Palm trees before a storm is my favorite photo from a trip to Miami in April 2013. I had my DSLR for about 4 months and didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I was still using it in Automatic mode like a point & shoot camera and only shooting JPEGs, not in RAW. I didn’t know much about photo composition either, but as an artist and graphic designer I suppose it was innate. Nevertheless, looking at this photo today I can see if I had moved around a little I could have done a better job positioning the buildings. I had it printed on canvas and hung it in the bathroom where I still enjoy looking at it.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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:
Another interesting day in downtown Los Angeles. My friend KJ and I went on a private tour of the NoMad Hotel organized by Eleanor Schrader. This was particularly meaningful to me as when I was a docent with the Los Angeles Conservancy I would bring people to the building in its various incarnations.
(Just an anecdote, I remember many years ago when I was leading a tour, some movie company was shooting a film outside the building. They removed the tree that you see in the above photo. I was really mad. But as you can see, they did it carefully so they could replant it when the shoot was over, and today it is still healthy!)
The 1920s were the glory days of downtown LA and the building known as Giannini Place, the home of the Bank of Italy, was no exception. The building morphed into the Bank of America, then attempts were made to renovate it for offices until it became derelict.
So I am very happy this historic building has been totally renovated in the spirit of its original design to become a boutique hotel.
I popped downstairs to the restroom to discover that the vault had been converted to bathrooms!
Click on an image to start a slide show of some photos of the hotel:
The interior of the hotel is gorgeous. But my favorite part is the roof bar and pool area with some great views of the city! Click on an image below:
Above is the coffee shop decked out for the season.
It was suggested that we should visit the sister hotel down the street for lunch, the Freehand Hotel in what was originally the 1920s Commercial Exchange Building. It’s so great to see these wonderful Beaux Artes buildings coming back to life as apartments and hotels after standing empty for decades.
The ambience of the Freehand is totally different from the NoMad. We both felt like we were in an Asian take on Yosemite! The wait staff emphasized that the chef was half Mexican, half Chinese which influenced the cuisine. We both chose the Tunisian sandwich which was a delicious take on a nicoise salad.
You might think I would be in a hurry to visit the old neighborhood right away. But I was enjoying getting the feel of Worthing first before making the trip over there.
I was now pretty familiar with the walk up to Worthing Station.
This was my first trip on a train since arriving in the UK. I had intended to travel by rail from London but that plan didn’t work out. And I had opted to take the bus for my journey from Worthing to Brighton two days before. So it was exciting to be on the Southern line as I LOVE traveling by train.
My destination was Durrington-on-Sea. When I was in high school I would travel by train between Durrington (where we lived) and the Worthing Station. I haven’t figured out the difference between towns designated as “on-sea” and those named “by-sea.” Durrington is about one mile from the sea front.
This is the street leading from the station. There certainly weren’t as many cars or as many buildings when I was walking home all those decades ago. It’s like another planet.
This pub was certainly there on the corner but I don’t recall if it was the Golden Lion back then.
The Strand Parade was our local shopping spot. My mother would send me to buy a loaf of bread or a can of beans. But for any big shopping we would take the bus or ride our bikes into Worthing.
Maybridge was the name of the elementary school I walked to. Now it’s called Orchards Community Middle School.
The bridge over the railway line at the end of Bolsover Road where we lived. My father rode his bike over this bridge to work every day. This bridge was the culprit in the decision to leave England and move to a warmer climate (which happened to be Florida). If my dad had just bought himself a car with a heater for the winter months, I believe we would have remained in Worthing!
The roundabout at the end of Bolsover Road. When I walked to Maybridge my cat Koko would follow me as far as the roundabout. I have memories of him meeting me there on the way back from school but that could be a fantasy, I’m not sure. I lived in Worthing from the age of approximately eight until twelve… so about five years. But they are the last years of my life I have a clear memory of until adulthood.
The Homestead. 45 Bolsover Road, Worthing, Sussex, UK. I began looking at The Homestead on Google Satellite about a year ago. And that spawned the idea of visiting Worthing. The house was brand new when we moved in. The area was newly developed in the mid 1950s.
There were no cars parked in the street back then. Each house had a tiny garage. But nowadays pretty useless to park a car in I suppose. We lived in the right hand side of the duplex or semi-detached house. This was, and probably still is, a pretty common configuration in England. You can see “our” side of the building is sporting a new roof! My bedroom was at the right side top with the small window. On summer evenings (when it was light until about 10:00pm) I would hang out of the window wishing I could be outside. I still vividly remember the wallpaper. Two walls with pink, highly patterned squares and the other two walls with a light grey background and pink dots.
Evidently the Hosier’s live there now in my house. My mother (who was born in Argentina of British parents) named the house Mirasol (look at the sun). As none of the neighbors was familiar with Spanish, my mother recounted that they thought the name meant Miriam and Solomon and that we were Jewish. In fact, the neighbors on the left hand side were Jewish. And at the end of the street, lived a Catholic family. This is important to note because in the 1950s in Sussex, if not all of England, the population was primarily homogeneous: white, Anglo-Saxon, Christian, Protestant. That was us!
Looking back from the end of the street.
The walk from our house to Orchards MIddle (or Junior) School, formerly Maybridge Elementary, is a little over half a mile. I didn’t even need Google maps, the route was still in my head. It was like I had walked there yesterday.
This circular building is new (since my time).
This is the building I remember. Mr. Last was the last teacher I had at Maybridge before transfering to Worthing High School for Girls. I loved that man as a teacher. He was a kind soul. That final term I was the top student in my class. And I think that was the last time I really liked school… until AFTER I graduated from UCLA and started attending continuing education classes at UCLA Extension in my mid twenties!!!
I walked back to Bolsover Road and over the bridge on Shaftsbury Avenue. This was Goring Congregational Church where my mother forced me to go to Sunday School. It is now Goring United Reformed Church. Goring and Durrington are both districts (along with seven others) within the Borough of Worthing. As far as I remember, our address was always Worthing, not Durrington.
I kind of got the heebie jeebies as I was passing this building as I never really did grasp the idea of religion, much to my mother’s dismay.
Still walking on Shaftsbury Avenue on the way to the beach.
Here we are at the Worthing Sailing Club at the end of Sea Place. My mother and I would walk down to the beach on a summer evening (when there was no school) around nine o’clock… a less than half hour walk. The tide would be way way way out and we walked through the tide pools looking for sea anenomies and crabs. Life was good at that point in time. Would be nice to freeze it right there.
Looking east from Goring to downtown Worthing.
I walked along the sea front snapping random photos sucking up the sea air, reliving memories of life at the beach in Worthing. Click on an image for slide show:
I walked to Marine Gardens where I stopped for lunch. Fish ‘n chips and apple cider. I was soaking up the moment.
How wonderful life is! No matter what has gone before, I am thankful and fortunate to be here now. And in Worthing, no less!
It seems this seagull was attempting to impress his potential mate with a gift. If you look closely it is actually in the shape of a heart. Seagulls are not stupid.
I continued on with my walk towards Worthing Pier and my hotel. Click on image below for slide show:
I was intrigued by the custom of placing flowers on the benches. I saw this on multiple occasions. Very nice.
So Day Five’s adventure came to an end… and looking forward to Day Six!
Thursday morning I walked from the Chatsworth Hotel to Worthing Station, a very pleasant walk through downtown Worthing and some residential neighborhoods, to meet my friend B who came down from London for the day. The last time I saw him was when he visited LA about eighteen months ago.
One of the days he was in LA on that trip we visited the Santa Monica Pier so it seemed appropriate we should make a beeline for the Worthing Pier. B has been to LA many times. He is a world traveler and has been to every continent on the planet. Quite an achievement! But he had never explored Worthing.
Previously to making the trip to Worthing I had joined a Facebook group, The Bald Explorer. I asked for ideas for pubs and restaurants in Worthing. Thanks to Jon Ford, Linda Kane and Dorinda Bennett for their suggestions.
B is fond of beer and takes his friends on pub crawls in London so I thought that would be a good idea to keep him entertained!
But first I had to show him the pier and beach area so we could work up an appetite for food and alcohol.
Our first port of call was for lunch. As Worthing is known for its fresh fish, it made sense to eat at The Crab Shack. We ordered the Skatefish. I had never heard of it before. We were instructed to scrape the flesh off the bone. It was delish. Came with roasted potatoes.
Our next stop was the Beach House. I let B choose the beer at each pub as I know nothing about the brew. I am a wino but when in England I have to drink the brown stuff!
We visited most of the places on the list I was given, and then some.
I asked the proprietor if it was okay to take a photo of him as he made B and I feel like old friends! His clientele all seem to know each other very well.
What more can you ask for than a Tardis as the entry way? Wish I had known about this when M was visiting as he is a huge Dr. Who fan.
After this we hit a few other pubs we saw as we were walking, including The Corner House, but I don’t have photos. Sometimes it’s difficult to shoot pics and avoid patron’s faces and I don’t like invading people’s privacy even though it’s legal.
My friend B outside JBs pub, still standing after a few! I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me saying that he can drink two to my one. We go way back. Our relationship has taken many forms over the years, up and down, but I’m happy we remain friends to this day.
I lost count of how many pubs and the quantity of beer. Brooksteed Alehouse was our last stop of the day. It was just a few footsteps away from Worthing Station and B’s train was leaving at 9:00pm. I wish I could show you photos inside but the pub was crowded and all my photos clearly show people’s faces which I don’t like to publish. This was probably my favorite… or maybe by this time I was feeling no pain. It was very friendly and welcoming. I could see making this my personal pub if I was living in the area.
So I said goodbye to B. At 9:00pm it was still light enough for me to feel safe walking back to the hotel. In any case, I did feel safe while I was in Worthing.
It was another fantastic day in Worthing. I was definitely falling in love with the place.
I met my friend M the first evening in Worthing and we walked out on to the pier to see this spectacular sight.
So the burning question is, can you go back again?
I decided to answer that one way or the other.
Fishing area on the Worthing Pier.
Worthing, Sussex, on the south coast of England was the last place my parents and I lived before emigrating to the US the first time. At this point we had already lived in Brighton (Sussex) and Argentina and Hove (Sussex). So it was with relief that at the age of eight I thought we had settled into a good life in Worthing. But not to be!
At the age of twelve I was uprooted once again to move to Florida, USA. We arrived in New York on the Queen Elizabeth. And one day I should write a story about that!
We lived in Tampa and then Clearwater and then Tampa again. After that we moved to Houston and then back to Tampa, or was it Clearwater? I began to lose track after a while!
Looking east from the Worthing Pier. At first I was having trouble with east and west!
Worthing shuts down around 6:00pm. A few restaurants and pubs remain open but shops, forget it!
Then we moved to Los Angeles, California. That was quite a trek and some wild and strange experiences. I should write stories about that too!
We moved around to several neighborhoods which meant different school districts. My dad never seemed to take into account that moving me around from school to school to school to school to school to school would have any affect on my life…
This seagull was just about the only resident we encountered on the streets in the evening.
Then we moved back to England. First to Norwich in East Anglia, then to London.
I was expecting zombies to appear any minute on the empty streets.
Then back to Los Angeles where my parents finally settled. And I graduated from high school. At that point I counted I had been to fifteen schools! Very few people believe me when I say that most of my teenage years are a total fog!
For several years now I have thought about Worthing. What would my life had been like if we had stayed there, or at least in England? I fantasized I would I have attended the University of Sussex and attained a degree in art history. Or anthropology. Would I have lived the life I was supposed to live instead of never knowing who I was?
Who can say? Certainly not me. Maybe I would have been hit by a train and never made it to adulthood. I can never know what my other life would have been. But I am grateful for who I am now.
Stay tuned for the rest of my adventures in Worthing and Brighton!