RMW: the blog

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


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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!

 

 


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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.

 

 

 


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Feline Friday – #105 – the scary day

Frankie

Frankie in the towel cupboard

Yesterday was a very scary day for Frankie and Freddie… and all animals… wild or pets. The cats were already on edge because of the yoyos in the neighborhood letting off illegal fireworks in the creek for several days before July the Fourth.

Then at 10:33am the 6.4 earthquake struck. I was sitting upstairs working on the computer in my loft when I felt and heard the building creaking and then swaying. I walked VERY gingerly downstairs to the living room feeling like I was on a roller coaster. Although the epicenter was 100 miles away it was the strongest quake I have felt since moving in here 18 years ago. Not nearly as strong as the 1994 Northridge earthquake when I was living about a mile away, but the epicenter of that one was more local.

And what we feel in this neighborhood depends on how the faults are connected.

Frankie took refuge in the towel cupboard and would not come out all day! Freddie was much more laid back about the whole thing but he generally follows me around the house anyway so it’s hard to tell how concerned he was. Here he is on the scanner behind my desk so I can turn around and give him a scratch every now and again.

There were after shocks all day. And living in LA, of course there are numerous fireworks shows all over the city. From about 7:30pm until 10:30 it sounded like a war out there. Some explosions were so loud they shook the building. Some years I leave the building to enjoy fireworks with friends. But yesterday I was home and I’m glad because I believe it gave the cats some reassurance that all was well.

 

 


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Trip to Catalina Island – part one

san pedro

My friend SB and I decided to stay overnight on Catalina Island, one hour and 15 minutes by boat from San Pedro, Port of Los Angeles.

I love taking photos at the port. A friend told me the structures in the above photo are called transtainers. But they look like “Transformers” to me!

Sometimes waiting to go on a journey can be as interesting as the journey itself!

We are experiencing June Gloom in Southern California but that’s fine with me as the cloud cover keeps the temperatures down. And most of the time the sun comes out in the afternoons. Not always but that’s still okay with me.

The Battleship Iowa is parked in the harbor. I have had the pleasure of climbing around on it. See my post here.

On the way! I’ll be posting more photos of our trip shortly!

 


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Christ Cathedral walk around

Christ Cathedral under renovation so I couldn’t get up close and personal. Crean Tower peeking out behind stands 256 feet tall.

Howdy everybody! The last time I posted on this blog was December 29, 2018… that’s almost half a year ago. I’ve been wanting to come back to WordPress but it’s been one thing after another. The past couple of weeks I decided I either had to start posting again or close up shop forever. So here we are for better or worse! I’ve missed all my WordPress friends!

Designed by Philip Johnson, this stunning 236-foot stainless-steel mirrored spire stands over 18 stories tall and houses a magnificent 52 bell carillon. The Arvella Schuller carillon was named in honor of her 35 years of service in bringing beautiful music to the church. This remarkable collection of bells range from six inches to nearly six feet and were forged by the Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in the Netherlands.

This past Saturday some friends and I visited Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, which is the former Crystal Cathedral headed by Robert Schuller. Now it is owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. The cathedral itself was completed in 1980. In all that time I have wanted to visit! The plan was to view the Sistine Chapel Exhibition. I was not interested as I didn’t want to dilute my previous experiences with this artwork both at the Vatican and in England. Reminder to self: I need to post the photos from the church I visited in Worthing, Sussex.

Christ Cathedral

Designed by Richard Neutra and his son Dion, the 13-story Tower of Hope first opened in 1968. Named after New Hope Ministries, this building housed the very first 24-hour suicide prevention hotline.

The cathedral itself is not open right now as it is undergoing renovations. The dedication is set for July but it won’t be fully opened until 2020 after the organ has been completely tuned. I intend to return at that time as they will be resuming docent tours. However, I knew I would find plenty of photographic opportunities wandering around the rest of the campus while my friends enjoyed the exhibit. BTW, the consensus of the others was that the exhibition was just okay… so I was happy with my decision. There is no greater joy for me than exploring with my camera.

Christ Cathedral

The Cultural Center completed in 2002 was designed by world renowned architect Richard Meier, also known for his commission of the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Jubilee Church in Rome, Italy.

As there was construction going on all over the complex it was pretty much impossible to twist my camera around to avoid it so please excuse the intrusion of chain link fences or scaffolding or equipment. I did crop some of it out which also necessitated cropping out parts of the scene. Enough with the excuses! Click on an image below to start the slide show.

The ladies restroom is one of highlights of the complex. A female parishioner was fed up with the lack of enough facilities for women. She donated one million dollars to build the best possible womens restrooms that amount of money could buy!