Sunday Stills: Furry Friends

My husband and I decided a while ago not to have any pets at this time of our lives. Although we love animals and enjoy their companionship, we also love the freedom of being able to pick up and go at a moment’s notice without worrying about arranging for their care. Fortunately, I am able to get my furry fixes in other ways from time to time.

We were maneuvering our shopping cart through the Costco parking lot when we happened upon this handsome boy. After peering into his soulful eyes, I was tempted to go back inside and buy him one of those mega-sized bags of dog food… or maybe several Costco hot dogs.

Carlos lets us take care of him while his “A-Team” staff is away. As long as we feed him regularly, provide fresh water, and scoop his poop, he allows a few cuddles and ear scratches. We are very happy to be of service.

Sunday Stills is a weekly photography link-up co-hosted by Terri Webster Schrandt on her blog Second Wind Leisure Perspectives. Each week there is a new word prompt to inspire a shared photo (or photos). Follow this link to learn more about it, see other submissions, and to share your own.

Sunday Stills: Aroma

Just about 90 miles south of Monterey and five miles north of Hearst Castle in San Simeon, is the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery. Along this 6-mile stretch of shoreline on California’s central coast, visitors can see these remarkable creatures in their natural habitat. From the viewing walkways above the sand, the elephant seals can be observed – depending on the time of year you visit – breeding, birthing, molting, fighting, and napping.

October – the month this picture was taken – marks the third population peak on the beach as the juvenile elephant seals arrive for the fall haul-out.

The Piedras Blancas Rookery is the only elephant seal rookery in the world that is easily accessible, free, and open to the public every day of the year. Whether you are driving north or south on Highway 1, the Rookery is a stop you’ll want to make. You will be rewarded with a lovely view of the coastline and the opportunity to see the elephant seals on the beach and in the water. And, if the breeze is blowing towards the shore just right… oh, the aroma.

Sunday Stills is a weekly photography link-up co-hosted by Terri Webster Schrandt on her blog Second Wind Leisure Perspectives. Each week there is a new word prompt to inspire a shared photo (or photos). Follow this link to learn more about it, see other submissions, and to share your own.

Thursday Doors: Las Puertas de Oaxaca, Dos

Again, as I did last Thursday, I am sharing a few of the doors we came across during our six-week slow travel trip we took to Oaxaca, Mexico a year ago.

Like the first group of doors, these are indicative of the joyful colors, expressive creativity, and welcoming spirit we experienced during our stay.

Yet another door that I’d love to open and see what’s inside.
Welcome… but, unfortunately, the gate was locked.
I loved the contrast of colors.
A favorite shade of teal.
Can I come inside?
Although the door isn’t very interesting, what surrounds it is.

Thursday Doors is a link-up of fellow door aficionados generously hosted by Norm Frampton. Head over to his blog and click on the rana azul (blue frog) to view all the amazing doors he and others have posted.

Sunday Stills: Recreational

The road down to Waipi’o Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii is steep. The 800 foot (243.84 m) vertical rise averages a 25% grade. At .6 miles (0.9 km) in length, it is the steepest road of its length in the United States. Because of the grade, only hikers and four-wheel drive vehicles are allowed on the road.

Although our shins ached after making the trek down to the bottom, we were rewarded with one of the most beautiful black sand beaches on the island. Waipi’o means curved water in Hawaiian and it’s easy to understand why the gently rounded coastline earned its name.

We found this beautiful outrigger canoe on the beach just waiting to be taken out for some recreational pleasure.

After exploring the shoreline and wandering a few trails that took us further into the valley, we began the slow, calve-challenging hike back up the hill to where we started. (This photo was taken several years ago. Waipi’o Valley is located on the northeast side of The Big Island. The current volcanic activity is located much further to the south.)

Sunday Stills is a weekly photography link-up co-hosted by my blogging friend Terri Webster Schrandt. Each week there is a new word prompt to inspire a shared photo (or photos). Follow this link to learn more about it, see other submissions, and to share your own.

Thursday Doors: Las Puertas de Oaxaca, Uno

One year ago this month, my husband and I began a six-week stay in Oaxaca, Mexico. Although I wrote about our trip when I returned (you can read about it here, here, and here), for some reason, I never got around to posting my pictures of the doors we encountered along the way. Recently, as I was going through the zillions of pictures I had in my files, I realized that I needed to remedy that. As you will see, Oaxaca has doors worth sharing, and it will take more than a single Thursday Doors to do that (which is why my title of this post is “uno”).

A door for giants.
Notice the pictures inside the house numbers.
This lovely door is the entrance to a home nestled into the arch of an aqueduct built in the mid-1700s.
Free form metal gate allows the breeze to come in.
Sometimes what surrounds the door is more interesting than the door itself.
Really a window but it goes with the door below.
I would have loved to see inside of this artist’s home.

Thursday Doors is a link-up of fellow door aficionados generously hosted by Norm Frampton. Head over to his blog and click on the rana azul (blue frog) to view all the amazing doors he and others have posted.

Thursday Doors: Santa Fe Train Depot

Anyone who has lived anywhere any length of time probably knows that feeling of sadness and loss when a beautiful but outdated structure is destroyed in the name of progress. The old building probably wasn’t up to modern codes and, often, the shiny new structure built in its place is bigger, taller, and capable of generating more tax dollars than the previous one.

Fortunately, though, sometimes a building is just too beautiful, too beloved, and has too much local historical significance to be touched by a wrecking ball. The Santa Fe Train Depot in downtown San Diego is such a structure. It is a jewel of a building surrounded by glass and steel high rises.

The structure draws heavily from the architecturally distinctive Spanish, Moorish, and Mexican styles.
The size and grandeur far surpassed anything the Santa Fe had ever built in the West.

The station was officially opened in 1915, to welcome visitors to the Panama-California Exposition. The Depot’s Spanish Colonial Revival architecture was the same style as was used for the buildings at the Exposition.

The massive arch of the front entrance is flanked by twin campaniles, each topped by a colorful tile-covered dome and displaying Santa Fe’s blue “cross” emblem on all four sides.
From the outside in.
From the inside out.
The grand interior space of the depot features natural redwood beam ceilings, highlighted by walls covered with a brightly colored ceramic tile wainscot.
All of the tiles were manufactured locally.
Your train is waiting.
Welcome to San Diego!
Doors within doors within doors.

Although the city lost its early battle to become the West Coast terminus of the Santa Fe Railway system’s transcontinental railroad to much larger Los Angeles, in its heyday, the facility handled Santa Fe train traffic and that of the San Diego and Arizona Railways. The Depot is still an active transportation center, providing not only train service but also service to the trolley and bus systems.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Oh, and speaking of structures being destroyed in the name of progress, the original train depot that had served San Diego for nearly three decades, was razed when the “modern” Santa Fe Depot opened for business. The old clock tower was pulled to the ground by a steel cable attached to two locomotives as part of the grand opening celebration on March 7, 1915.

Since the first National Train Day was held ten years ago today, on May 10, 2008, I thought it fitting to feature the Santa Fe Train Depot in my Thursday Doors post. To see other beautiful doors, choo-choo on over to Norm’s station and click on the ah-door-able blue frog.

GratiTuesday: A Glorious Day

A beautiful spring day, temperatures in the low 70s, a cloudless blue sky, four friends who have known each other since elementary school, and a -0.81 low tide making the beach wide and the tide pools inviting.

Dear friends and walking buddies.
Clown fish
Scripps Pier
Scripps Pier
Scripps Pier
Rocks exposed during low tide.
Looking south towards La Jolla Cove.

I am grateful for the beauty of this day and the company of dear friends.