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January 30, 2024

Not the week we expected …

The week started just fine.  I collected the last harvest of the Macadamia Nuts.

Then the fun part of shelling, while sitting outside on a nice sunny day.

Fran quickly turned some into a yummy Macadamia Nut cake.

Since the oven was already hot, Fran also used up the last of our loquats to make a yummy crumble.

Saturday was another beautiful day.  We decided to ride our bikes from Liberty Station to Lane Field for the weekend market.

The market takes place every weekend and is basically a food truck gathering:

And a few vendors:

 along with some live music.

We enjoyed the music and selected teriyaki shrimp to share across the street on the Malecon.

And that's when the phone rang…

Fran’s brother Bobby fell, the clinic in San Felipe diagnosed a broken hip.

Medicare insurance is not valid outside of the US, he was transported by Red Cross ambulance to a hospital in Calexico ... You can bet that was expensive!

And then on to San Diego’s UC Medical Center in Hillcrest.

Fran and Aleida chatting in the Intensive Care Unit waiting room.  

From the staff in the ICU we learned it was a fractured femur not a broken hip.  They placed and secured a rod that evening. 

EKG just completed

Looks like he’ll be our house guest for a few days starting tomorrow. 

Fran's sister had this same surgery last month, giving us a idea what the recovery will be like.

January 20, 2024

Gophers!, a visit to Civita Park

There’s a saying “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.”  But what if the mole has already made the mountain?

Lowes in Mission Valley carries the little ‘dynamite’ stick as seen in Caddy Shack.  They look like explosives, but are really gas bombs.

Not far from Lowes is Civita Park.  The final phase of the Park was completed in late 2022.  I’ve never been and it’s Saturday, which means the Mission Valley Farmer’s Market is being hosted there every Saturday morning.

Civita is from the Latin meaning a gathering place, village, etc.  And surrounded by high rise condos this is indeed a favorite gathering place.

The Farmers Market is well attended, with fresh bread:

Fresh veggies:

and food trucks:

A mac-n-cheese taco ??? Why not ...

Long time visitors might remember this area as a sand and gravel quarry.

The quarry was run by the Grant family for over 70 years.  The sand and gravel to build Petco Park was mined here.

The park encompasses 14 acres and is open for day use free of charge.  It is dog friendly and ADA accessible.

Summer concerts are held at the amphitheater.

There are two trails that lead upward to the Magic Tunnel.  The east trail is paved.  It begins just past one of several outdoor living rooms.

The first bunny on the way up is resting on the sofa with his favorite kitty.

Passing the Green.  A large open area for lawn sports.

The paved trail continues to ascend past playgrounds, basketball courts


it then passes through a succulent garden, winged garden and a scent garden.  Each garden has its own unique features.


I continued up to the base of the staircase. 

The stairs parallel Civita Creek, which will have some water after a rain.  Today it was a dry waterfall and rock path.

The platform at the top of the stairs provides a nice view of the park, but it sure could use a bench to rest my creaky knees!

The Magic Tunnel is a mural history of San Diego.

Balboa Park, Zoo, Mission, Tony Gwynn
Sports - golf, bike, ride, hike
Big Bay - Star of India, Hotel Del, Point Loma

The magic is its ability to create an echo of the softest sounds.  Pretty cool and worth the effort to climb those 120 steps to the top.

While going up I saw a few bunnies on the rocks, coming down there were many more.

I think I did the trail in the right direction, as it was not until I returned that I learned the story of the bunnies.

The bunnies are explained in the book behind.

Finding Home

Once upon a time there were two little bunnies named Franklin and Alta.  They were looking for the magic stone that had once covered their little doorway for so long.

You see, the very special, very magical Civita Stone had always led them home safely.  However it had been captured by the raging river and lost in the rapids of the river.  The stone had been tossed up and around and down and about until our friend Franklin and his sweet Alta no longer knew where to find home.

They would have to search for the Civita Stone and the touch of the stone would lead themto their little doorway and a special place along the river once more.

So, if the sky is blue and wind blows fair AND you believe in magic, search for the Civita Stone and know that once you touch it, you too have found home.”


January 15, 2024

The Marston House with Gay and Joe

Fran’s  Gal-Pal Kathy is a docent at the Marston House in the north east corner of Balboa Park.

She was going to be leading tours on Sunday and we asked Gay and Joe if they’d like to join us.  A very enthusiastic Gay quickly replied YES!  (I bet Joe didn’t even get a vote :))

Our first outing with Gay and Joe was in Persidio Park, January 2017.  And they’ve become very good friends indeed!

The original Presidio land was purchased by George Marston.  The land became Presidio Park and the Sera Museum was built by Marston.  The park land and museum were donated to the city of San Diego.

My blog can be found HERE.
And Gay’s blog HERE.

Although we were acquainted with the Marston name, this would be our first time inside the Marston home.  We met Kathy in front of the Carriage House for the short walk to the main residence.

Kathy unlocked the front door and we were inside foyer with its long hallway lighted by windows.  The wainscotting and floorboards were all heart redwood.  Beautiful long planks of pure heart redwood.

The library was the first room we visited.

There are three Tiffany Lamps in the home.  This one on George Marston’s desk shines on the San Diego Union Newspaper headlining the donation by John Spreckles of the ‘Organ’ Pavilion donated for the 1915 Exposition.

The furnishings are mostly donated items from SOHO (Save Our Heritage Organization), which maintains the house.

The music room originally had a grand piano.  SOHO donations include an upright piano with lamps to assist in reading the music.  His wife was a classical pianist, but George liked to play Boogie Woogie.

George Marston was instrumental in acquiring land for the Anza Borrego State Park.  The picture next to this Tiffany Lamp is well know by many who have visited Borrego Springs.

In this dining room George Marston discussed plans for the 1915 Exposition.  His wife Martha hosted Sunday dinners with guests including President Theodore Roosevelt.

Meals were plated in the butlers pantry, then served in the dining room.

The countertops in the pantry are cut to curve around the sink, beveled to drain into the sink and hinged to allow easy access to items on the top shelf below.

The woodworker in Joe paid acute attention to the details.  May inspire a new project.

The everyday dishes

and the fancy ones

Meals were prepared in the butler's kitchen.

Our docent Kathy explaining to Fran and Gay the Marston Legacy.

of Progress and Preservation

… And if 500 years from now someone should wish to know of George Marston he'd only need to go to San Diego and look about … ~ Charles C. Haines

The third Tiffany lamp is upstairs in sitting room.

Family photos adorn one room on the second floor.

The photo in the bottom center is George Marston, at age 91, ice skating at Glacier Gardens when it opened.

Annually Marston would have Lilacs brought from Julian and placed in his department store and home.

So how did Marston come across his money?  He developed a department store into a dynasty that dominated San Diego for over 80 years.  The building still stands on the corner of F Street and 4th Ave.

Marston paid a ‘living wage’ to all his employees.  Women and men had equal pay for equal work.  Many stayed with the store for decades.

Marston commissioned this whimsical map of San Diego in 1928.  Only 2000 were made.

Gay commented it would make a great jigsaw puzzle.  Val is another of Fran’s Gal-Pals.  Val's bridge partner is Jimmy Carter … Not the president, but the owner of a Mexican Cafe a short walk from the Marston House.

I didn’t take any pictures inside, but Gay did!

You’ll find  them at: Good-Times-Rollin

and lots more good information.