RMW: the blog

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


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Fabulous Felines – #132 – blankie time and good news for cougars

Usually no matter how much coaxing I do, Frankie will not take a nap with me on the sofa. He actually craves being picked up, but only in the kitchen for whatever weird reason.

(Freddie has no such problem and will often settle down with me on the sofa whether I want him to or not.)

However, lately it has been VERY chilly (for Los Angeles) and my heater doesn’t do a good job. So Frankie has been forced to come and snuggle with me in the evenings… two evenings in a row in fact, wow, a miracle!

Unfortunately for him I don’t sit still for very long but when I move him off my lap he stays under the blanket purring loudly. 

Good news for the Mountain Lions of Los Angeles

Two decades of study by the National Park Service in the Los Angeles area has shown roads and development are not only proving deadly for animals trying to cross [the freeways], but have also created islands of habitat that can genetically isolate all wildlife—from bobcats to birds to lizards. The species most immediately at risk, the mountain lion, could vanish from the area in less than 50 years. Of all the area roads, multiple research and planning efforts have identified the 101 Freeway as the most significant barrier to the ecological health of the region, and a possible extinction vortex.

Recently I was on a Zoom meeting sponsored by the West LA Group of the Sierra Club regarding the overpass. It seems that by the end of 2021, if everything continues on track, work could begin on the world’s largest wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon, less than 30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles as the crow flies or 40 miles by freeway (64 km). Very exciting news.

For more information please visit the Save LA Cougars website here!


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Monday Magical Memories – #4 – Snow in Yosemite 2018

The rain started during the night… yes, actual wet stuff! It’s been raining on and off all day and is still raining this evening. It may be tapering off now and there is no more rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future. It’s been chilly too, only a high of about 48° F (about 8.8° C). I’ve been thinking about snow and how wonderful it would be if it snowed for just one or two days in the flatlands of Los Angeles (we do get snow in the mountains and foothills). Well, that is unlikely and also fortunate because people don’t know how to drive in the rain, let alone snow! But in the meantime, I’m looking back at my trip to Yosemite National Park in February 2018.

On the last morning of our trip I woke up early (as I usually do), opened the drapes and was surprised to see it was snowing. It had been cold but we weren’t expecting snow. I woke up my roommate by yelling, “It’s snowing!” She stirred in her bed and said, “Yeah, right,” and went back to sleep. She didn’t believe me.

I ran outside with my camera and started shooting. Such a wonderful sight. The scene above was the view from our window. It doesn’t get much better than that! I was back in Yosemite at the same time this year but no snow in sight.*

 

Yosemite is magnificent in any weather but in the snow it is magical! I feel fortunate to have been there at the right time in 2018.

*Correction: just to set the record straight, looking at my photos from this year I now remember there was some light dusting of snow at the higher regions but nothing we could walk in.

 

 


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Monday Magical Memories – #3 – Pumpkin Patch 2013

My mother lived in an assisted living home for the last few years of her life. It was VERY expensive but they really looked after the people living there so I thought it was worth it. The best part for me was all the day trips they provided that I was able to join in on. Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch was one of them.

The 95-year-olds and the 65-year-olds (like me) were all able to become kids again.

I went along on as many trips with my mother as time would allow.

So many pumpkins…

My mother is in the red wheelchair.

I really enjoyed all the colors and shapes of the different pumpkins and squash.

What a wonderful day for everybody in Culver City!

It is still emblazoned in my memory. I hope my mother enjoyed it. I certainly did!

Her generation was the last that enjoyed a secure retirement. There is no way I could afford to live in such a wonderful assisted living environment. I have my fingers crossed I can afford a tent…


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Beauty around the neighborhood

As a member of the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, I miss strolling through the acres of plants, trees and flowers during the closure. In the meantime I feel fortunate to live in a beautiful neighborhood where a lot of homeowners take their landscaping seriously. Last Saturday I took my 50mm fixed lens for a stroll along Braddock, looped around Carlson Park and back along Farragut… a little over 2 miles.

Here are the results:

When I first bought the 50mm (1.4) lens I thought I had made a mistake. I didn’t like being trapped in that focal length after being used to my go-to 18-135mm lens. But as usual, with the camera equipment I buy, I left it too long to return the lens. So I had to make the best of it. Now it’s my second favorite lens next to my zoom. It forces me to see everything from one perspective. I have to physically walk up to my subjects or back up to get the view I want. It’s a challenge I enjoy.

Within the next week or so I intend to retrace my footsteps with my 18-135mm lens and see what I can capture at the wide angle and telephoto ends. Of course when I walk the neighborhood I am safe. I am wrapped up from head to toe like a mummy. I am sure I look like the angel of death with a black hat, black face mask, scarf, wearing a high neck sweater and jacket, etc. I notice since I have been wearing my face mask people tend to distance themselves from me more often, which is fine with me!

During this strange time in our lives we need all the beauty we can get. I hope you can all step (safely) outside in your own neighborhoods to appreciate the gifts nature gives us.


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An eight and a half minute walk down the ramp at Culver City Park

With my knowledge of Los Angeles a friend suggested I should make short videos of the neighborhoods. I’m very new to making videos so I can only improve from here. This is a walk I did on March 22 at Culver City Park which is just a couple of blocks from my house at the end of the street. Right now I’m staying in my own neighborhood but when we get the all clear for the coronavirus lockdown I hope to be walking around other parts of LA. I did hardly any narration on this but I intend to talk about the architecture and history of the areas I visit.

 

Anyway, this is my first experiment. If you stand up and march in place you will get an 8.5 minute outdoor workout without leaving home!


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Yosemite National Park in February by popular request … part one

These days I post my photos to Facebook because it’s easier. But I have those holdout friends who don’t want to utilize FB for whatever reasons… so I am acquiescing to their requests to see my photos of my latest trip to Yosemite. Y’all had better appreciate this!

yosemite

I feel very fortunate that I was able to visit Yosemite in February. It was between the virus that ate the Ahwahnee Hotel in January and the coronavirus that closed the park in March.

This is the first view we always see when coming into Yosemite on the motor coach. Half Dome and a peek at the valley.

We arrived at the Yosemite Lodge just as the Golden Hour descended on the mountains. I rushed outside with my camera.

The next day we hiked up the Bridalveil Fall trail. Because of the lack of rain the Merced River was just a trickle but it gave us a chance to see the beautiful rocks.

Good thing I brought along my crampons and ice pick! Ha ha ha… no chance…

My friend and I ate lunch at the Ahwahnee Hotel Saturday and Sunday. I ordered the same sandwich both days… I think it was called the Californian or something like that… a salad between two pieces of bread plus a side salad and purple/orange chips. Worked for me!

Half Dome through the trees.

Besides the natural beauty of Yosemite I always love all the plane trails overhead.

Because of the drought there was very little water in the Merced River but still enough for good reflections.

Mountain climbing lessons are offered at Yosemite. See the teeny weeny people halfway up? I’ll enjoy the view from ground level, thank you.

Beautiful stained glass windows in the lobby of the Ahwahnee with a view of the mountains outside.

All we had to do was step outside the back door of our room at Yosemite Lodge to walk along the trail by the Merced River. Paradise.

Ahwahnee Hotel through the trees.

Below are images of the plane trails as the evening crept up on us. You can call them plane trails if you like, but I think it’s the spirits of the mountains sending messages to commune with the universe.

My friend did a couple of quick sketches in our room. I liked them and asked her if I could share them. See below.

Yosemite Falls: walking back from the Ahwahnee.

View from our patio.

Me just before we boarded the bus to head home. I’m ready to go back already!

Of course, I have a ton more photos that I can post at a later date but these will have to do for now.

We were very fortunate to be able to visit in February just after the virus attack at the Ahwahnee in January and the Coronavirus that shut the park down in March. I had three other trips planned this year that have all been canceled. But I’m grateful to be stuck in Culver City! It could be so much worse…

Stay well, keep safe, my friends, and carry on!

 


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Memories of 2019

JANUARY

I picked two photos from each month of 2019 to represent my year in photography. Just like last year, some months I had too many choices and some months it was hard pickings.  So these aren’t necessarily my very best photos but I tried to show a variety of different places.

The photo above is reflections in a puddle at Culver City Park at the end of my street. We had a lot of rain last winter after a seven-year drought.


Red hot poker plants at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Some friends bestowed upon me a gift membership for which I am very grateful… and I am able to take a friend with me which makes it a doubly wonderful gift!

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FEBRUARY

I was clearing junk out of the garage in February as I was planning to move. That didn’t happen but it allowed me to get rid of a lot of stuff. I took a photo of this painting with my point & shoot before I drove it over to Goodwill. I must have painted this in the 1970s! I hope somebody bought it and is enjoying it. I may print it out and hang it on a wall to give it a new life.

A random photo of the boys. Frankie The Monster, who of course bagged the most comfy spot. And Freddie The Giant Cat who is so laid back and always lets Frankie get what he wants.

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MARCH

The Broad is a contemporary art museum in downtown LA. This was a booth by Yayoi Kusama constructed of mirrors. My selfie is on the right. My friend BG was standing at the other side of the booth so you can see her face in some of the other circles.

I’m not usually good at doing things on the spur of the moment but my friend LA decided she wanted to see the wildflowers. So as long as she was driving I said okay. Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore is about 85 miles from Culver City. We went on a Wednesday and made pretty good time. It was a fabulous day. On the way home we came as close as I have ever come to being killed in an accident. In my mind I was already dead. Make the most of every day because you never know when it will be your last. It just wasn’t our time.

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APRIL

Next door to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) is La Brea Tar Pits with ongoing excavations. The site goes back to the Pleistocene Age. The extinct animals discovered at La Brea Tar Pits were trapped in the asphalt between 11,000 to 50,000 years ago. Outsiders always accuse Los Angeles of having no history… excuse me, we go back a lot further than most places in the US!

I don’t think this is quite what they had in mind when they named the Palms neighborhood of Los Angeles, adjacent to Culver City. But I always enjoy looking at this utility box on my walk to Sprouts Market on the LA side of Venice Blvd.

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MAY

I made several trips to Echo Park Lake this year. Paddling around on these swan Paddle Wheelers is now one of my favorite things to do in LA. It’s relaxing and good exercise at the same time with splendid views of the downtown skyline. I hope can cajole more friends into going with me in 2020. Wanna come along?

I’ve been wanting to visit the South Coast Botanical Gardens for many years. Finally made it in May. It was really delightful. We only saw a small area as my companion wasn’t able to walk far. But I’ll definitely be back to see the rest of it.

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JUNE

My friend SB and I were waiting at the harbor to take the boat back from Santa Catalina to San Pedro. This couple walked by. I loved the way they looked so I asked if it was okay to take their photo. She had made their matching outfits with fabric she had bought at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. She said she often made them matching outfits. How adorable is that?

I am a member of the Natural History Museum and it’s a short train ride from Culver City so I often pop in there, often on my own if nobody else is available or interested. This lovely guy was on display in the special exhibit on Antarctic Dinosaurs, the 25-foot-long, “cold-crested killer,” Cryolophosaurus. The exhibit featured an ongoing scientific expedition from the NHM and Chicago’s Field Museum as they dig for fossils today. La Brea Tar Pits is also part of the NHM.

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JULY

Rode the Amtrak train to Ventura with a group of friends. We hiked up the trails in the Ventura Botanical Gardens which is still recovering from the December 2017 Thomas Fire. Lovely views from the top. Ate lunch on the pier at Beach House Fish then walked along the pier watching people fishing.

BG and I made an overnight trip to Santa Barbara. Stayed at an historic estate, drove around the area, ate dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant, Due Lune Cucina, across from the beach as the sun was setting. Next day ate lunch on the pier before heading home. Wonderful experience.

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AUGUST

Mount Rushmore has been on my bucket list ever since I saw the movie North by Northwest with Cary Grant and the marvelous James Mason. So now I can say been there, done that! It was a trip to look up and see those monumental faces… it’s impossible to imagine how that can be achieved. As you are chiseling away you would only be able to see a miniscule part of what you are working on. Amazing.

We arrived at Old Faithful in Yellowstone in the evening. The glow of the setting sun was a magnificent backdrop to the geyser. This was my second visit to the park. This time we had the privilege of staying inside the park at the Old Faithful Inn. You just walk out the front door and there is Old Faithful right in front of you. Magnificent.

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SEPTEMBER

Second Home Pavilion was a temporary exhibit which I visited on one of the hottest days of the year at Hancock Park between LACMA and La Brea Tar Pits. I asked the young lady sitting at the entrance how she was doing and she indicated not too well. I enjoyed walking through the colorful maze of tunnels.

BG and I hung out at LACMA visiting several galleries. At Mary Corse: A Survey in Light we had a little fun as we became the artwork.

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OCTOBER

The celebration of El Dia de los Muertos is one of my favorite times to visit Grand Park. This year there were about 40 altars all personally and culturally relevant to Los Angeles honoring those who have passed over. It coincides with halloween and is a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage elsewhere. The multi-day holiday involves family and friends gathering to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and helping support their spiritual journey. In Mexican culture, death is viewed as a natural part of the human cycle. Mexicans view it not as a day of sadness but as a day of celebration because their loved ones awake and celebrate with them.

 

Several friends met at the Sunset/Vermont Red Line station and rode the shuttle up to the Griffith Observatory. Half the group attempted the hike to Inspiration Point but it was too hot for me so I sat and chatted with the other half at the cafe and enjoyed the views. The hikers only made it half way before being forced to turn back. So I was glad I didn’t attempt it. I’ve suffered from heat stroke before and have to be careful.

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NOVEMBER

GM, EA and I made reservations for an early lunch at Perch on the 15th floor of the Pershing Square Building. I had eaten there previously and talked so much about it they wanted to experience it too and weren’t disappointed. Perch LA is a French-inspired rooftop bistro with unobstructed views of Downtown Los Angeles for guests to experience the feeling of floating along the skyline. The elevated spaces offer outdoor fireplaces, rooftop fire pits, indoor and outdoor dining experiences, and lounge seating to experience the city skyline views. The food isn’t bad either! This is just one of the many views when you walk around the outside area.

Several members of the Culver City Art Group met at the Getty Center to visit the exhibit Manet and Modern Beauty. You gotta love the staircase with the Manet image leading up to the exhibit. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the artist but I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of his paintings… many I was not previously familiar with.

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DECEMBER

A friend is a member at Descanso Gardens. She very graciously picked me up at Union Station and drove the rest of the way… I took the E (formerly known as the Expo) Line to the Red Line… one of these days, probably not in my lifetime, the E Line is supposed to go all the way to Union Station. The gardens were beautifully decorated for the holidays. Of course I imagine it is really spectacular all lit up at night but it was pretty good during the day too.

Last but certainly not least, I led my 3rd Annual Downtown Holiday Decorations Walk ending with lunch at the Biltmore Hotel (at left). There were 13 participants… all women this year… but not too surprising. This lovely Christmas tree was located at the southeast corner of Pershing Square. Lined up correctly the star appears between the US Bank Building (Library Tower) and the Deloitte Building (the Gas Company Building). I had to pay those pigeons to take flight just at the right moment!

Thanks for bearing with me. Some months there were a few more photos I really wanted to include… but I had to keep to two from each month and not cheat… you wouldn’t have known if they didn’t appear in the correct months but I would have known!

I wish you all a very healthy, happy and adventurous 2020!


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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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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!