Six names on six benches.

Around noon today I sat down, opened a book.

I’d taken a walk around Cardiff-by-the-Sea and had found a perfect shady bench in Glen Park.

Below in the distance people were darting about the basketball court shooting hoops. One person missed, madly whirled, lunged forward, fell back, reached, barely intercepted, passed, darted, jumped impossibly high, caught, shot again, swished, shouted happily.

Upon finishing a chapter, I got up and gathered my stuff. The bench I’d been sitting on had a plaque. “Gotta go, gotta ride.”

It felt like the perfect small poem.

I found six names on six empty benches.

Every word shined.

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!

Unsung hero is a bright light in City Heights!

Volunteers for a community clean-up gather in City Heights for the Global Day of Caring.
Volunteers for a community clean-up gather in City Heights for the Global Day of Caring.

I’m honored to know an unsung hero in City Heights. Carlos Quezada, co-founder of Love City Heights, has been named by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez an Unsung Hero for the 80th Assembly District!

Carlos has been working diligently for years to celebrate and revitalize the diverse east San Diego neighborhood of City Heights. He’s the driving force behind the “drive-through art gallery” on University Avenue between I-805 and I-15 that I’ve blogged about for a couple of years now.

Carlos has brought many great artists and muralists together with school students and community businesses and organizations to paint a picture in City Heights of a bright now and even brighter future. It’s amazing how one positive, energetic person can have a tremendous impact on their community!

And you know what true unselfishness is? I was going to take Carlos’ photo once and he modestly rebuffed my attempt. The only photograph of Carlos that I’ve posted until now is the one you see above. See the guy in the very back wearing a Love City Heights T-shirt? That’s him!

Congratulations to Carlos Quezada!

Yet another mural is being painted today, and I’m about to head out my door to see it!

UPDATE!

I finally got a photo of Carlos! That’s him on the left. To the right is Melody De Los Cobos, the Artistic Director of Love City Heights. She’s a super cool artist who is well known in the local arts community!

Carlos Quezada and Melody De Los Cobos of Love City Heights.
Carlos Quezada and Melody De Los Cobos of Love City Heights.

Street art at San Ysidro and Cottonwood.

Follow your heart.
Follow your heart.

Many electrical boxes have been painted with street art on San Ysidro Boulevard, just northwest of Cottonwood Road. It appeared during my Saturday walk that some of the boxes were painted long ago, and others this year.

I took photos. The art speaks for itself.

Mental health matters.
I am loved. Grow strong.

Aztec skull imagery.
Aztec skull imagery.

A people's spirit lives on.
A people’s spirit lives on.

Two doves.
Two doves.

You are better than unicorns and sparkles.
You are better than unicorns and sparkles.

Quédate en casa con un rico pan dulce y cafecito. (Stay home with a delicious sweet bread and coffee.)
Quédate en casa con un rico pan dulce y cafecito. (Stay home with a delicious sweet bread and coffee.)

Lady Liberty in a serape.
Lady Liberty in a serape.

Kindness matters, and fireworks or stars.
Kindness matters, and fireworks or stars.

Por tu salud. (For your health.) We love our community. Street art painted in San Ysidro during the coronavirus pandemic.
Por tu salud. (For your health.) We love our community. Street art painted in San Ysidro during the coronavirus pandemic.

Firefighters of Fire Station 29 in San Ysidro.
Firefighters of Fire Station 29 in San Ysidro.

A local firefighter at work.
A local firefighter at work.

Purple and lavender flowers.
Purple and lavender flowers.

Butterfly rises near a hot air balloon.
Butterfly rises near a hot air balloon.

Bicycle by a fruit tree, and a trolley in the background.
Bicycle by a fruit tree, and a trolley in the background.

Trolley windows full of passengers.
Trolley windows full of passengers.

Trolley driver emerges from a painted electrical box.
Trolley driver emerges from a painted electrical box.

A little land and a living. Un poco tierra y una vida.
A little land and a living. Un poco tierra y una vida.

Working the land.
Working the land.

A family on a sweeping, colorful landscape.
A family on a sweeping, colorful landscape.

Handfuls of good earth.
Handfuls of good earth.

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!

Messages of love, optimism in La Mesa.

Love is the solution.
Love is the solution.

This weekend I walked a little around La Mesa. I hadn’t been out that way since January of last year.

My heart was warmed to see many messages of love and optimism decorating the chain link fence surrounding property that was destroyed during the late May riot, which was fueled by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis that same month.

The community–mostly young people–produced idealistic artwork full of hope. I saw the heartfelt desire for equality, peace, understanding, and the end of racism. Love and kindness were in most of the messages.

The result of arson during a riot in La Mesa, California.
The result of arson during a riot in La Mesa, California.

Unity in the community.
Unity in the community.

Positive messages of love and equality on a fence in La Mesa.
Positive messages of love and equality on a fence in La Mesa.

Paintings donated by Pink Rose Cafe with support of the La Mesa community.
Paintings donated by Pink Rose Cafe with support of the La Mesa community.

Love sees no color. End racism.
Love sees no color. End racism.

Hopeful images painted by a young person.
Hopeful images painted by a young person.

We are all under the same sun.
We are all under the same sun.

All we need is love.
All we need is love.

Strong. Hope. Heartbeat. Heartfelt.
Strong. Hope. Heartbeat. Heartfelt.

A wise quote about improving the world from Dr. Seuss.
A wise quote about improving the world from Dr. Seuss.

Step into the daylight.
Step into the daylight.

Be positive.
Be positive.

Let us embrace all the colors.
Let us embrace all the colors.

Artwork along the fence represents the optimism of La Mesa residents.
Artwork along the fence represents the optimism of La Mesa residents.

Together friends.
Together friends.

La Mesa kids stand for change, unity, hope, love.
La Mesa kids stand for change, unity, hope, love.

There can be miracles when you believe. Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill.
There can be miracles when you believe. Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill.

What I'm looking for is not out there, it is in me.
What I’m looking for is not out there, it is in me.

Do justice. Walk humbly.
Do justice. Walk humbly.

We're in this together.
We’re in this together.

A hopeful vision.
A hopeful vision.

Fight for what's right.
Fight for what’s right.

Be kind.
Be kind.

More heartfelt sentiments along the fence.
More heartfelt sentiments along the fence.

Be you. Shine bright.
Be you. Shine bright.

Be the change.
Be the change.

Love and respect for your neighbor.
Love and respect for your neighbor.

We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.
We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.

Listen.
Listen.

Grow through what you go through.
Grow through what you go through.

Love one another.
Love one another.

Fine artwork full of humanity.
Fine artwork full of humanity.

Make the world a better place.
Make the world a better place.

Love wins.
Love wins.

Peace and love. Love will win.
Peace and love. Love will win.

When you focus on good, the good gets better.
When you focus on good, the good gets better.

Shine like stars.
Shine like stars.

Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr. Hate cannot drive out hate--only love can.
Wisdom from Martin Luther King, Jr. Hate cannot drive out hate–only love can.

Love not hate makes America great.
Love not hate makes America great.

Peace. Love. Hope.
Peace. Love. Hope.

Believe there is good.
Believe there is good.

Kindness is the sunshine in which everything and everyone can grow.
Kindness is the sunshine in which everything and everyone can grow.

Kindness matters.
Kindness matters.

All black lives matter.
All black lives matter.

The dove of peace.
The dove of peace.

Love. United we stand.
Love. United we stand.

Love grows here.
Love grows 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!

A few cute, humorous dog sightings!

Painted dogs peer from a painted window.
Painted dogs peer from a painted window.

Look what I sighted this morning downtown. Some cute, humorous dogs!

These three graphics that I walked past feature lovable pooches…

Love like Dog Love.
Love like Dog Love.

This is how we (puppies) roll.
This is how we (puppies) roll.

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!

The San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden.

Dr. Jim Knott helps to tend the beautiful San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden.
Dr. Jim Knott helps to tend the beautiful San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden.

There’s a garden in Balboa Park that very few people know about. I happened upon the garden today, and was told it’s called the San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden. You can find it inside the Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.

Some members of the Southern California Plumeria Society (known for their popular plant sales in Balboa Park) have created this garden and lovingly maintain it.

Dr. Jim Knott told me a little about the garden, and showed me three rows of plumerias bordering the outdoor horseshoe pits. I was told the first plumeria was planted in 2008. He’d like to see the garden flourish and assume greater prominence. It’s a wonderful project!

Next time you walk through the southwest corner of Balboa Park, and you pass the Balboa Park Horseshoe Club, look over the fence. You’ll see the San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden!

UPDATE!

I received a comment with additional information about the history of these plumerias:

“…My name is Robert Chubinsky, I put them there. I was President of Balboa Park Horseshoe Club for a while and planted them starting in 2012. I grew them on my patio in South Mission Beach. My patio was getting crowded, I had over 40 plants many too big for my patio and started planting them. It was my legacy to the park. All that was there before were weeds and dirt with no blocks. I had the outer bank built with the landscape blocks to give an outside border and filled it with dirt and planted the trees…”

Plumeria flowers are beloved by many.
Plumeria flowers are beloved by many.

Stones at the San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden remember loved ones.
Stones at the San Diego Memorial Plumeria Garden remember loved ones.

A small plumeria nursery at the Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.
A small plumeria nursery at the Balboa Park Horseshoe Club.

A labor of love.
A labor of love.

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!

Art on boarded up windows downtown.

Rise above.
Rise above.

Many windows are boarded up in downtown San Diego against the possibility of more looting and destruction. This moment in history is tumultuous, uncertain.

As I walked through the city this morning I noticed that many of the boards have been spray painted by street artists. I was happy to discover that most of the artwork conveys positive, powerful messages.

Celebrating life, renewal, love.

Butterflies take flight.
Butterflies take flight.

Peace in the heart.
Peace in the heart.

San Diego vida.
San Diego vida.

A flowery Volkswagen Hippie Van recalls the 1960's.
A flowery Volkswagen Hippie Van recalls the 1960’s.

Black is beautiful.
Black is beautiful.

Unity through inspiration.
Unity through inspiration.

A heart is possible with hands of all colors.
A heart is possible with hands of all colors.

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!

Letters Home: A fallen soldier and a memorial.

I’ve photographed many monuments that remember those who’ve fallen in war.

At the Veterans Memorial in Vista, California, the powerful monument to one particular soldier can easily bring you to tears.

Please look at the following images, read the two random letters that I photographed leading to the sculpture, then the plaque that describes the life and death of a young person who simply wanted to serve. Click those photos and they will enlarge for easier reading.

Veterans Memorial Park was created by the Pinamonti family to honor Ernie, son and brother, who was killed in the Vietnam War.

Sculpture at Veterans Memorial, by artist Rip Caswell, 2016.
Sculpture at Veterans Memorial, by artist Rip Caswell, 2016.

Dear Family, Today we are starting our first day of training...Mail call is the best part of the day and I really look forward to it...I miss everyone a great deal and I read the letters over and over. Sincerely, Ernie
Dear Family, Today we are starting our first day of training…Mail call is the best part of the day and I really look forward to it…I miss everyone a great deal and I read the letters over and over. Sincerely, Ernie

Dear Ernie...If there is anything you need, just ask and we will send it to you...Remember to write every couple days so I don't worry about you. Be good and take care of yourself. I miss you. Love, Mother
Dear Ernie…If there is anything you need, just ask and we will send it to you…Remember to write every couple days so I don’t worry about you. Be good and take care of yourself. I miss you. Love, Mother

Flag flies above Veterans Memorial Park in Vista, California.
Flag flies above Veterans Memorial Park in Vista, California.

On May 15, 1969, our family was forever changed by the knock on the front door that brought news that our 19 year old brother, Ernie, had died of wounds received while assisting a fellow soldier...
On May 15, 1969, our family was forever changed by the knock on the front door that brought news that our 19 year old brother, Ernie, had died of wounds received while assisting a fellow soldier…

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 photographs.

Love Locks many hearts together, forever.

In the city of Vista many hearts are locked together.

A double heart-shaped sculpture on Main Street titled Love Locks invites residents to permanently attach a padlock. Each lock symbolizes an unbreakable bond of love.

Love Locks was created by artists Rick Randall and Jaydon Sterling Randall in 2016.

People have added hundreds of unique locks to the two joined hearts.

Each lock has its own story.

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!

May love prevail.

This morning, as I walked through downtown to catch the trolley, I observed something near my feet.

I saw litter. I saw a raised fist. I saw the large words: ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.

May the latter message–the one that promotes love–prevail.