Fill the Boot in San Diego to help burn victims!

At corner of Ash and Front Street, a San Diego firefighter volunteers to collect donations to assist burn victims.
At the corner of Ash and Front Street, a San Diego firefighter volunteers to collect donations to assist burn victims.

If you’re driving about San Diego County today and you see a fireman standing at an intersection holding up a boot, throw lots of money in!

Today a small army of San Diego firefighters are volunteering to collect donations for the Burn Institute. The Burn Institute’s mission is to help the victims of severe burns recover from a devastating and very difficult situation. The organization has a strong focus on children. Be generous!

Television reporter and firemen spread the word about today's Fill the Boot campaign throughout San Diego.
Television reporter and firemen spread the word about today’s Fill the Boot campaign throughout San Diego.
Fill the Boot to help the Burn Institute and children who've suffered from critical burns.
Fill the Boot generously to help the Burn Institute help children who’ve suffered from critical burns.

Art Deco car, train, ship and plane on Post Office.

Art Deco relief work shows female above propellers of airplane.
Art Deco relief work shows female flying above propellers of airplane.

“Through science and the toil of patient men, the nation’s thought traverses land and air and sea.” Those are the words inscribed along the top of downtown San Diego’s Post Office, on E Street between 8th and 9th Avenue. Beneath the words are nine terra-cotta panels created by Archibald Garner in 1937. The Art Deco images include a car, train, ship and airplane, the means by which mail has been delivered over many decades, transmitting the written word across the nation and around the world.

Titled “Transportation of the Mail,” Garner’s handsome panels were the result of a Department of Treasury competition. Like most Post Office public art created during the New Deal, the work was funded through the Treasury Department’s Section of Painting and Sculpture, also known as The Section of Fine Arts. The post office itself was built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and stands across the street from the now closed old Central Library. You can see a few interesting photos of the library here.

View of San Diego's downtown Post Office from Ninth Avenue.
View of San Diego’s downtown Post Office from Ninth Avenue.
Ship cuts through ocean waves on its way to deliver the mail.
Steamship cuts through ocean waves on its way to deliver the mail.
Distinctive Art Deco train can be seen near roof of San Diego's old Post Office.
Distinctive Art Deco train can be seen near roof of San Diego’s old Post Office.
Historically interesting panels, which appear at the top of high windows.
Historically interesting panels, which appear at the top of high windows.
Classic automobile in Art Deco artwork in downtown San Diego.
Classic automobile in Art Deco public artwork in downtown San Diego.

Chargers fans rally for new San Diego stadium.

Thousands of Chargers fans head toward Qualcomm Stadium for a special public hearing.
Thousands of Chargers fans head toward the entrance of Qualcomm Stadium for a special public hearing.

Many San Diegans are passionate about their Chargers. The very real possibility that the much-loved NFL team might leave our city has energized the loyal fan base.

This evening a big rally and special public hearing concerning the possible construction of a new stadium in San Diego took place at venerable but decaying (almost half a century old) Qualcomm Stadium.

I work in Mission Valley very close to The Q, so after I clocked out I headed over to check out what was going on in the parking lot. Loads of fans turned out–thousands! Some arrived early and tailgated as if it were a Sunday football game.

Here are some colorful pics before it got dark outside!

Social media driven Save Our Bolts rally attracted a huge crowd of diehard fans.
Social media driven Save Our Bolts rally attracted a huge crowd of diehard fans.
Rapper helped the passionate crowd chant Save Our Bolts for multiple live news cameras.
Rapper led passionate crowd chanting Save Our Bolts for many live news cameras.
Legions of local football fans waved banners of blue and gold.
Legions of local football fans waved banners of blue and gold.
Handmade signs express hope that Chargers football remains in San Diego.
Handmade signs express hope that Chargers football remains in San Diego.
These mega fans were proudly displaying a unique, patriotic Chargers flag.
These mega fans were proudly displaying a unique, patriotic Chargers flag.
Check out this super cool Chargers custom pickup truck!
Check out this super cool Chargers custom pickup truck!
A long line of people waited to enter Qualcomm Stadium to attend or watch the public hearing.
A long line of people waited to enter Qualcomm Stadium to attend or watch the public hearing.
Lots of kids were excited to be part of the big event.
Lots of kids were excited to be part of the big event.
Many fans, once inside, would observe the proceedings on the old stadium's Jumbotron.
Many fans, with hearts full of hope, would observe the proceedings on the old stadium’s Jumbotron.
Ladies thank Mayor Faulconer for expediting the process to hopefully keep our much-loved NFL team in San Diego.
Ladies thank Mayor Faulconer for expediting the process to hopefully keep our much-loved NFL team in San Diego.

Cherry blossoms at Japanese Friendship Garden.

Beautiful cherry blossoms have opened at the Japanese Friendship Garden!
Beautiful cherry blossoms have opened at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

Because a big storm is on its way into Southern California, I got my weekend walk in this morning. I didn’t want to venture too far and get caught in the rain, so I decided to head up to Balboa Park to check out the cherry blossoms at the Japanese Friendship Garden!

Next weekend is the big, super popular Cherry Blossom Festival. I don’t like crowds generally, so my small adventure today was just perfect! Relatively few people were visiting the quiet Friendship Garden. I guess other folks, like me, were worried about getting caught in a chilly shower. Turns out most of my walk was in sunshine!

Not long ago the Japanese Friendship Garden occupied just a small narrow spot in Balboa Park, and visitors could see and enjoy everything with a very short visit. No longer! The spectacular expansion into the canyon and additional coming expansions promise to make this a truly world-class garden.

In addition to traditional Japanese garden features and the cherry blossoms, one can walk among many beautiful trees and down shady hillsides of flowers, which include azaleas, camellias and hydrangeas. Anyone with an interest in gardening must go see this incredible place!

A shout out to the friendly folks at the garden!

View of the Japanese Friendship Garden expansion in Balboa Park canyon.
View of the Japanese Friendship Garden expansion in Balboa Park canyon.

The above pic was taken from a viewing deck between the House of Hospitality and the Tea Pavilion. We’ll be heading down there in a bit!

Sign near entrance explains history of the garden. In 1915 a Japanese tea house was built at another location in Balboa Park for the Panama-California Exposition.
Sign near entrance explains history of the garden. In 1915 a Japanese tea house was built at another location in Balboa Park for the Panama-California Exposition.
Today's Japanese Tea Pavilion is next to the Friendship Garden and offers many choices of tea and great food.
Today’s Japanese Tea Pavilion is next to the Friendship Garden and offers many choices of tea and great food.

If you’ve ever been to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, you’ve surely seen the Japanese Tea Pavilion right next door. Next time you enjoy a concert, grab a bite here!

People enter Japanese Friendship Garden. The San-Kei-En entrance stone, gift from San Diego's sister city Yokohama, translates Three Scene Garden--Water, Pastoral and Mountain.
People enter Japanese Friendship Garden. The San-Kei-En entrance stone, gift from San Diego’s sister city Yokohama, translates Three Scene Garden–Water, Pastoral and Mountain.
Water gently drips from hollow bamboo, inviting meditation.
Water gently drips from hollow bamboo, inviting meditation.
Visitors check out thought-provoking historical and cultural displays in the Exhibit House.
Visitors check out thought-provoking historical and cultural displays in the Exhibit House.

The Exhibit House includes a room with benches that look out a big window at the Dry Stone Garden. The gravel is raked into simple patterns for meditation. I didn’t want to disturb people, so no photos of that.

Oribe-doro lantern. Exhibit House with views of Karesansui (Dry Stone Garden) in background.
Oribe-doro lantern. Exhibit House with views of Karesansui (Dry Stone Garden) in background.
The amazing Koi Pond is a favorite spot to relax and feel alive.
The amazing Koi Pond is a favorite spot to relax and feel alive.
The koi are colorful and curious. They seemed interested in my camera!
The koi are colorful and curious. They seemed interested in my camera!
People stroll slowly along a tranquil path in one of San Diego's most beautiful gardens.
People stroll along a tranquil path in one of San Diego’s most beautiful gardens.
Stepping stones lead toward the Activity Room, where various Japan-related clubs meet.
Stepping stones lead toward the Activity Room, where various Japan-related clubs meet.
Looking down at a path that leads into canyon. New construction is a large pavilion that will open later this year.
Looking down at a path that leads into canyon. New construction is a large pavilion that will open later this year.
A special Bonsai Exhibit area.
A special Bonsai Exhibit area.
Perfectly pruned bonsai includes a bright red bougainvillea!
Perfectly pruned bonsai includes a bright red bougainvillea!
That bright tree in the distance is a pink trumpet tree.
That bright tree in the distance is a pink trumpet tree.
Light of Friendship.
Light of Friendship.
Walking down a path through a scene of carefully maintained beauty.
Walking down a path through a scene of carefully maintained beauty.
The Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate leads into the canyon, where the Japanese Cherry trees await. That's another pink trumpet tree!
The Charles C. Dail Memorial Gate leads into the canyon, where the Japanese Cherry trees await. That’s another pink trumpet tree!
Former San Diego mayor Charles Dail created the Sister City Association with Yokohama.
Former San Diego mayor Charles Dail created the Sister City Association with Yokohama.
Visitors head down a fairly easy hiking trail to see the cherry blossoms and other flowers.
Visitors head down an easy hiking trail to see cherry blossoms and other flowers.
Another look at the large canyon pavilion buildings, which will be finished soon.
Another look at the large canyon pavilion buildings, which will be finished soon.
Here are some cherry blossoms! Many are blooming, even though it isn't spring quite yet!
Here are some cherry blossoms! Many are blooming, even though it isn’t spring quite yet!
A sparkling man-made river runs through the canyon bottom, surrounded by a gorgeous landscape.
A sparkling man-made river runs through the canyon bottom, surrounded by a gorgeous landscape.
A waterfall and gurgling, bubbling water put me in a thoughtful mood.
A waterfall and gurgling, bubbling water put me in a thoughtful mood.
A patient gardener tends to one of the many shrubs and plants in the garden.
A steady-handed expert gardener tends to one of the many shrubs and plants in the garden.  I envy him!
Delicate pink cherry blossoms hover over lush green grass.
Delicate pink cherry blossoms hover over lush green grass.
Gauzy pink blooms seem so new and promising.
Gauzy pink blooms seem so new and promising.
One last photo of the new pavilion under construction. Looks inviting!
One last photo of the new pavilion under construction. Looks inviting!
There are about 160 ornamental cherry trees in this grove. I think I'll be going here more often!
There are about 160 ornamental cherry trees in this grove. I think I’ll be going here more often!
The Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego's Balboa Park is a place of beauty.
The Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego’s Balboa Park is a place of beauty.

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Fun photos of colorful art on Little Italy’s streets.

Colorful tiles around base of Piazza Villaggio fountain in Little Italy.
Colorful tiles around base of Piazza Villaggio fountain in Little Italy.

I frequently walk through Little Italy, a lively neighborhood in the north part of downtown San Diego. Here are some photos of fun, colorful artwork that I’ve taken from the sidewalk during the last few months!

Unusual creation hangs from roof of a building in San Diego's Little Italy.
Unusual creation hangs from roof of a building in San Diego’s Little Italy.
Fun image on wall of The Good Sounds car stereo installation shop.
Fun image on wall of The Good Sounds car stereo installation shop.
Eye-catching clock atop tower on a street corner.
Eye-catching clock atop tower on a street corner.
Lots of whimsical art can be found on Queenstown Public House restaurant.
Lots of whimsical art on the Queenstown Public House restaurant.
Painted tiles add zest to a wall by a sidewalk.
Painted tiles add zest to a wall by a sidewalk.
Base of Little Italy Landmark Sign shows fish netted in the ocean.
Base of Little Italy Landmark Sign shows fish netted in the ocean.
Two cherubs adorn gate pillars on India Street.
Two cherubs adorn gate pillars on India Street.
Just a fun mailbox with hearts, flower and palm tree.
Just a fun mailbox with hearts, flower and palm tree.
Medallion-like artwork on wall above the Italian Cultural Center sign.
Medallion-like artwork on wall above the Italian Cultural Center sign.
Metal fish sculpture seems to leap from Piazza Villaggio fountain.
Metal fish sculpture seems to leap from Piazza Villaggio fountain.

Infinite words but just one small life.

Sailboats moored near Shelter Island, downtown San Diego skyline in the background.
Sailboats moored near Shelter Island, downtown San Diego in the background.

Anyone who tries to write soon realizes a daunting truth. There are countless possible stories to tell, and numberless ways to tell each one. Infinity multiplied by infinity amounts to a whole lot of indecision!

Last weekend I stood on a patch of beach on Shelter Island. A sailboat moored nearby fascinated my eye, and I puzzled over its profound complexity for several minutes. How could I accurately paint that sailboat with words? How could I phrase the most perfect description? Is it even possible? With a million words is it possible?

As I watched the bobbing boat and struggled to sequence potent adjectives, a sudden thought shook me: Writing’s purpose, like art’s purpose, isn’t to replicate the world. It’s to stretch our minds. That is all.

Words are limitless. As limitless as the universe. They allow us to travel anywhere, in any direction.

A few well-directed words can focus our minds (for a moment) on overlooked things; they can help us see vague things more vividly. Words can seek and memorialize those things that seem important. Words tossed about can provoke hidden feeling and allow us to draw nearer to others. Words, when magical, can help us to discern whispers of meaning in the echoing vastness around us.

Our lives are finite. But the infinity that is contained in words can expand our lives. That is their purpose.

A fiery sunset behind glorious tall ships.

Fiery sunset in late February behind figurehead of Star of India.
Fiery sunset in late February behind figurehead of Star of India.

I was fortunate to capture some wonderful photographs this evening. I was walking along the beautiful Embarcadero near the Maritime Museum of San Diego as the sun set. Sky and clouds turned for a moment into flame.

Puffy clouds emblazoned by setting sun, and the rigging of glorious tall ships.
Puffy clouds emblazoned by setting sun, and the rigging of glorious tall ships.
Maritime Museum of San Diego's B-39 Soviet submarine is dark under tinted sky.
Maritime Museum of San Diego’s B-39 Soviet submarine is dark under tinted sky.
HMS Surprise and steam ferryboat Berkeley at nightfall on the Embarcadero.
HMS Surprise and steam ferryboat Berkeley at nightfall on the Embarcadero.
Students hauling a rope learn about sailing and seamanship on Star of India.
Students hauling a rope learn about sailing and seamanship on Star of India.
Moon behind a mast and yards of San Diego's historic 1863 bark Star of India.
Moon behind a mast and yards of San Diego’s historic 1863 bark Star of India.
Looking eastward as day ends. Amazing glowing color above downtown buildings.
Turning eastward as day ends. Amazing glowing color above downtown buildings.
Museum visitors seem to cross into a romantic, windswept dream.
Museum visitors seem to cross into a romantic, windswept dream.