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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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Who knew there was so much to do in the Valley

San Fernando Valley

My friend KL lives in Northridge in the San Fernando Valley. Better known as “The Valley,” it is part of the vast city of LA. The City of Angels is cut in two by the Santa Monica Mountains… the Los Angeles Basin to the south, the Valley to the north. Glad we have that out of the way.

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San Fernando Valley

Generally speaking, most of our adventures together take place in the basin part of the city. KL either drives to Culver City via the 405 (San Diego Freeway) or she takes the Orange Line to the Red Line, I take the Expo Line to the Red Line and we meet downtown. I have been promising to come out to her house for quite a while, so Saturday was the day.

I had recently taken Cinnamon Girl in to be serviced, and she was raring to go. I was surprised that the 23-mile trip via the 405 took only a little over 30 minutes on a Saturday morning. Just for the heck of it I checked the time it would take right now at 6:30pm on a Wednesday night and according to Google it would take 2 1/2 hours…. yikes!!!

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We changed cars and armed with my point & shoot camera, off we went on our Valley Adventure. First stop was the Valley Relics Museum. What a kick, is the best way to describe it. From their website:  The collection includes rare documents, photographs, vintage neon signs, post cards, year books, negatives, clothing, books, art, automobiles and bicycles from the valleys past.

San Fernando Valley

I have a past with the Valley which I won’t go into here (maybe another blog post). Nudie Cohn was a fixture in the Valley until his death in 1984. I saw him driving down the street in his Cadillac. Yes, those are horns (steer, I think) and a pistol on the hood of the car. He designed flamboyant cowboy outfits for the stars.

My partner at the time was into cowboy hats and boots which he wore with his business suits, and we shopped at Nudie’s. Until recently I still had a couple of “cowgirl” shirts and belts. I loved shopping there.

San Fernando Valley

The Palomino in North Hollywood was the best known country music club in LA for decades. We went there to see the best country singers of the time. Gosh, this museum brought back all kinds of memories from another era of my life… one of the benefits of being old is that there are eras!!!

San Fernando Valley

Back in the car we drove through the Santa Susana Pass towards Simi Valley. At this point we were heading out of Los Angeles and into Ventura County.

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KL had a vague recollection of a park somewhere in this area and wondered if it was still there. As you can see from this photo it was a beautiful, clear February day, although the temperature was getting up there. We have been experiencing temps in the high 80s F (about 31° C) the past few days in the city… and in the valleys the temps are always higher.San Fernando Valley

Amazingly, we rounded a corner and there was the directional sign for Corriganville, thataway. This park played many roles in the days of Hollywood western movies. Such as Dodge City, Tombstone and the Lone Ranger’s ranch.

San Fernando Valley

Nowadays it’s a place for hiking or strolling. Most of the buildings used in the movie sets burned to the ground in the 1970s.

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As nice as this place was, we had to hit the road again back to the San Fernando Valley.

San Fernando Valley

We were getting hungry so KL asked me if I would eat soul food. Love it!

San Fernando Valley

She introduced me to Les Sisters Southern Kitchen & BBQ in Chatsworth. They bill themselves as New Orleans and Southern Style cooking. As you can see, the decor was charming.

les sisters

We ordered from the lunch menu and both decided on the catfish with hush puppies and coleslaw. When catfish is on the menu, as far as I am concerned, there is no other choice.

We wondered if the lunch portions would be enough food as we were both starving. Oh my goodness! This catfish filet was enough for two people and I cannot imagine how much food the dinner portion must contain.

I was first introduced to catfish when I was working in Arkansas in the 1980s. Ever since then I have compared all other catfish to the delectable dish I ate there. I have to say, I have finally found catfish equal to my memory of the catfish I first ate in Arkansas. This was cooked so perfectly with succulent, juicy fish on the inside and light, crisp batter on the outside. I may have to order it and have somebody drive it over to the Westside for me, it is that good!

San Fernando Valley

Our bellies well and truly taken care of, we made a pit stop back at KL’s house. My hat had gone missing but I was happy to find it in the gutter next to my car, protected from the strong winds by the wheel. I must have dropped it on the way out.

There was an obligatory few minutes of playing fetch with Cindy. I’m not a dog person but Cindy is very sweet, more like a cat. When I sat down she jumped in my lap and licked my face.

As we were in the neighborhood, we visited a couple of open houses. In my own neighborhood I always enjoy being a lookie loo. You can buy a lot more real estate for your dollar in this neck of the woods but prices are catching up everywhere.

San Fernando Valley

Our final leg of the adventure included a stop at the Museum of the San Fernando Valley. This museum was interesting in a totally different way from the first one we visited. The Relics museum was all about pop culture. This is attempting to be a little more cultural with exhibits on art, architecture, design and history.

San Fernando Valley

We were greeted at the door by a very affable and knowledgeable gentleman. Some of the artifacts displayed in the museum were from his own home. He pretty much ended up giving us a private tour of the museum.

San Fernando Valley

This model of the 1960 Stahl House, located in the Hollywood Hills above the Sunset Strip, intrigued me. Our guide informed us that there are public tours of the house which aside from its architectural significance affords spectacular views over the city. I am signing up.

I learned a lot on this tour of the Valley thanks to my friend KL. And I’m sure Cinnamon Girl enjoyed getting out of the garage.

The trip home back over the hill took one hour and ten minutes with Saturday evening traffic and an accident by the Getty Center. But CG and I made it back to Culver City in one piece, which is always the goal.

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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Colin Firth at the Pig ‘n Whistle

Pig 'n Whistle Colin FirthBefore our tour of Forever Hollywood Cemetery last Sunday (see my previous blog post here), my fellow tour guides met at the Pig ‘n Whistle for lunch. Located on Hollywood Boulevard near the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the restaurant has a quasi British Pub ambience. There is a Pub menu sporting items such as bangers and mash, fish ‘n chips and shepherd’s pie.

Pig 'n Whistle

But I decided to go for the Mahi Mahi covered in mushrooms on a bed of fresh spinach leaves. There was enough spinach for a week and as much as I love the stuff I could only eat half of it. I hated to waste it but I really didn’t fancy carrying a bag of spinach through the cemetery or on the bus home!

Pig 'n Whistle

Pig 'n Whistle

The Pig ‘n Whistle is now a chain restaurant but this is the original, located here since 1927 and is a Los Angeles Historic Landmark #37.

Pig 'n Whistle

Our hostess gave us a short talk on the history of the restaurant. She was standing in front of a confessional booth that is now used as a photo booth. I imagine a lot could go on in there that would require a confession!!! It’s Hollywood, you know…

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Pig 'n Whistle

The restaurant boasts a fabulous decorative ceiling. As plaster ceilings made to look like wood were very popular in the 1920s I assumed this was the case here. However, the website states the ceilings really are carved wood so that is very impressive indeed.

I had a terrible time with the lighting, as you can see. With bright light pouring in from outside, artificial light inside alternating with dark areas, the light meter on my camera was going crazy. I could have experimented but I was there for lunch, not to take magazine quality photos. So we will have to live with it.

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pig 'n whistle

As always, the light fixtures caught my attention. These would look so great in my living room.

Pig 'n Whistle

Stairs to the mezzanine which looks like it would be a great place for a private party… I’m just guessing.

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Pig 'n Whistle

A couple of shots of our merry group. A few people decided to skip the lunch and meet us at Hollywood Forever. But I have wanted to eat a meal at the Pig ‘n Whistle for a long, long time so I took the opportunity. I would love to go back when I can sit at the bar and order a good old British G & T  (gin ‘n tonic).

So by now I am sure you are asking, what the heck does Colin Firth have to do with all of this? 2011 was the Year of Colin Firth. Not only did he win an Oscar but also a Golden Globe for Best Actor in “The King’s Speech.” And he was laid to rest on the Hollywood Walk of Fame just outside the Pig ‘n Whistle… well, at least his star was laid in the sidewalk. This is a coveted spot as it has become the unofficial Brit location, home to the stars of other British luminaries such as Emma Thompson, Helen Mirren and Malcolm McDowell.

I’m trying to figure out how I can qualify for a star and come up with the necessary $30,000 for upkeep.

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!