RMW: the blog

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


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Canadian Rockies – Day Six – Banff to Jasper

Moraine Lake

On the sixth morning we left Banff to move on to Jasper. We visited two beautiful lakes. First was Moraine Lake in the Valley of the Ten Peaks.

Next on the agenda was Lake Louise, filled with turquoise colored water from Victoria Glacier. Click on image below for slide show:

We bought a salad and sandwich at the Fairmont Chateau than found a bench along the Lakeshore Trail to sit and eat lunch taking in this magnificent view.

In the afternoon we drove along Icefields Parkway to Jasper. On the way we stopped to look at waterfalls, Wolf Lake and the Athabasca Glacier. Click below to start slideshow:

At the end of the journey we entered Jasper Park, Canada’s largest national Park at 4,200 square miles (1,622 sq km). We checked into Jasper House Bungalows on the shore of the Athabasca River, my favorite hotel of the entire trip. We were there for two nights but I could have stayed there for a week!

Unfortunately, the amber-colored trees were the result of pine beetle.

We fell asleep listening to the river outside our window, ready for another adventure the next day.

 

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Deck the halls of DTLA

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Los Angeles City Hall at right mirrored with Christmas tree

Thanks to my friend SB for walking around Downtown Los Angeles (otherwise known as DTLA) with me today. It’s no secret I love downtown and I especially love it at Christmas… otherwise know as “The Holidays.” As anybody who knows me is aware, I embrace all religions and follow none. But I was brought up with Christmas, so that’s the way it is!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

The above photo advertises El Dia de Los Muertos which is celebrated at Grand Park with installations honoring the dead, a Mexican tradition. The N.Y.E.L.A. poster is for the New Years Eve party hosted at Grand Park. At right is the reflection of the fountain.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

A reflection in a window of the fountain with Christmas decoration on the left half. I always love Christmas with palm trees! After being too hot, today the temperature was around 70F (21C), my perfect temperature!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We walked over to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. This was the window of the gift shop. We assumed the colorful tubes represent the pipes of the organ in the hall. And you can see the reflection of City Hall peeking up behind the pipes.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Decorations in the window of the gift shop with reflections of clouds and palm trees. How Southern California is this?

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

The exterior of the Broad Museum mirroring a reflection of the building next to it.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We walked over to California Plaza to look at the decorations. The Angels Flight train was coming up the track.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

City Hall in the background.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas trees reflected in the pool at California Plaza.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas tree and wreath inside the building with reflections from outside.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Another tree inside lobby of a building with reflections from outside. Obviously I’m obsessed with reflections!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Decorations inside the lobby, yes, with more reflections!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Looking upwards from California Plaza

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Next we moved on to Grand Central Market. Loved this neon ad for Frontier Whiskey!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Grand Central Market Christmas Tree

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

One Bunker Hill didn’t disappoint with their decorations. But the coffee bar was closed for the weekend.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations
One Bunker Hill is one of my favorite buildings any time of the year.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

A very decent tree at the US Bank Building, the “real” tallest building in LA.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

We then transported ourselves over to the Biltmore Hotel. We had lunch there at Smeraldi’s. We each ordered the mushroom bisque.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Absolute heaven. And we split the prawn sandwich. Equally as good. Just enough food. Would do that again for sure!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

I adore the Biltmore. I could live there!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Now this is what I call a Christmas tree. The photo really doesn’t do it justice. Sorry.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations
They do a really great “tea” in the afternoons.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Christmas in LA cannot be complete without a visit to the skating rink at Pershing Square. The little kids have “penguins” to hold on to. It’s great to see them fall and get up again and still enjoy themselves. A lesson there for all of us!

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Looking up from Pershing Square.

los angeles downtown holiday decorations

Pacific Mutual always has some good decorations. I love all the 1920s buildings in downtown but this one is special to me as when I did my LA Conservancy training this was the building I had to present in order to become a docent. It’s hard for me to believe now but I was so nervous I almost decided to quit the program before I had to give my talk. Glad I didn’t!

After this we visited the brand new Wilshire Grand Hotel. We took the elevator up to the lobby on the 70th floor. I had a bad vertigo attack looking out of the windows as there are no railings to hold on to. Why not??? In any case it was horribly hazy from all the fires so I could not have taken any photos anyway. But it would certainly be an impressive view on a clear day. Some other time, for sure!


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Feline Friday – #52 – in their comfort zones

Pharoah, Freddie and Frankie

Frankie

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Pharoah

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Freddie

If they weren’t so busy napping in their favorite places, Frankie, Pharoah and Freddie would all want to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah or whatever wonderful holiday you wish to celebrate this time of year!

And for a little holiday cheer, I found this 2015 ad for Sainsbury’s (a British supermarket) on YouTube, hope you enjoy it!

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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December on the Venice Canals – part one

venice canals

In December I made several trips to the Venice Canals and Venice Beach for a walking tour I was working on.

venice canals

I was happy to see some people had their Christmas decorations up.

venice canals

And unlike my visit in June when it was dark and dismal and the canal was in the process of being dredged (see post here), the sun was out and everything was looking cheery.

venice canals

This ladybug was having a good day too!

venice canals

Even Yoda and Darth Veda were in the holiday spirit!

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venice canals

But I wasn’t too sure about these two snowy egrets!

venice canals

However, this fella seemed to be enjoying the sunshine.

venice canals

One of the things I appreciate about the canals as a photographer is all the reflections… and the juxtaposition of the boats.

venice canals

And the variety of architecture is always fun to photograph.

venice canals

Giant candy canes growing right out of the bushes.

venice canals

Too bad we can’t have holiday decorations all year round.

venice canals

But we do have snowy egrets posing for the camera in every season.

venice canals

It wouldn’t be Christmas without the poinsettias.

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venice canals

Don’t mess with the ducks… the residents of the canals are especially protective of them.

venice canals

This palm tree could use a trim. They need to be manicured on a regular basis or the fronds will drop in the wind.

I wrote the names of my cats on a scrap of paper and left it on this pet tree.

venice canals

venice canals

I’ll be posting more random photos from my December visit from time to time.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins unless otherwise noted. No commercial usage without express permission. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Joy to the Hills of Beverly

rodeo drive, beverly hills

Last week I ended up in Beverly Hills so I decided I might as well take some photos of the holiday decorations on Rodeo Drive. This is one place in LA that tourists stand a chance of actually sighting a celebrity. Unfortunately, I am hopeless at recognizing them on the street. So while Angelina and Brad or Kim and Kanye could well have been shopping for gifts, I was too intent on taking pictures of the decorations to notice. Sorry folks…

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
At this point I was walking along Wilshire at Camden, just one block from Rodeo.


Closer, closer…

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
Almost there…

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

Ta da… at the corner of Wilshire and Rodeo in the heart of Beverly Hills. Note two jewelry stores waiting to greet you: Tiffany‘s and Stephen Webster. I could have picked up a bauble or two but I was on the hunt for other treasure.

Like this colorful tree with a handsome toy soldier.  This is on Two Rodeo, a cobble stone shopping block with no cars allowed.

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
The architect did a nice job on Rodeo Two which is designed in an Italianate style.

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
Just a good place to sit and watch the tourists.

Rodeo Drive, Beverly HillsNow we are on Rodeo Drive proper. A new Louis Vuitton emporium is being constructed behind this façade, opening next year. Needless to say, I can’t wait. (Uh, I don’t think so…)

Rodeo Drive, Beverly HillsAt the corner of Rodeo Drive and Two Rodeo. This is where every self-respecting tourist wants to have their photo taken. Hey, why not…

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

At left you see people boarding the sight-seeing trolley that takes you around Beverly Hills, including the residential areas and the Beverly Hills Hotel (The Pink Palace).

Now, this is kind of a cute idea that went a little wrong. I think it’s fun to see crystal chandeliers hanging on Rodeo Drive. And I realize they wanted to protect them from the elements. But these clunky glass cases really spoiled the effect. Surely, Beverly Hills could come up with a better way… some kind of a seamless bubble maybe… okay, you have a whole year to think about it… I’ll be back next year to check it out.

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills

Rodeo Drive, Beverly HillsNice red and white plant choices. Poinsettias, snapdragons and cyclamens.

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
You’ll just have to imagine how great this all looks lit up at night.

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills
And for our finale, the House of Bijan with red bows and pine boughs entwined in the red geraniums. I recommend clicking on the House of Bijan link for a peak inside the showroom which is a blast of yellow.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Downtown for the holidays

downtown christmas decorations

It was a rather gloomy, hazy day today but I got myself on the train to go downtown anyway. I like to go this time of year to wander around and look at the holiday decorations. Above is one of the Christmas trees at Grand Park with Los Angeles City Hall in the background. I did the best I could to bump up the blue sky but it just wasn’t there.

downtown christmas decorations

The shocking pink color scheme of the tree matches the color of the chairs and tables throughout the park.

downtown christmas decorationsThis is my favorite photo of the day. A selfie with City Hall behind me reflected in the pink ball.

downtown christmas decorations
I always like a cigarette that can tell a good joke!

downtown christmas decorationsTrees at the midpoint of the park adorned with gifts.

downtown christmas decorationsThe Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain at the north end of Grand Park with another Christmas tree.

Arthur J. Will Memorial FountainIt wouldn’t be Christmas without palm trees.

Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center hiding behind the tree. The Music Center is north of Grand Park, across Grand Avenue. The Music Center actually just celebrated its 50th birthday. I should do a post on that.

Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain

Another selfie!

Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain
Looking back at City Hall.

Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain

downtown christmas decorations

I was disappointed there was no tree at the Music Center this year but I guess Grand Park made up for it. However, the area was festively decorated.

Arthur J. Will Memorial FountainAnd a nice bow on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

downtown christmas decorationsMoving south on Grand Avenue I saw these trees inside the lobby at California Plaza. They came out pretty well despite all the reflections on the glass.

downtown christmas decorations

California Plaza really came through in a big Christmassy way. There were some kiddies running around in great excitement at this display.

downtown christmas decorations

 
Note the train running around the base of the display. I love trains whether real or scale model.

downtown christmas decorations
I also love reflections.

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A beautiful purply tree inside the Wells Fargo Center.

downtown christmas decorations
Purple happens to be my favorite color so if there’s anything better than a purple Christmas tree, it’s two purple Christmas trees!

Wells Fargo Plaza building
And so you don’t think I’m playing favorites with Wells Fargo, the Bank of America Plaza across the street sports these planters with beautiful red, white and gold begonias and poinsettias.

downtown christmas decorations
Red and white begonias seem to be very popular all over the city this year.
downtown christmas decorations
At this point I was about decorated out. But I was happy that I made the effort to capture a little holiday spirit.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Setting up for el Dia de los Muertos at Los Angeles Grand Park

grand park dia de los muertos

With the Culver City Art Group 18th Holiday Art Show looming less than a week away on November 9, yesterday I decided to take the train downtown to Grand Park to see if I could find anything worth photographing to enter into the show. My kiln went kaput recently and as I don’t have the time or the money to get it fixed, this year, instead of ceramic tiles, I am showing photos. I am looking at it like the universe is shoving me in a different direction. So I am going with the shove!

grand park dia de los muertos

Lo and behold, when I emerged from the train station I could see preparations were going on for some kind of event. I soon realized it was a Dia de los Muertos celebration. I was there around 11:30am but the party was not due to start until 3:00pm (going on into the night) so I didn’t get to see the full effect. Entrance and exit to and from the park would have been closed down by then anyway so it was a good thing I was there beforehand.

grand park dia de los muertos

According to Wikipedia: “Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de Muertos) is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where the day is a bank holiday. The celebration takes place on October 31, November 1 and November 2, in connection with the Christian triduum of Hallowmas: All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.”

You’ll notice the use of a lot of marigolds in the altars. The Aztecs believed that the smell was strong enough to raise the souls of the dead so they could come back to join in the festivities.

grand park dia de los muertos

I’m hoping I can make some kind of collage from these photos for my entry in the Members’ Theme (Abstract Patterns) or I may decide to go with what I already have. We’ll see, as time is running out!

There were so many interesting altars it was difficult to choose only certain ones, but below is a slide show gallery of some random picks. Click on any photo to start the show.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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It’s pumpkin time at Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch

Shawn's Pumpkin Patch, Culver City

Yesterday my mother’s assisted living group visited Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch in Culver City (at Centinela and Washington).

Since the patch sprung up on that corner a few weeks ago I have passed by several times on the bus or in my car and told myself I have to stop and visit. It looked like so much fun. But as I was always on my way somewhere and running late (well, for me “late” means arriving on time instead of early… I just hate being late anywhere for any reason)… I did not stop.

So when I found out the gang was going to view the pumpkins I signed my mother up for the excursion. In any case it’s important for her to get out into the world once in a while! And I enjoy going on outings with the other residents.

Here are a few pics of Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch. There were a lot of kids enjoying themselves. Several school buses pulled up while we were there. I imagine the pumpkins will be there through Thanksgiving. Sadly, I am told that the pony ride had to be removed which greatly disappointed a lot of children who were looking forward to it.

So take your kids, whether they are five years old or ninety-five years old!

A little pumpkin trivia. Pumpkins are not a vegetable. Because they contain seeds they are classified as a fruit.

According to allaboutpumpkins.com “A pumpkin is a member of the cucurbit (gourd) family. The cucurbit family includes pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, luffas, watermelons and melons. Most of the plants in this family are vines, however there are a few exceptions. There are four main species. MaximaPepoMoschata and Mixta (also known as argyrosperma).”

I have to admit that pumpkin is not one of my favorite flavors. At least not when it is in a dessert like pie or ice cream. However, lately I have been getting into eating other kinds of winter squash that I purchase at the farmers’ market. So maybe I’ll buy a pumpkin next week and see what I can do with it to make it edible.

In the meantime, more photos. As you know, just click on a photo to get the slide show started.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and link to One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 


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Pre-July 4th fireworks at Santa Monica College

santa-monica-college-fireworksL is one of my oldest LA friends. We were architectural draftsmen/women/people, whatever the politically correct terminology is these days, way way back before computers. She is one of those friends I see maybe twice a year in a good year. But when we do get together it’s like, didn’t we just see each other last week? Anyway, she lives in Santa Monica and invited me, along with a couple of other friends, to the Santa Monica College fireworks display.

The Santa Monica College display always takes place the Saturday night before July 4th. This was my 3rd outing to this display.

The Santa Monica fireworks were a staple of my life every July 4th when I lived at the beach and the fireworks were shot off from a barge at the end of the pier. But over the years the crowds became more rowdy. Drugs and alcohol took their toll. Gangs too. It became not safe.

santa-monica-college-fireworks

The City of Santa Monica moved the show to some ungodly hour in the morning like 5:30 or 6:00 (I don’t remember exactly) figuring the gang bangers, the druggies and the boozers wouldn’t show up at that time of day. But nobody else wanted to either.

So the latest incarnation is at the college where security guards can keep a tight lid on things. So tight that the lady in front of me in the line going in had brought an opened bottle of Italian dressing for her salad. The top was removed and passed along the line for everybody to sniff it! I couldn’t help myself. I commented loudly enough that the line of security personnel could hear me. “You know, sometimes it’s just salad dressing!” They even closely inspected my UNopened bottle of Fiji water…  Whatever!

We arrived about 7:30pm for the 9:00pm show. It was a balmy night. We spread our tarps (okay, shower curtains) and blankets out on the astro turf. The sound of the country rock band blared raucously out of the speakers. We shouted to hear each other.

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Above is my self-portrait of my “shadow-self.” I think this should be in a show at the Museum of Contemporary Art!

I had thought to bring my dSLR to try my hand at taking photos of the fireworks. I read all the instructions and suggestions. But, along with the fact that I hadn’t even figured out how to mount my camera on my new tripod, I decided I really didn’t want to carry all that equipment. So I whipped out my phone instead. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be taking photos on my phone!

But a few weeks ago, after my old cell phone dropped yet another business call, I realized the time had come to sign up for a grownup cell phone. A smartphone. Of course, now it has already become a part of my life. This was the first outing for my Samsung Galaxy S4 phone as a camera. Just about all my friends rave about their iPhones so I had to be different. Really, I’m just not a big fan of Apple products. Each to their own.

I turned on the camera and flipped through all the menus. There are more options than on my Canon T3i dSLR. Okay, I’m exaggerating… just a little. I settled on the night setting. One of the reasons I didn’t want to bring the Canon was so that I could relax and enjoy the fireworks without worrying about getting perfect photos. I was happy with the idea that I would merely take a few snapshots for memories.

santa-monica-college-fireworks

People had brought light sticks, so when the lights went down this is what it looked like around me.

I had thought to bring my DSLR to try my hand at taking photos of the fireworks. I read all the instructions and suggestions. But, along with the fact that I hadn't even figured out how to mount my camera on my new tripod, I decided I really didn't want to carry all that equipment. So I whipped out my phone instead. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be taking photos on my phone!

Ah, the moment we had been waiting for. The band packed up and the real show began.

I had thought to bring my DSLR to try my hand at taking photos of the fireworks. I read all the instructions and suggestions. But, along with the fact that I hadn't even figured out how to mount my camera on my new tripod, I decided I really didn't want to carry all that equipment. So I whipped out my phone instead. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be taking photos on my phone!

Now, I am by no means claiming these are the most fabulous shots you have ever seen of fireworks. But I let my imagination off the leash and let it run wild.

santa-monica-college-fireworks

I am always fascinated by telescope photos of the birth of nebulae. The way these photos came out reminded me of those stellar nurseries of clouds of dust and gas.

santa-monica-college-fireworks

I can look backwards in time and see stars being born billions of light years away.

santa-monica-college-fireworks

Planets and suns and galaxies spinning out of the gaseous mass and into the universe.

santa-monica-college-fireworksHurling through the cosmos.

santa-monica-college-fireworksBillions and billions and billions of stars.

santa-monica-college-fireworksThe new planets being formed by volcanoes and earthquakes.

santa-monica-college-fireworks

Ribbons of energy spewing forth into the emptiness to form new life.

santa-monica-college-fireworks

After shooting the first few minutes of the show I was dizzy. I turned off the camera, sat back, and enjoyed the fireworks for themselves.

At the finale I wanted to grab some shots but after fumbling around in the dark for a few seconds I realized that was not going to happen and I was about to miss the ending. So I let it go. I can still see it in my head if not on my camera phone… and that is fine with me.

Please click on all the photos for a larger view.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, please check with us first for proper usage. Thanks!

 


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My favorite time of year at Culver City’s Holy Cross Cemetery

culver-city-holy-cross-cemetery-2012

Holy Cross Cemetery is one of my favorite places to walk. Some of the hills are quite steep, some a little more gentle. The views are always spectacular. And even on a foggy or smoggy day when it’s hard to see the mountains or the ocean, there are the beautiful trees to look at.

culver-city-holy-cross-cemetery-2012

But my favorite time of year is around Christmas. Holy Cross is a Catholic Cemetery and therefore quite a few hispanic people are spending eternity in the ground… at least their bodies are. The nice part of their belief system is that the deceased continue on as members of the family and are commemorated as such.

culver-city-holy-cross-cemetery-2012

So at Christmas the graves are decorated just as if the corpses lying beneath the grass can appreciate the ribbons and flowers and baubles placed there by their relatives. I think it’s a lovely tradition. Whole families will set up folding chairs, have picnics and enjoy music. It’s like they are saying, yes you have left this earthly realm but you are still alive with us.

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Although I walk around the cemetery during the year as it is a convenient stop for me on the way home, I make a special effort to drive over there at this time of year.

culver-city-holy-cross-cemetery-2012

The sad part is the section reserved for babies and children. What could have happened to a three-month-old baby or a five-year-old boy or a nineteen-year-old young lady just starting her life?

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One of my favorite spots is the Grotto filled with votive candles. Over the years I stopped there many times asking the Universe for favors.

culver-city-holy-cross-cemetery-2012

Then I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer say you can’t use the Universe (or God or the Creative Force, or whatever you want to call it) like an ATM machine expecting to get something out of it all the time. That made me stop and think.

culver-city-holy-cross-cemetery-2012

My life completely changed when I started being grateful for everything in my life rather than asking for things I didn’t have, which merely emphasized what was missing. Now my glass is half full instead of half empty. In fact, it is full to the top.

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So, even though I still have my bad days, now when I walk through the cemetery I feel fortunate that I survived this long and can walk among the grave stones rather than being buried under one.

culver-city-holy-cross-cemetery-2012

culver-city-holy-cross-cemetery-2012

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(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)