Free activities and help for San Diego seniors!

Look what I discovered today!

I was walking around Balboa Park, looking at an arts and crafts sale in the Casa del Prado courtyard, when I discovered some great information. If you’re in San Diego and at least 55 years old (or if you know someone who is) there are lots of activities and services available for seniors, and many are absolutely free!

A friendly gentleman with the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department told me all about it. The program is called AgeWell Services. You can visit the AgeWell Services website by clicking here.

AgeWell Services offers art classes, senior art shows, needle crafts, poetry parties, dance lessons, talent shows, craft sales and much more. There’s free tea, coffee, water, bingo and social opportunities in the Balboa Park Senior Lounge, and easy walks around Balboa Park. There are laugh hours and free movies. There are informative talks. There is even free assistance for those 60 years or older with a variety of legal issues such as wills and renter disputes!

There are senior activities at many City of San Diego Recreation Centers!

AgeWell Services also has occasional day trips to interesting places like the J. Paul Getty Museum, Big Bear, Catalina Island and Julian. I noticed these special trips are offered for a very reasonable fee.

If you’d like to see all of these activities and services that are available to San Diego seniors, you should subscribe to a newsletter that comes out every few months called The Scroll. The Scroll is packed with all the latest information, including a Calendar of Events.

To join the mailing list for The Scroll, or to learn more about AgeWell Services, simply call 619-525-8247.

Volunteers are also needed! Call 619-236-6905 if you’d like to volunteer!

Amazing exhibition of Japanese washi fiber art.

An amazing exhibition at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park just opened!

As I entered the garden’s Exhibit Hall this afternoon, I and other visitors were welcomed by the smile of accomplished Japanese fiber artist Maki Ishiwata. On display in the nearby glass cases were many of her stunning creations!

Take a look at these photos and you can see how exquisite this art is. Maki told me a little about her craft, and showed me briefly how she assembles washi–traditional Japanese handmade paper–into delicate, subtle pieces that resemble natural flowers and plants. I learned that some of the larger creations can take eight hours to complete.

According to the Japanese Friendship Garden’s website: “…like many crafts, washi is facing a decrease and disappearance of its makers. For washi culture to survive, greater appreciation for the durability, purity, beauty, and versatility of this paper is essential. Through Ishiwata’s art work, she hopes to be able to connect traditional washi and Japanese aesthetic sense to global context and provide a unique experience for people to see an amazing transformation of one sheet of paper through one person`s hands.”

In the following photographs you can see some of the materials that are used, and a poster describing the complex process used to make washi. Kozo (Paper Mulberry) is harvested, the bark is scraped, boiled, snow bleached, wind dried, then soaked and softened…

The beautiful calligraphy in one photo was produced by Maki’s grandmother. Another unusual photo includes a reflection from the glass display case of a tree outside the Exhibit Hall.

This fantastic exhibition at the Japanese Friendship Garden will continue through January 26, 2020.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Creativity at a museum helps to mend lives.

A wonderful new project is underway for the summer at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. To Do: A Mending Project can be enjoyed by the general public at MCASD’s downtown location in their Danah Fayman Gallery, right next to the America Plaza trolley station.

Artists Michelle Montjoy, Anna O’Cain, and Siobhán Arnold offer a unique workshop environment where people in the community can come together, talk, relax, create, and enjoy a tranquil safe space free of the many societal tensions and stresses in our contemporary world. With simple thread divisions are mended, and people feel whole once again.

As I walked into the gallery, the artists were sewing bags, and smiling and enjoying themselves thoroughly. They gave me a friendly welcome!

I poked my nose around and learned that To Do: A Mending Project has its own website, listing a wide range of activities that anyone can join through the summer. There’s the mending of clothes, knitting, poetry collage, yoga exercises, pasta making, a silent reading group, painting, and a whole lot more!

Check out all the activities by clicking here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Art from the Mingei at Central Library gallery!

Belly Warmer, 1973, sterling silver, leather, wood. Arline M. Fisch.
Belly Warmer, 1973, sterling silver, leather, wood. Arline M. Fisch.

While the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park undergoes it’s monumental renovation and expansion (read about that here), select pieces from their permanent collection are on display at the San Diego Central Library’s Art Gallery.

The title of this exhibition is Crafting Opportunity: Mid-Century Work from the Collection of Mingei International Museum. Head up to the Central Library’s 9th floor gallery and you’ll discover unique and experimental pieces by noted artists and craftsmen, many of whom are from the San Diego region. You’ll see beautiful ceramics, fashion, metalwork, furniture and a surprising variety of other objects. Some of these pieces, representing the post World War II designer-craftsman movement, are on public display for the very first time!

I walked to East Village early this afternoon to see for myself!

Make sure you check this exhibition out before it ends on July 28, 2019.

A look at the current exhibition in the San Diego Central Library's art gallery. Crafting Opportunity: Mid-Century Work from the Collection of Mingei International Museum.
A look at the current exhibition in the San Diego Central Library’s art gallery. Crafting Opportunity: Mid-Century Work from the Collection of Mingei International Museum.
Vase, c. 1959, glazed stoneware. Harrison McIntosh.
Vase, c. 1959, glazed stoneware. Harrison McIntosh.
Owl, c. 1960, glazed stoneware. Marg Loring.
Owl, c. 1960, glazed stoneware. Marg Loring.
Untitled, c. 1965, mosaic and enameling. Ellamarie Woolley.
Untitled, c. 1965, mosaic and enameling. Ellamarie Woolley.
Plate, 1979, stoneware, porcelain. Peter Voulkos, who was drawn to the Zen notion of looseness of form and unpredictability.
Plate, 1979, stoneware, porcelain. Peter Voulkos, who was drawn to the Zen notion of looseness of form and unpredictability.
Bowl, 1954, glazed earthenware. Laura Andreson.
Bowl, 1954, glazed earthenware. Laura Andreson.
The Superior Masculine Mind, date unknown, glazed stoneware. Beatrice Wood, whose work often contains a playful feminist angle.
The Superior Masculine Mind, date unknown, glazed stoneware. Beatrice Wood, whose work often contains a playful feminist angle.
Weed Pots, c. 1965, glazed stoneware. Wayne Chapman.
Weed Pots, c. 1965, glazed stoneware. Wayne Chapman.
"Happiness" Yardage, 1967, machine-woven, hand-screen printed linen and wool. Jack Lenor Larsen, whose signature pattern remained in production for decades.
“Happiness” Yardage, 1967, machine-woven, hand-screen printed linen and wool. Jack Lenor Larsen, whose signature pattern remained in production for decades.
LCW (Lounge Chair Wood), c. 1946, molded plywood. Charles and Ray Eames, who famously revolutionized industrial design by introducing molded plywood.
LCW (Lounge Chair Wood), c. 1946, molded plywood. Charles and Ray Eames, who famously revolutionized industrial design by introducing molded plywood.
Untitled, 1969, enamel on steel. Kay Whitcomb.
Untitled, 1969, enamel on steel. Kay Whitcomb.
House of Cards, c. 1960, printed paper. Charles and Ray Eames.
House of Cards, c. 1960, printed paper. Charles and Ray Eames.
Helmet, 1970-71, silver, leather, rosewood, moonstones, rabbit fur. Marcia Lewis.
Helmet, 1970-71, silver, leather, rosewood, moonstones, rabbit fur. Marcia Lewis.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of Manzanita Mountain Man Rendezvous!

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live as a mountain man? Trekking through the wilderness as a trapper or frontier explorer? Journeying through the untamed American West as a trader, prospector, scout or pioneer?

What would it be like to leave the comforts and routine obligations of a civilized life behind? To go where few had gone before, finding your own way over rugged mountains, across uncharted rivers, living on the land, camping beneath the stars?

Today I learned a little of what that was like. I drove an hour east of San Diego to Northcote Ranch to enjoy the 26th Annual Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous!

This modern reenactment of an historic Rocky Mountain rendezvous takes place in the beautiful countryside near Lake Morena. It attracts reenactors and visiting history buffs, school students and families from all around the Southwest. Every single participant I met was extremely friendly. They showed me and other visitors around with enthusiasm.

I observed many participants in period costumes camping in canvas tents and tepees across a broad field and among shady trees. Many of the campers create their own leather goods, jewelry and other Old West artifacts.

As I walked about, I listened to frontier music, visited a gunsmith, looked at the wares of different traders, and stepped inside a couple of the largest tepees. On several outdoor ranges I observed people throwing tomahawks, shooting arrows, even shooting authentic black powder muskets. I even enjoyed a good old hamburger and tater tots at The Hungry Dowg restaurant tent!

Other rendezvous activities, which happened to be idle during my visit today, include blacksmithing, candle making and woodworking. There is something intriguing everywhere one turns!

I photographed some of the informative signs, including one that concerns San Diego’s early history–particularly the 1820s to 1840s, when Fur Trade goods were sold to merchant ships that traveled around Cape Horn. Back then a wandering trapper would occasionally come into Old Town. Click those photos and they’ll enlarge for easy reading!

If you’ve never been to a mountain man rendezvous, make sure to put the Manzanita High Mountain Rendezvous on your calendar for next year. Kids absolutely love it.

This fantastic event is open to the general public and admission is free!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Cool discoveries at the Encinitas Street Fair!

There was a lot to see and do at the 36th Annual Encinitas Spring Street Fair!
There was much to see and do at the 36th Annual Encinitas Spring Street Fair!

This morning I rode the Coaster north to Encinitas. It’s the weekend of the big annual Encinitas Spring Street Fair!

Lots of food, art and entertainment could be found along many blocks of South Coast Highway 101. As I slowly walked along, I made a whole bunch of cool discoveries. It seemed I encountered new surprises every few steps!

Several tents featured art that I particularly liked. I also met some interesting people, found out about noteworthy community projects, and learned a tiny bit about the history of Encinitas.

(Click photos that contain information and they will expand for much easier reading.)

People fill several blocks of scenic Highway 101 and enjoy a fine April weekend at the Encinitas Spring Street Fair.
People fill several blocks of scenic Highway 101 and enjoy a fine April weekend at the Encinitas Spring Street Fair.
One of these artistic surfboards for sale has Encinitas written on it.
One of these artistic surfboards for sale has Encinitas written on it.
One of the guys at the City of Encinitas booth had a big smile!
One of the guys at the City of Encinitas booth had a smile!
I spotted a fun map of Encinitas in a shop window. It illustrates many landmarks and local businesses in this awesome beach city.
I spotted a fun map of Encinitas in a shop window. It illustrates many landmarks and local businesses in this awesome beach city.
A dog heads over to smell some locally grown flowers.
A dog heads over to smell some locally grown flowers.
Some sweet treats to eat, and another smile!
Some sweet treats to eat, and another smile!
More yummy food on the grill.
More yummy food on a grill.
The band Nathan & Jessie provide some sidewalk entertainment. Check out nathanandjessie.com
The local band Nathan & Jessie provide some sidewalk entertainment. Check out nathanandjessie.com
More fun stuff!
Some silly stuff!
Author Scott Sussman was autographing his fun kids books. His website is octopusinkpress.com. Weird the Beard sounds like several characters I know.
Author Scott Sussman was autographing his kids books. His website is octopusinkpress.com. Weird the Beard sounds like several characters I know.
Beautiful, translucent Scented Gem Candles in different fantastic shapes could be seen at the Gemtera table.
Beautiful, translucent Scented Gem Candles in different fantastic shapes could be seen at the Gemtera table.
Sea-themed artwork by Marea Baja.
Sea-themed artwork by Marea Baja. Check out mareabajadesigns.com
Her sea glass mosaics are created from surf tumbled sea glass collected on the beach!
Her sea glass mosaics are created from surf tumbled sea glass collected on the beach!
The yellow Old School Shave Ice school bus has arrived!
The yellow “Old School Shave Ice” school bus has arrived!
Someone rides their bike down Highway 101 past this beach sunset mural by @CloeHakakian
Someone walks their bike down Highway 101 past this beach sunset mural by @CloeHakakian
Encinitas artist Carla Funk had many fantastic pieces displayed at her table.
Encinitas artist Carla Funk had many fantastic pieces displayed at her table.
I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH
I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH
Carla Funk offers Art Camp in Encinitas, featuring classes in ceramics, painting and drawing. Her website is ArtTilesByCarla.com
Carla Funk offers Art Camp in Encinitas, featuring classes in ceramics, painting and drawing. Her website is ArtTilesByCarla.com
I spun the prize wheel of North Island Credit Union and won some sunscreen, which I promptly put on my nose.
I spun the prize wheel of North Island Credit Union and won some sunscreen, which I promptly put on my nose.
The San Diego County Fair had a table with these free fans. The theme in 2019 is the Wizard of Oz! It's gonna be OZsome!
The San Diego County Fair had a table with these free fans. The theme in 2019 is the Wizard of Oz! It’s gonna be OZsome!
Think Possible Apparel has unique screen-printed shirts with tiny positive phrases forming cool designs. Check out ThinkPossibleApparel.com
Think Possible Apparel has unique screen-printed shirts with tiny positive phrases forming cool designs. Check out ThinkPossibleApparel.com
Officers of the San Diego Sheriff's Department Senior Volunteer Patrol told me they need volunteers. You can serve your community and meet cool friends!
Officers of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department Senior Volunteer Patrol told me they need volunteers. You can serve your community and meet cool friends!
I'm greeted by a big smile beside a collection of books! Teri is of Top Reads Publishing, found at topreadspublishing.com
I’m greeted by a big smile above a collection of books! Teri is of Top Reads Publishing, found at topreadspublishing.com
These books are by authors around Southern California. If you're an author or reader, learn more at sandiego.readlocal.org
These books are by authors around Southern California. If you’re an author or reader, learn more at sandiego.readlocal.org
Here's some info concerning PWSD, Publishers and Writers San Diego.
Here’s some info concerning PWSD, Publishers and Writers of San Diego.
These nice folks from @kinndproject sell shirts with a golden message. 10 meals are donated for each item purchased. Visit their website kinndproject.com
These nice folks from @kinndproject sell shirts with a golden message. 10 meals are donated for each item purchased. Visit their website kinndproject.com
kindness is golden
kindness is golden
A vendor had this fun stuff at their table.
A vendor had this fun stuff at their table.
Some cool t-shirts.
Some cool t-shirts.
It's the Welcome Home Soldier Foundation. Help vets and get some salsa at whsfnow.org
It’s the Welcome Home Soldier Foundation. Help vets and get some salsa at whsfnow.org
These amazing rope animals were made by an outstanding artist in Thailand named Nong.
These amazing rope animals were made by an outstanding artist in Thailand named Nong.
The Encinitas Lions Club had a table at the Spring Festival.
The Encinitas Lions Club had a table at the Spring Festival.
Get a ticket for An American in Paris. Funds raised go toward a program that helps those who are blind learn to surf. Amazing!
Get a ticket for An American in Paris. Funds raised go toward a program that helps those who are blind learn to surf!
Here's my favorite of the festival. Pixie Village Cottages made from fallen logs by Dennis Patterson. Visit his website pixievillagecottages.com
Here’s my favorite of the festival. Pixie Village Cottages made from fallen logs by Dennis Patterson. Visit his website pixievillagecottages.com
Members of Team Paradox strike a pose!
Members of Team Paradox strike a pose!
Team Paradox is a group of local high school students who build robots. They compete with other high school teams around California, the United States and the world!
Team Paradox is a group of local high school students who build robots. They compete with other high school teams around California, the United States and the world!
Someone investigates displays at the Encinitas Historical Society tent.
Somebody investigates the fascinating displays at the Encinitas Historical Society’s tent.
I'm shown the Encinitas Historical Society's 1883 Schoolhouse on a shirt. The building overlooks the Pacific Ocean and today houses a museum.
I’m shown the Encinitas Historical Society’s 1883 Schoolhouse on a shirt. The building overlooks the Pacific Ocean and today houses a museum.
A poster details The 25th Annual Encinitas Heritage Tree Contest! The heritage tree was planted in 1952 above Moonlight Beach.
A poster details The 25th Annual Encinitas Heritage Tree Contest! The heritage tree was planted in 1952 above Moonlight Beach.
These historical photos are of old sites in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, just south of Encinitas.
These historical photos are of old sites in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, just south of Encinitas.
More historical photos of Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
More historical photos of Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
Ted White, The Song Peddler brought his cool bicycle piano contraption! Check out facebook.com/TedWhiteMusic
Ted White, The Song Peddler brought his cool bicycle piano contraption to the festival! Check out facebook.com/TedWhiteMusic

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Mingei’s museum gift shop at Liberty Station.

The Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park is currently undergoing a major renovation and expansion. Once completed, this world-class folk art, craft and design museum will be more amazing than ever!

You might recall a blog post from last year that featured the Mingei’s planned transformation. To see architectural renderings of what the Mingei will eventually look like, click here!

While construction is underway, Mingei’s gift shop and cafe are temporarily located at Liberty Station, in the historic Dick Laub NTC Command Center building. Step through the front entrance and you can’t miss it.

Today I meandered about Liberty Station with no definite destination in mind. I was pleased to happen upon the Mingei’s shop and meet the smiling lady behind the counter. She told me that Niki de Saint Phalle’s fun, kid-friendly Nikigator sculpture, which used to stand in front of the museum in Balboa Park, might be moved out from storage and placed right in front of the Command Center. How cool would that be?

Here are a few photos. The lobby of the Command Center not only features Cafe Mingei, but a collection of great art created by Liberty Station artists!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!