Holiday lights at the County Administration Building.

The evenings have been very pleasant lately, so I’ve taken many walks after dark.

Here are a few cheerful photos of the County Administration Building’s red and green holiday lights!

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 morning birds around the city.

Someone waits on a sidewalk among pigeons early one morning in downtown San Diego.
Someone waits on a sidewalk among pigeons, early one morning in downtown San Diego.

In the city of San Diego, the early bird catches the worm. And an early morning walker takes many photos!

One cool aspect of living in downtown San Diego is the proximity of various rivers, estuaries, bays and, of course, the Pacific Ocean. One meets a host of different aquatic birds, including ducks, gulls, herons, cormorants, least terns, and other graceful inhabitants of air and water.

Here are a few fun photos that have gathered in my computer.

One of many pigeons in the city.
One of many pigeons in the city.
Small birds on sunlit grass one morning along Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.
Small birds on sunlit grass one morning along Martin Luther King Jr. Promenade.
A black-crowned night heron perched atop the Pier Cafe.
A black-crowned night heron perched atop the Pier Cafe.
A seagull stands on Broadway Pier over San Diego Bay.
A seagull stands on Broadway Pier over San Diego Bay.
Strangely, a great blue heron stands in the southwest corner of Balboa Park one morning, watching people walk up a path.
Strangely, a great blue heron stands in the southwest corner of Balboa Park one morning, watching people walk up a path.
Ducks hang out by the pool in the San Diego Museum of Art's May S. Marcy Sculpture Court.
Ducks hang out by the pool in the San Diego Museum of Art’s May S. Marcy Sculpture Court.
A mother duck and two ducklings walk among leaves on the Our River mural in Mission Valley.
A mother duck and two ducklings walk among leaves on the Our River mural in Mission Valley.
Morning ducks near the Children's Park Fountain.
Morning ducks in Children’s Park downtown.
A morning walk past the Children's Park Fountain near many birds.
A morning walk past the Children’s Park Fountain near many birds.
Gulls enjoy a beautiful morning in the city.
Gulls enjoy another beautiful morning in the city.

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 Las Posadas Celebration in Old Town.

The Dickens Carolers sing during the annual Las Posadas event in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
The Dickens Carolers sing during the annual Las Posadas event in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

This afternoon I headed to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to experience the annual Las Posadas Celebration. There were many families in the park enjoying all sorts of holiday activities, gazing at beautiful decorations, and preparing to witness the reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter before the birth of Jesus.

Las Posadas is a Christmas tradition cherished by many Latinos and Spaniards. A candlelight procession after nightfall by members of the community symbolizes the Nativity. Angels and shepherds join along the way. Mary rides a live donkey. There is much joyful singing.

My camera is inadequate after dark. To see (and hear) tonight’s procession in Old Town, you’ll have to use your imagination.

The 67th Annual Las Posadas Celebration in Old Town celebrates rich holiday traditions. A candlelight procession after dark reenacted the journey of Mary and Joseph before the birth of Jesus.
The 67th Annual Las Posadas Celebration in Old Town celebrated a rich holiday tradition. A candlelight procession after dark reenacted the journey of Mary and Joseph in search of shelter before the birth of Jesus.
As evening approaches, paper bag luminaries containing candles are placed around the central Plaza de Las Armas.
As evening approaches, paper bag luminaries containing candles are placed around the central Plaza de las Armas.
A big festive Christmas tree stands near the plaza's center, beside the tall flagpole.
A big festive Christmas tree stands near the plaza’s center, beside the tall flagpole.
Looking out the front door of the Casa de Estudillo at Old Town San Diego's big Christmas tree.
Looking out the front door of the Casa de Estudillo at Old Town San Diego’s big Christmas tree.
A shiny star-like pinata hangs in front of the Colorado House.
A shiny star-like pinata hangs in front of the Colorado House. This is where the holiday celebration would reach its joyful climax.
Santa wishes everyone a Merry little Christmas inside Toby's Candle and Soap Shop.
Santa wishes everyone a Merry little Christmas inside Toby’s Candle and Soap Shop.
A colorful holiday wagon containing red poinsettias is parked outside Toby's Candle and Soap Shop.
A colorful holiday wagon containing red poinsettias is parked outside Toby’s Candle and Soap Shop.
Kids activities during Las Posadas included making Christmas tree ornaments.
Kids activities during Las Posadas included making Christmas tree ornaments.
This holiday wreath is decorated with spools of thread! It hangs on a door at Threads of the Past.
This holiday wreath is decorated with spools of thread! It hangs on a door at Threads of the Past.
A big wreath adds holiday cheer to the sunlit Seeley Stable Museum barn.
A big wreath adds holiday cheer to the sunlit Seeley Stable Museum barn.
As daylight wanes, families congregate around a campfire and roast marshmallows for s'mores.
As daylight wanes, families congregate around a campfire and roast marshmallows for s’mores.
A special holiday display inside the Robinson-Rose Visitor Center talks about Louis Rose, the first Jewish person to settle in San Diego.
A special display inside the Robinson-Rose Visitor Center describes the life of Louis Rose, the first Jewish person to settle in San Diego.
Reenacting a Hanukkah Candle Lighting Blessing inside the historic Robinson-Rose Visitor Center.
Reenacting a Hanukkah Candle Lighting Blessing inside the historic Robinson-Rose Visitor Center.

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!

Downtown visions and the passage of time.

A few dead leaves cling to branches that frame a new skyscraper in downtown San Diego.
A few dead leaves cling to branches that frame a new skyscraper.

The days pass by.

Memories gather . . . slowly fade.

Whenever I walk downtown, I see visions right and left of what is old and what is new. It’s often hard to remember how and when those visions first appeared.

I suppose the passage of time makes every walk a completely new adventure. Always new surprises, new mysteries, new beauty to discover.

Here are a few photos of my walk through downtown San Diego this morning.

Every time I walk near Seaport Village, my eyes pass different buskers and an ever-changing vision of art.
Every time I walk near Seaport Village, my eyes pass different buskers and an ever-changing gallery of art.
A beautiful feather and I meet for a moment.
A beautiful windblown feather and I meet for a moment.
Removing what is discarded and unwanted.
Removing what is discarded and unwanted.
A fountain near the entrance of San Diego's Old Police Headquarters, now a destination for shopping and dining. I visited the building decades ago in the 1980s. I suppose the fountain is original, but I cannot remember.
A fountain near the entrance of San Diego’s Old Police Headquarters, now a destination for shopping and dining. I visited this building decades ago. I suppose the fountain is original, but I cannot remember.
A colorful bird painted on a utility box near Pantoja Park seems just as alive as it was when I first saw it years ago.
A colorful bird painted on a utility box near Pantoja Park seems just as alive as when I first saw it years ago.
Dying leaves turn to the same color as new paint.
Dying leaves turn to the same color as new paint.
A sculpture titled Flame Flower stands in front of the Westin Gaslamp. Years ago, an obelisk once rose here--5 or 6 or 7 years ago. I can't remember exactly.
A sculpture titled Flame Flower stands in front of the Westin Gaslamp. Years ago an obelisk rose here–5 or 6 or 7 years ago. I can’t remember.
Old bricks of a Gaslamp building have been patched.
These bricks of a Gaslamp building appear to have been patched long ago.
A once fashionable and new car turns to rust.
A once fashionable car turns to rust.
Every so often entrances to the Gaslamp's subterranean clubs are painted with intriguing new artwork.
Every so often entrances to the Gaslamp’s subterranean clubs are painted with intriguing new artwork.
The building on Broadway that was home to Superfly West Tattoos is being demolished to make room for a new downtown high-rise condo development.
The building on Broadway that was home to Superfly West Tattoos is being demolished to make room for a new downtown high-rise condo development.
The front of the YWCA building on C Street has remained unchanged since its design in 1926. The ornate Spanish Colonial Revival architecture was made popular by the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
The front of the YWCA building on C Street has remained unchanged since its design in 1926. The ornate Spanish Colonial Revival architecture was made popular by the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park.
Shoveling weathered stones. Wheeling them about.
Shoveling weathered stones. Wheeling them about.
Another walk through the city as time moves forward.
Another walk through the city as time moves forward.

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!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Boy Scouts improve Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

Crew members of USS Theodore Roosevelt help Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson move logs in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Crew members of USS Theodore Roosevelt help Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson move logs in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.

Over the past year and a half, some amazing young men have been working to improve the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. These community-minded Boy Scouts, with the help of the San Diego Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, have undertaken projects in the historic grove in order to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.

You might remember the photos that I posted of the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. It’s tucked away in a corner of Florida Canyon, not far from Naval Medical Center San Diego and the Balboa Park Municipal Golf Course. The 66 live oak trees were planted in 1905 to memorialize 66 sailors killed on the USS Bennington on July 21st of that year. The gunboat’s boiler exploded while it was in San Diego Bay, and many men tragically perished.

The efforts of these hardworking Boy Scouts have added beauty, safety and memory to the old oak grove. Four have successfully become Eagle Scouts. They are Joshua Ortega, Sam Kinsey, Frederick Persons and Erik Ortlieb. The projects of two other young men are now underway. Those Scouts are Maxwell Thomson and Preston Buljat.

Most of these photographs have been contributed by local historian Kathleen Winchester. She and other members of the DAR’s San Diego Chapter have been instrumental in providing coordination and encouragement as the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove is improved. Please read the photo captions to appreciate the unselfish work of these young men.

I have learned the grove’s kiosk will eventually contain the names of those who perished aboard the USS Bennington. And very soon a flagpole will be raised in the grove-the project of Preston Buljat.

In 2014, the San Diego Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution partnered with the San Diego Park and Recreation Department and the Friends of Balboa Park as part of the latter’s “Adopt-A-Plot” program and adopted the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.

The local DAR intends to purchase more oak trees to replace dead ones. If anyone wants to help with this worthy endeavor, contact the San Diego Chapter of DAR. All contributed funds will go straight to the purchase of trees.

As you can see in a few of the photos, U.S. Navy sailors from the San Diego homeported aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt have also lent a hand. Their involvement is especially meaningful as Teddy Roosevelt was the President of the United States in 1905 when the USS Bennington disaster occured. President Roosevelt was a conservationist who would have loved this shady grove of majestic oaks.

The sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt, by helping to beautify the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove, honored their fellow seamen from an earlier time.

The USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park has been improved by some amazing young men working to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout.
The USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park has been improved by some amazing young men working to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
The oak grove's entrance sign is an Eagle Project undertaken by Erik Ortlieb of Boy Scout Troop 4 in La Jolla.
The oak grove’s entrance sign is an Eagle Project undertaken by Erik Ortlieb of Boy Scout Troop 4 in La Jolla.
Erik Ortlieb poses with Kathleen Winchester of the DAR by the sign he built on October 16, 2016. It welcomes visitors into the beautiful old oak grove.
Erik Ortlieb poses with Kathleen Winchester of the DAR by a post of the wooden sign he built on October 16, 2016. The sign welcomes visitors into the beautiful old oak grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Boy Scout Sam Kinsey works on the trail that leads into the historic USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park.
Boy Scout Sam Kinsey works on the trail that leads into the historic USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove in Balboa Park. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Boy Scout Joshua Ortega finished a footbridge in the grove just days before his 18th birthday. He is now attending Pepperdine University.
Boy Scout Joshua Ortega finished a footbridge in the grove just days before his 18th birthday. He is now attending Pepperdine University. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Plaque on the bridge reads Eagle Scout Project - Joshua R. Ortega - Troop 299 - June 2016.
Plaque on the bridge reads Eagle Scout Project – Joshua R. Ortega – Troop 299 – June 2016.
Boy Scout Frederick Persons poses in front of the new kiosk he built. Around him are volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 295.
Boy Scout Frederick Persons poses in front of the new kiosk he built. Around him are volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 295. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Crew members of San Diego aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt lend a helping hand by rolling logs that will border a path though the grove.
Crew members of San Diego aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt lend a helping hand by rolling logs that will border a path though the grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson and U.S. Navy sailors roll logs into place in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove.
Boy Scout Maxwell Thomson and U.S. Navy sailors roll logs into place in the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
Maxwell Thomson poses with friends among logs which now mark the trail through the revitalized USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove!
Maxwell Thomson poses with friends among logs which now mark the trail through the USS Bennington Memorial Oak Grove. Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.
15-year-old Maxwell Thomson takes a short break as DAR San Diego Chapter members cheer him on!
15-year-old Maxwell Thomson takes a short break as DAR San Diego Chapter members cheer him on! Photo courtesy Kathleen Winchester.

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!

Mormon Battalion Commemoration coming in January!

The annual Mormon Battalion Commemoration Day is coming to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park on January 27, 2018.

Anyone interested in the long march of the Mormon Battalion from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego and their important contributions to our city’s early history should put the event on their calendar!

I’ve been informed by the commemoration day organizer that entertainment will include a Native American dance group featuring drums and singers, some colorful ballet folklorico dancers, and an old time fiddler’s group!

To get a taste of the many interesting things you might see, view photos of past Mormon Battalion Commemoration Days here and here!

I recently finished writing a short story about generosity and the true spirit of Christmas. To read it, click here!

Star of India’s magical holiday lights at night.

Star of India is lit brightly at night for the holidays in San Diego.
Star of India is lit brightly at night for the holiday season.

San Diego’s beautiful, historic tall ship Star of India is decorated for the holidays with hundreds of magical lights. They were strung along masts, yards and rigging a couple weekends ago.

Tonight I visited the Maritime Museum of San Diego and walked around their many amazing ships after nightfall. As I stood atop the museum’s Soviet B-39 submarine, I photographed Star of India’s holiday lights reflecting on the bay.

Photo of Maritime Museum of San Diego's famous Star of India, with magical holiday lights strung along masts, yards and rigging.
Photo of Maritime Museum of San Diego’s famous Star of India, with magical holiday lights strung along masts, yards and rigging.
The reflection of downtown windows and Star of India's holiday lights creates a fantastic sight after nightfall on San Diego Bay.
The reflection of downtown windows and Star of India’s holiday lights creates a fantastic sight after nightfall on San Diego Bay.

Here are some more photos taken on a later night…

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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!