friend plays the base with the 30 member group.  Some ethnic music was played along with many sing along carols.  Some authentic sleigh bells accompanied a few of the pieces.   
  The weather has been pleasant with mild temperatures, even reaching 70s on some days.  This time of the year we usually have some spectacular sunrises and sunsets.  This sunrise had some wispy clouds that reflected many colors.

Saturday, November 30, 2013


 The rest of my family went back to Atlanta to spend Thanksgiving with Betsy’s relatives so it was an opportunity to do something different for the holiday.  We found a great alternative was to enjoy the Thanksgiving buffet at the Catamaran Resort on Mission Bay.  The resort has a lush tropical atmosphere as one enters the lobby. The complex is located on a lovely stretch of beach on Mission Bay with boats and boards for water activities and plenty of tables and chairs for relaxing. 

We made reservations for the first seating at 12:30 to enjoy the food while it was fresh and plentiful.  There were many food stations filled with tasty, creative appetizers that included many kinds of seafood, a wide choice of salads, lots of meat entrees and side dishes along with a wonderful choice of desserts. This a popular event held in a large ballroom along with two nearby meeting rooms and well attended.

The view from our table .  

After the delicious meal we headed to the dock in front of the hotel where  we boarded one of their sternwheeler boats for a complimentary ride to sightsee around Mission Bay. It was a mostly sunny day with a few scattered clouds and a mild temperature.

Glass ceiling of the sternwheeler

 It was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon sitting on the top deck watching the scenery that included a few people sailing around the bay or paddling on boards.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


            The new downtown San Diego Public Library opened at 12:00 the day we were scheduled for a 12:05 tour.    We thought we could park in their basement parking lot about a half hour ahead of schedule but we were told it would not open until ll:55 so we parked across the street and      used the time to explore Petco Park baseball area and the Padres store.                                                                                                                                                              

                                                                                                                                                                        The extensive tour of the library included most of the 9 levels except for the 2 for the charter high school. 
  It was amazing to see what the library offers: book stacks at every level, computers, children’s area, teen area, art gallery, reading rooms, baseball research center, handicap area, & an auditorium. There are incredible views of the city from every direction. An outdoor cafĂ© will open soon.


                                        In 1986, the San Diego Chinese Historical Society formed to preserve and share Chinese and Chinese American history and culture. They rescued the Chinese Mission building built in 1927 that was designed by the nephew of famed local architect Irving Gill.  It was relocated and opening in 1996.  With many donations from supporters.  The director Alexander and his wife Agnes came from their office to talk with us for a while.  Alex worked with Ed when he donated some Ming bowls and vases to the museum. A second space across the street has a modern gallery for rotating exhibits, a library and a lecture hall. There is a third area for storage and conservation.
We had time to head up to Balboa Park. The Mingei museum had some new exhibits that were worth a stop.  One new exhibit featured chairs from many periods and cultures from simple stools to  mid-century modern styles by American and European designers. Another exhibit showed  metal works by C. Carl Jennings that included gates, headboards, chandeliers and free-standing sculpture.

We also stopped in at the Timkin art museum where they had a famous Gainsborough painting “A Peasant Smoking at a Cottage Door” on loan from UCLA’s Hammer Museum.  Gainsborough’s Cottage Door will be displayed together with Corot’s View of Volterra, painted 50 years apart, to demonstrate how landscape painting changed at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the We finished the day with dinner at China Max and later watched a DVD of Don Quixote (Don Quichotte), an opera by Massinet.
nineteenth centuries.