RMW: the blog

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


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Feline Friday – #71 – cooling, composing and being contrary

Frankie and Freddie cooling off in the breeze.

We’ve had some heat lately. I don’t use the a/c because my place is built like a barn with high ceilings and an open loft, so fans and open windows to catch the breeze are a better idea. But when you are wearing a year-round fur coat, things can get a little warm.

So when the temps soar upwards Frankie and Freddie stay away from soft surfaces and choose glass and tile instead. One of their favorite spots is the glass top, “former” dining table next to the front balcony. I gave up using the table to eat on when F and F took it over years ago. I don’t mind, there are plenty of other places for me (and my human guests) to eat.

We live about five miles from the Pacific Ocean, so the air flows in through the sliding glass door and circulates out through the other windows and doors.

Freddie in his basket keeping an eye on things.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for some items to put together for a still life composition. I didn’t have to look far. I looked up and there was Freddie resting in one of his favorite places… the top of the tall armoire in the living room where I keep my art supplies. He can often be found inside the cabinet too as he gets his paw around the lower door and opens it easily.

This is a great cat place to take a nap as it affords a sweeping view of the living and dining area. And he can keep an eye on me as I sit in the loft too! The best part is Frankie is not a good jumper so he can’t follow Freddie up there when he is chasing him.

frankie freddie

Frankie taking ownership of the carrier I bought for Freddie.

Last week I took both Frankie and Freddie separately to the groomer to get their claws clipped. I bought this nice new carrier for Freddie but he refused to get in it. This is the medium size carrier but Freddie weighs 16 lbs (7.2 kg) so I admit it was a tad snug for him. I gave it a trial run before the day.

After forcing one leg in and then the other and then the first leg came out and then another leg in and then the tail and butt in and then another leg out and the tail out and the head in and the front legs out and the butt back in and then the tail and the back legs out and the front legs in…. and then the whole cat screeching across the floor… I gave up!

As soon as Freddie left the area, Frankie jumped in, curled up and took a snooze in there for the rest of the afternoon! One cat’s nightmare is another feline’s dream.

I had better luck with the older carrier. Although it’s the same length it’s a couple of inches higher so I had an easier time stuffing Freddie in it!

Usually Freddie is my Gentle Giant and makes no fuss over anything. Frankie is the more aggressive, less cooperative cat. But the roles were reversed. I was able to transport Frankie to the groomer without a peep out of him. Freddie howled the entire journey to the groomer and all the way home. He would not speak to me for the rest of the day!

Cats are contrary animals to say the least!

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Artsy friends at art show

art forum art show

Yesterday I took the Metro #733 rapid bus to Ocean Park (south Santa Monica) to attend the Venice Art Forum Group Show artist talk at the invitation of my friend Barbara Golbin.

I took several art classes with Linda Jacobson, the founder of the forum, centuries ago at UCLA when after years of doing no art I felt the need to get started again. She was instrumental in getting my creative juices flowing and I haven’t stopped since.

When I met Barbara the day of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and discovered she was an artist in hiding, I introduced her to the art forum. I dropped out but Barbara kept going.

I really love her artwork and I don’t say that lightly. She has her own definitive style and is not afraid to try new things.

art forum

Each artist was given the opportunity to talk about their art and what inspired them.

I love art and I never cease to be amazed by how each artist expresses themselves so uniquely.

Barbara likes flowers. How she interprets them is her own vision. I can spot one of her paintings a mile away in a crowd of thousands!

Below is the video I made of Barbara’s section of the talk:

I made this video with my point and shoot Canon G16 and at times I forgot I was shooting a video, therefore a few erratic moves!

art forum

Another artist I greatly admire is Carole Garland. She said not everybody enjoys realistic painting. I had to comment that her paintings are not realistic. They are HER impressions of a scene. I happen to love the Santa Monica Pier myself, which is depicted in these paintings.

She also has a series of paintings of downtown Los Angeles at the TAG Gallery which I plan to visit this coming Thursday.

So much art to see, so little time!

 


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Feline Friday -#70 – LA’s famous mountain lion P-22

P22

P-22

This is not P-22, obviously, but a similar mountain lion.

While I was at the Natural History Museum the other day to visit the Extreme Mammals exhibit, I saw the new display about P-22, the mountain lion who lives in Griffith Park.

From the Natural History Museum website:

In the hills of Griffith Park, a mountain lion roams. His name is P-22.

Born in the western Santa Monica Mountains, P-22 crossed both the 405 and 101 freeways, eventually reaching Griffith Park. He lives alone in this small territory by the Hollywood sign, surrounded and confined by the city of L.A. P-22 was first spotted by now NHMLA Citizen Science Coordinator Miguel Ordeñana in 2012 as part of the Griffith Park Connectivity Study, a joint effort of Cooper Ecological and the U.S. Geological Survey. 

P22

P-22, and other big cats like him, are often blamed for encroaching on people’s homes. The truth is, people are the one’s encroaching on the home of the mountain lions.

P22

This is a map of the LA area and the city these lions have to deal with. The dark red splodge at lower right shows P-22’s habitat. Basically he is caged in by the freeways all around him. Many cats have lost their lives trying to cross them.

P22

A closer look at P-22’s area. He lives in Griffith Park all by himself.

P-41 is also hemmed in by freeways all around.

P22

The inability to move around to other territories is the cause of inbreeding, as with P-19, who, having no choice, mated with her father. This doesn’t bode well for the survival of the species.

P-22

Wildlife crossings over the freeways have been proposed for years but so far nothing has been done. It isn’t just the big cats that suffer from being penned in, it’s all the species of animals, insects, plants that are stuck in small habitats. My answer is, let’s keep people trapped in their own neighborhoods and let the animals roam freely!

Just as important is the habitat of insects like the Delhi Sands fly. If just one small part of the eco-system is endangered it causes a domino effect for all of us.

One fly, one species… and then the human species. We live in dangerous times!

 


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Last day of Extreme Mammals

natural history museum

It’s been a while since I posted anything on WordPress. Several reasons, which I won’t go into! Let’s just say I needed a rest.

So many things have happened since my last post that I decided to work backwards with the latest happenings first, for the most part.

I seem to have a habit of leaving things to the last minute. This includes museum exhibits. Often I attend exhibits on the last day even though I know about them months in advance. So, my visit to Extreme Mammals at the Los Angeles County Natural History Museum (NHM for short) was on September 10, the last day.

I didn’t know for sure I was really going up until about an hour before I left for the train. But as I’m a member I hate to miss any exhibits that are part of my membership. So I went on my own (except for the company of my Inner Child, of course).

From the website:  For over 200 million years, mammals have inhabited the Earth. In this epic evolutionary journey, mammals lived with—and even ate—dinosaurs, swam in the ocean, flew in the air, and became the fastest land animals of all time!

natural history museum

The photo at the top of the page is of an Indricotherium, the largest mammal to ever walk the earth. It weighed up to 20 tons and lived about 23 million years ago. However, a larger mammal lives today: the Blue Whale, ten to twenty times the size of the Indricotheriume . It can grow that large due to the buoyancy of water. The Blue Whale is the largest animal, mammal or otherwise, ever known!

natural history museum

Batodonoides was the smallest mammal, living about 50 million years ago. It could climb up your pencil (if you were around 50 million years ago and there were pencils) and was as light as a dollar bill.

As the sign states, there are more than 5,400 species of mammals alive today.

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This sign board  explains a lot!

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This Synthetocerus tricornatus doesn’t look terribly cuddly. In all instances, horns evolved in animals whose ancestors had no headgear at all.

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For millions of years plant-eating glyptodonts the size of cars roamed North and South America. Their closest living relatives are armadillos.

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This Macrauchenia was known for being very nosy… sorry…

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Yes, a walking whale!

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Mammoths living on the islands off the coast of Ventura (just north of Los Angeles) were half the size of mammoths on the mainland due to their isolation, lack of big predators and limited food resources.

 

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Jaws of a Columbian Mammoth and a Pygmy Mammoth.

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Ellsmere Island, a mere 600 miles from the North Pole, 50 million years ago. A great stopping place for a cruise.

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Beautifully preserved Scarrittia lived in Argentina 29 to 24 million years ago.

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Paleontologists have unearthed more than three million fossils at La Brea Tar Pits (next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, shells, and plants.

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Ninety-nine percent of all mammals and other species that have ever lived on Earth are extinct.

Pretty soon it’s going to be 100% including you and me! Maybe not quite 100%… the cockroaches will survive…

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Feline Friday – #69 – manicure, pedicure, pawicure… or a nap?

Frankie

I bought a corrugated cardboard scratcher pad for the felines last week. As soon as I put it down on the floor there was a flurry of fur scrambling for initiation rights. Frankie, being the Bully, claimed it as his before I could blink.

FreddieFreddie the Gentle Giant politely waited for the all-clear from Frankie before hopping aboard for his turn.

Frankie

But Frankie would have none of it and immediately scooted over to once again take possession of it for himself.

Frankie and Freddie

Now they seem to have settled into an amicable sharing arrangement. While they do use it to give their claws a manicure, or is it a pedicure… or maybe a pawicure, one or the other is often found napping on it. No worries, next week I’ll buy a second scratcher so no sharing necessary!

At top left you can see a flattened out packing box that Frankie appropriated to make his own scratcher.

Why didn’t I buy the corrugated cardboard before, you might well ask. I did have several around the house but about a year ago when Pharoah got sick and started to lose it, he preferred the scratch boxes instead of the litter boxes. I’ll say no more! Now that Pharoah has passed it is safe to introduce the scratchers again…. okay, you had to ask!

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 One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 


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Lotus Festival at Echo Park

echo park lotus festival

“Park Proud”

Another day, another adventure in Los Angeles!

Yesterday I joined several friends to celebrate the blooming Lotus plants at Echo Park, located approximately two miles from downtown LA. As usual, we all arrived by public transportation from all over the city. For me it was the Expo Line train to the #200 Metro bus up Alvarado to Sunset Blvd.

echo park lotus festival

This was the 37th annual festival. Echo Park Lake was closed for several years for rehabilitation. The festival started again just a few years ago. Every year the festival is hosted by a different country and this year it was the turn of Bangladesh.

You can read my blog post about the history of the park here.

echo park lotus festival

It was a pretty hot day yesterday… and humid… but it was a lovely day by the water. The lotus plants were lush and tall due to all the rain we had in the winter months and now the heat.

echo park lotus festival

echo park lotus festival

The dragonflies were enjoying themselves too.

echo park lotus festival

echo park lotus festival

echo park lotus festival

One of the highlights of the festival is the dragon boat races.  I’ve been to Echo Park many times to walk and take photos but this was my first time at the festival so I was delighted to finally see a dragon boat race! Click on a photo below for slideshow:

echo park lotus festival

The opening ceremonies were colorful and fun with a traditional Bangladesh puppet lion dance. Click on image below for slideshow:

This certainly worked up an appetite. I was hoping for some Bangladesh food but that didn’t pan out.

echo park lotus festival

But I certainly enjoyed my Korean BBQ squid. I also ordered a watermelon drink, not realizing it came with it’s own pool float! Now if I only had a pool…. but I’ll use it as a coaster.

echo park lotus festival

After lunch we had an enjoyable walk around the lake.

echo park lotus festival

The dragon boat races continued on throughout the day with various teams. It seemed that some teams were taking the race seriously, really out to win. Others were just having fun, which would be my option.

echo park lotus festival

I always enjoy festivals of any kind as they all have their own special flavor, like last month’s Summer Solstice parade in Santa Barbara. And coming up the end of this month is the Gilroy Garlic Festival, my all time favorite… stay tuned for my post about that!

If you’ve never visited Echo Park I certainly recommend the effort to get there… even if you can’t make it to the Lotus Festival…

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 One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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Feline Friday – #68 – farewell to Pharoah

pharoah cat

It never gets easier to say goodbye to beloved companions. Pharoah came to live with us in 2005 at six months old. He was a feral cat born at a truck stop in Fresno. The truck driver brought him to Los Angeles in the hope he would find a good home. I was told that at that young age he had already been fostered, adopted and rejected several times.

He was born with an autoimmune disease quite common with feral cats. It affected his entire body but manifested itself in his right eye. I won’t go into all the gory details but he had health problems all his life. I knew he wouldn’t live to a ripe old age.

But he made it to thirteen years old.

pharoah cat

He was named Pharoah because at the time I was studying Egyptian history and his favorite pose was an Egyptian sphinx. He was also the color of the Sahara Desert sand. So it all fit.

pharoah cat

As a frightened feral feline he more or less lived under the rocking chair in the bedroom for the first three weeks.

pharoah

But as he became more secure and ventured out into the vast realm of the house, he soon found some favorite places to rest and nap. He seemed to have an affinity for flowers and plants and would often pose next to them.

pharoah

pharoah

pharoah

Can you find the cat in the photo above? Look carefully! That’s Pharoah peeking over the planter. That was a favorite spot for watching the neighborhood to make sure all was well.

pharoah

Pharoah was a master of disguise. In the above photo he is blending into the planters on the deck. Do you see him?

pharoah

pharoah

Pharoah was able to nap in the strangest places. I would often find him sleeping with his head hanging down or a leg straddling the furniture… but I guess he was comfortable!

pharoah

pharoah

pharoah

But his favorite place of all was on the pillows on the loveseat by the living room window. I could always count on him to be there in the afternoon.

pharoah

Although Pharoah loved breakfast and dinner, his favorite snack in between meals was wheat and barley grass. I grow it for my own green drink. But don’t worry, I don’t share… the cats get the second growth.

pharoah

Like all my cats it was in his contract that he had to help out in the office. Turned out his talent was filing despite not being able to read.

pharaoh

And now, sweet Pharoah has ridden off into his final sunset. He passed away peacefully at home under the rocking chair, his safe place, on Sunday morning.

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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Summer Solstice in Santa Barbara

summer solstice festival

Seems like every couple of years I take a tumble. Some are more serious than others. This one happened last Friday. I had packing boxes lined up on the living room floor. I had just finished a good half hour workout with Richard Simmons when I turned around and hit one of the boxes with my right foot. My left foot had nowhere to go so couldn’t save me. Somehow I twisted around trying to get my balance and I landed kersplat on both knees on the hardwood floor! My left leg took the brunt of it. So I am walking on my trusty cane for a while!

summer solstice festival

However, that didn’t stop me from enjoying a planned adventure on Amtrak to visit Santa Barbara for the Summer Solstice Celebration the very next day. I rarely pop pills but I was thankful to have Tylenol left over from my last “trip” in Oregon two years ago when I managed to give myself a mild concussion.

summer solstice festival

On Saturday I was out of bed at 4:00 am. My friend picked me up at 6:00 am to drive to the Metro train station (as I couldn’t walk as I usually do). We met another friend there to take the Expo Line to the Red Line to Union Station where we met yet another friend.

summer solstice festival

The Amtrak train gave us quite a tour of Los Angeles, stopping at various stations along the way including (not in order) Van Nuys, Glendale, Burbank, Simi Valley, etc on the way to Chatsworth where we picked up seven more friends for a total of eleven. By the time we got to Chatsworth (Northwest Los Angeles County) we were advised the train was so full it was going to be standing room only so nobody could hog two seats! Everybody was headed to the festival.

summer solstice festival

Santa Barbara is approximately 100 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles and about 2.5 hours by train.

summer solstice festival

Upon arrival we headed straight for Moby Dick’s restaurant on the wharf which was a mere fifteen minute walk from the train station… or twenty five minutes for me on my cane! I had already decided I was ordering the seafood omelette with lobster, shrimp, crab and hollandaise sauce. It did not disappoint and although it was enough food for three people, I valiantly cleaned the plate all by myself.

summer solstice festival

I wish I could have taken more seascape photos but my normal modus operandi when walking with a group is to lag behind taking photos then run to catch up with the others. It’s hard to run with a cane. For one thing, even if I could, I would have ended up tripping over it!

summer solstice festival

From the website: 

Summer Solstice Parade began in 1974, as a birthday celebration for a popular artist and mime named Michael Gonzales. In subsequent years, their parade joined forces with a Summer Solstice Music Festival coordinated by Michael Felcher, sponsored by The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, staged at the Sunken Gardens to celebrate the longest day of year.

The Parade and Festival is the largest arts event in Santa Barbara County, drawing crowds of over 100,000 spectators from around the world. From these humble beginnings arose a celebration of life which, is like no other.

 

Not knowing how my legs would hold up, I couldn’t wander too far off the beaten path. So I just walked along State Street taking in the parade which was very enjoyable. I took several videos but didn’t know how to upload them to WordPress. So you’ll have to imagine the music and movement!

Click on an image below to start the slideshow.

On the trip back to LA the train was so crowded our group got to sit in Business Class. That is the way to travel. Plenty of room and leg rests like a Barcalounger. Perfect for my aching limbs.

I love traveling by train and I look forward to returning to Santa Barbara by Amtrak maybe next year on a non-festival day to see the rest of the city. It’s been about thirty years since I was there last.

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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Feline Friday – #67 – three big cats

LA Zoo big cats

I was at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens last week with a group of photographers. Guess which animals are my favorites. You got it, the big cats!

Freddie

Freddie says: If I was a big cat in a zoo I would demand my own cardboard box to take a nap in!

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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Feline Friday – #66 – inside outside

frankie

Frankie says it’s good to sit outside on the front balcony watching the birds and squirrels and people walking by.

But it’s most advisable once in a while to turn around and keep an eye on what’s going on indoors too. You never want to be taken by surprise.

Frankie

After an interlude on the balcony, it’s time to come indoors and keep fit with some resistance exercises. Push back legs against the wall with arms raised and teeth bared. The paper bag is an essential component as it allows some easy motion sliding around on the floor while keeping fur clean.

Yes, as a feline, it’s important to keep to a schedule every day. Indoor and outdoor activities must be carefully balanced with meals and naps.

Until next time, cheers, Frankie!

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!