RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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Japanese garden reopens

The Japanese Garden at the Huntington Library and Gardens reopened recently after a year-long renovation so a friend and I paid a visit.

And I always enjoy sauntering around the gardens finding little miscellaneous scenes to photograph.

Another brilliant day at the Huntington ends with an equally brilliant lunch… the Mexican chop salad:

 

 


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Feline Friday – #112 – two sofa stretch

Freddie has plenty of scratching posts and scratching boxes around the house. But there is nothing better than a sofa… or a love seat… to manicure those claws. I have a fitted cover on both the sofa and love seat with throws on top that are easily washable. But Freddie still manages to dig down to the sofas anyway.

 

After a good scratch on the love seat, Freddie is checking out the sofa.

 

Okay, prospects look good over there. But he is reluctant to let go of the hold he has on the love seat. Can he sustain this stretch?

 

Yes! With every ounce of his feline strength he has achieved his goal! Freddie has won the 2019 Cat Olympics Gold Medal for the Two-Sofa-Stretch!


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Feline Friday – #111 – the real blogger

It’s no secret who the real author of Feline Friday is… and here he is staying up late to make sure the latest edition hits the presses, although a couple of days late!

Freddie is a big fan of the Simon’s Cat cartoons, one of which is on the computer screen behind him.

 

It’s been hot here recently… even in temperate Culver City with the sea breezes wafting up Ballona Creek… the temperatures have been in the 90s (F). The boys have been taking advantage of the cool porcelain and the breezes coming through the bathroom window.

One of Frankie’s jobs is to guard the cat litter… and he takes this position very seriously

And Freddie is keeping the herbs warm. My one kale plant is kindly sharing it’s pot with The Giant Cat. The plant is very resilient. It’s been growing new leaves for months that I pick and add to my salad. When Freddie gets out of the pot, the kale bounces back up and gets on with its life.

When I ran out of grass for Freddie a while back (I grow it from seeds), he ate some of the dill seedlings instead. The dill bounced back too and is now doing really well with new shoots coming up in the pot. I learned my lesson and he now has plenty of grass.

 


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Feline Friday – #110 – Wild Bill

This furry feline was running through the Crazy Horse Memorial Tourist Center (South Dakota) as I was running in the opposite direction. He/she stopped in front of me for an emergency wash so I was just able to grab a quick shot, albeit out of focus. In that split second, I couldn’t decide if it was more important to aim at the cat or Wild Bill Hickok! My motto is always to grab a bad shot than no shot at all!

I am now in the process of recovering from the trip through South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah. We covered a lot of ground in eight days… visiting some places I had not seen before and some old favorites. The older I get, the longer it takes me to deflate after a trip…. so I’m still working on it!

As always, Frankie and Freddie texted me every day to keep me posted on their exploits while I was away. My traveling companions told me these texts were the highlight of the trip! I won’t bore you with all of them, just a small sample.

F&F in their favorite room… the bathroom. Their two permanent expressions… Frankie (in the background) looking disdainful and Freddie looking like he was caught by surprise.

Frankie decided to sleep in the ceramic bowl where I keep the postcards from some of my trips and some that other people send me… by the time I got home the bowl was empty with the postcards all over the floor.

Surprise, surprise… Freddie looking surprised again!

I’m happy to be home. I’m in the process of sorting through hundreds of photos and posting some to Facebook. Later on I’ll post my favorites to this blog.


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Feline Friday – #109 – good places to sleep

I packed some household items into a box which I left by the front door to take out to the garage in order to donate them to Goodwill. When I attempted to pick up the box I felt some movement inside the box. A snake?

A little nose appeared in the opening of the box. No, I don’t think this is a snake. Just a Monster.

Lucky for Frankie the Monster he decided to make an appearance before I left him at the Goodwill dropoff!

Later on I sat out on the deck to enjoy the last of the sun’s rays. Frankie jumped on my stomach and settled down. Freddie The Giant Cat was not happy with this arrangement so he very uncharacteristically pushed Frankie out of the way and settled on my stomach himself, forcing Frankie to slide down to my knees.

I was surprised that Frankie accepted this but perhaps he was too comfy to argue. Good thing I only have two cats or I would need longer legs.


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Santa Barbara – part three – historic estate

This was an interesting place to stay to say the least. I really enjoyed it as opposed to staying in a slick, cookie cutter hotel. F.R. Bains bought the Historic Montecito Estate (aka The Peppers) in 1913 while he was President of the Gas Company, to spend the winters away from Los Angeles.

The estate is built on 1.65 acres of land a short drive from the hot spots of the Santa Barbara coast. The 1885 buildings contain 9,000 square feet with nine bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.

The Estate provides assisted living accommodations for seniors but they are allowed to rent out a certain number of rooms for visitors.

We arrived in the Santa Barbara/Montecito area on Wednesday to visit Lotusland (see blog post) and stayed here overnight before driving back to LA. I had brought my own avocado with me (along with a banana) as I wasn’t sure what the breakfast situation would be like. They provided a continental breakfast so I made some toast, mashed up the avo, took my coffee and sat outside at this table while BG was getting up. I’m an early riser and I love that time of the morning to myself.

It was soooooooooooo peaceful sitting out there in the garden. Like all of California, the Estate suffered through an extreme drought for many years. Recently they had to deal with evacuations from fire and mudslides. Management is doing as much as they can to get the Estate back to a pristine condition. But I liked it the way I found it. Elegant ramshackle.

I ambled around the rest of the Estate looking for photo opportunities. As I’ve said many times before, walking around with my camera forces me to really SEE as well as look.

I mistakenly thought this was an abandoned building. That was before I learned the whole Estate is really an assisted living facility. I started to walk up the ramp. Then I heard the sound of a TV… uh oh… I nearly intruded into a resident’s living room!

Please click on an image below to start slide show of the grounds:

There are several shared areas in the main building:

We had a two-bedroom suite with one bathroom. The TV didn’t work (no huge loss) and BG reported there was no hot water or soap. As we were only there for one night I decided I could wait until I got home to take a shower! Despite those shortcomings I thought we got a good deal for the price.

I took the little room with a window overlooking the garden. It was very cozy and I enjoyed the breeze that wafted in all night. BG was in the main room. This worked out well for both of us.

After breakfast we headed out for Stearn’s Wharf by way of State Street and the Santa Barbara Golf Club…. in other words, all around the mulberry bush… just so we could get a lay of the land. It is indeed a beautiful city. Just one more post to come!

 

 


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Feline Friday – #108 – the non-recyclable plastic bag

I already posted this photo to Facebook as soon as this happened, so if you already saw it over there you know the story… just close your eyes and pass on by!

This is one of the reasons plastic bags are so dangerous for the environment.

Freddie the Giant Cat ran into my office as I was working at the computer meowing loudly at me. I figured he was ready for more food but it wasn’t dinner time yet.

He took off and ran down the stairs. So I decided to follow him down anyway as I could hear some rustling of paper going on downstairs so thought I had better investigate.

When I got to the kitchen I saw Frankie the Monster entangled in this plastic bag rolling around on the floor in an attempt to extricate himself.

Like any good photographer I ran for my camera and took a photo of Frankie before helping him out of the bag!

As a good Samaritan I had picked the plastic bag out of the recycling bin before placing the bins curbside. My neighbors insist on throwing their non-recyclable items like plastic bags, styrofoam, carpeting, dirty food containers, etc. in the recycling bins.

As we all know by now, China and other Asian countries are refusing to take our recycling materials because they are so contaminated. And the recycling they have accepted in the past is now floating around in the polluted oceans. Recycling should be a matter of quality not quantity.

I try not to bring any kind of single-use plastic into the house to start with. But when it does come through the front door I re-use it when I shop for produce or for packing up trash or for cat litter/poop or anything else that saves me from having to acquire a brand new plastic bag or container. But that’s just me!


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Santa Barbara – part two – by evening’s light

After freshening up at the hotel in Montecito (stay tuned for Part Three) we drove to the beach area. To be accurate, BG did all the driving. Thanks BG. As we strolled along Cabrillo Blvd we noticed this lovely restaurant patio. The menu looked good so decision made.

We ate dinner at Due Lune Ristorante-Bar. I ordered the Garden Party salad accompanied by the house red wine which was pretty decent. BG chose a pasta dish which looked very pretty in bright green.

We could easily have been in Sorrento, Italy! There was a nice view of Stearns Wharf, the beach and people passing by.

I love taking these Southern California getaways. We have so much to do and see in our own back yard!

It was such a gorgeous evening. The few occasions over the years when I’ve been in Santa Barbara as the sun is going down I have always been struck by the golden light as the mountains are bathed in a pink and purple glow.

Click on an image below to start the slide show:

On the walk back to the car this quirky abandoned mail box on the street caught my attention… I couldn’t just leave it standing there without taking a photograph!

 


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Santa Barbara – part one – a saunter through Lotusland


A friend and I drove up to Santa Barbara last week partly to visit Lotusland, which has been on my bucket list for a while, and partly to enjoy the city. Lotusland is actually located in Montecito, an affluent unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, California, east of the City of Santa Barbara.


I first heard of Lotusland while visiting Santa Barbara for the Summer Solstice Festival in June, 2017. That was quite a different scene with thousands of people thronging the streets. Click here to view my blog post of that event.

Lotusland sits on 37 acres and unless you are a member you must walk through it on a tour with a docent.

It is billed as one of the top ten most beautiful gardens in the entire world. Well, it is very nice and I enjoyed the visit but I’m not sure I would go that far. Maybe we are spoiled for lovely gardens in Southern California but other gardens in other parts of the world spring to mind. Top 100 might be more realistic although I haven’t traveled enough to back that up! But it was worth seeing, for sure.


I took 240 photos during the walk and it was very hard to decide which ones to display… I could easily have included 100 in this post… but I decided to spare you and cut it down to a mere 56 with as much variety as possible… which means some of my favorites hit the cutting room floor… that hurt!

This turquoise glass slag lines the pathways… a very effective and beautiful border.

Lotusland contains about 21 different garden areas with more than 3,000 different plants from around the world. Please click on an image below to begin the slide show.

I’ll be uploading a couple more posts of our trip to the Santa Barbara area so stay tuned!


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Ventura Adventure

ventura city hall

Ventura City Hall

Ten of us adventurous souls met in Ventura for another exciting day. Seven of us took Amtrak from Los Angeles Union Station. The other three met us in Ventura.

Father Junipero Serra

I was out of bed at 3:45 to meet my friend at the bus stop at 6:15. The Expo Line was down for upgrading so we were stuck with the Metro #733 bus.

Father Junipero Serra looking out on the city of Ventura

It takes me two hours to get out of the house these days. Cleaning out the cat litter boxes, making the cat’s breakfast, watering my crops of tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, parsley, etc, making coffee, cooking breakfast, getting dressed, wandering around in a fog… it all takes time.

Ventura Botanical Gardens

I was ready to walk to the bus top by 5:45. It was beautiful walking through Culver City at that hour of the morning with only a couple of people walking their dogs and barely any traffic. So peaceful.

We arrived at Union Station with time to spare. I always like to be early instead of running at the last minute. As I always say, I would rather be two hours early than two minutes too late!

The Amtrak train left at 7:50am and we arrived in Ventura about 9:30. I LOVE traveling by train and Amtrak is soooooooo comfortable. It’s lovely to see the scenery go by from the top deck.

Our first stop was the Ventura Botanical Gardens.

The area was totally burned out in the Thomas fire of December 2017. But the gardens are being replanted and coming back quickly. You can still see the extent of the burned out areas.

The gardens are built on a hill with the option of switchback trails or stairs. I opted for the switchback. Whichever you chose there are some lovely views.

Plants are resilient and manage to grow in any situation.

Click on the first image below for a slide show:

After the hike up the hill we walked back through town towards the pier and lunch, always my favorite activity!

We ate at Beach House Fish. I ordered the wild snapper with mashed potatoes. I am a potato junkie… the way it is…

I thought this image represented the beach at Ventura!

Eating!

What a view as you eat your seafood lunch. Life is good.

After my delicious lunch I took a stroll along the pier. It’s a fishing pier.

Click on an image below for photos of the pier and views from the pier:

What a beautiful day we had with great friends!

Waiting for the Amtrak train back to Los Angeles.