RMW: the blog

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


My day in DTLA

carole garland

I’m not ashamed to admit I love downtown Los Angeles. So when I heard that Carole Garland was showing her paintings of downtown at the TAG Gallery on Wilshire Blvd (near the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) I had to go. I took the Culver CityBus line #1 to the Metro line #217.

TAG gallery

This was my first visit to TAG since the gallery moved from Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.

I really like the space. It gives the artists a chance to spread out. There’s also a second level.

The photo above is all Carole’s DTLA show.

Carole Garland

Los Angeles Union Station

It was difficult for me to pick her three best paintings. I just had to be arbitrary or I would have ended up showing you all of them!

Carole Garland

Bridge spanning the LA River

BTW, all Carole’s images are shown with her permission.

carole garland

The heart of downtown with new Wilshire Grand building in foreground as it was being constructed.

After this I jumped on the Metro #720 bus thinking it would take me along Wilshire Blvd all the way downtown. Surprise, it was only going to Vermont. Fortunately, the bus turned the corner and dropped us all off at the Wilshire/Vermont Red and Purple Line Station.

angel's flight

Looking upwards to the station at the top of the hill

That actually worked out better as I was able to take the Purple Line all the way to Pershing Square for my next adventure. Angels Flight, the world’s shortest railway, had reopened recently (this was September 20, 2017) and I wanted a ride. I won’t go into the whole history here. It’s been pretty rocky. You’ll have to Google it.

The price is one whole dollar for the ride. As I have a TAP card it only cost me 50 cents each way.

angels flight

I’ve ridden this little railway a million times over the years. I never get tired of it.

One Bunker Hill

Having gotten my jollies on Angels Flight (up and down), it was time for coffee. I had read an article in the LA Times (I subscribe to the digital version) that a coffee bar had opened in the lobby of one of my favorite buildings, One Bunker Hill. Don’t have to ask me twice!

One Bunker Hill

My coffee and the view from where I was sitting.

One Bunker Hill

The building was originally called the Southern California Edison Building when it opened around 1930. It was on the very first architectural tour I took with the Los Angeles Conservancy in 1988 and when I saw the interior I decided I had to become an architectural docent. So I took the training and led LAC walking tours for sixteen years.

One Bunker Hill

I think my little Canon point & shoot camera doesn’t do too bad of a job, does it?

One Bunker Hill

I love the subdued light that comes in through the pastel-colored window panes.

One Bunker Hill

This is the most elegant coffee bar I have ever had the pleasure of spending my time in.

One Bunker HillThe very friendly and personable barista.

When I was doing the tours I seem to remember there were something like 30 different kinds of marble used in the building. This was just before the Wall Street Crash of 1929 which hit the West Coast around 1930 as the building was opening.

One Bunker Hill

Travertine, a porous rock formed in surface waters. If you ever go to Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone, you will be walking on it as it is forming. A fabulous experience.

cabbage patch

So now it was lunchtime. I had read a review about Cabbage Patch so I decided to try it out. Mmmmm. I ordered two sides, mashed potatoes and cole slaw. Both were heavenly.

downtown la

I was so happy, sitting at my window table watching the world walk by. What a lovely day. I was so grateful for my life.

pershing squareI walked back over to Pershing Square to discover it was farmers market day. We have these pop-up markets all over the LA area on different days. I go to the Culver City farmers market on Tuesday afternoons to buy all my veggies and fruit.

downtown la

Biltmore Hotel, Library Tower,  Gas Company, California Plaza

And it was time to go home. Downtown is an endless source of enjoyment for me. This was a super day.



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!





Eating in the rain

 La Grande Orange Cafe


Some friends and I had planned to meet for lunch at La Grande Orange Cafe in Pasadena. Because of the flooding in my building I wasn’t sure if I could make it. Fortunately that was squared away in the morning and I was able to catch the Expo Line train to the Red Line and join some of the others at Union Station. From there we took the Gold Line to the Del Mar station where we met up with another friend.

I just love how we can all come from different areas in Greater Los Angeles and travel by train to our destination!

The cafe is part of the Del Mar station so we only had to walk a few footsteps in the rain once we debarked the train.

I asked G jokingly if we were going to ask for an outside table. The rain was really coming down at that point. The joke was on me. The restaurant was so crowded inside they seated us in the outdoor patio. I told the waitress the table had better be right under a heat lamp. It was. The waitress had to wipe the rain off our chairs before we could be seated!

La Grande Orange Cafe

Our table was sandwiched between the fireplace protected by a glass screen (photo above) and a heat lamp.  You can see one of the heat lamps in the photo at top.

The patio is under canopies but the precipitation managed to sneak through and every once in a while the rain spat on us… but in a very friendly way!

la grande orange cafe

My Bloody Mary and Huevos Rancheros more than made up for any bad weather. They were both excellent.

I am always happy when I decide to go out and do something as opposed to staying curled up on the sofa, which I easily could have done!

Back in Culver City the rain was coming down in Velociraptors and Tyrannosauruses as I left the train station. I thought about waiting for the bus but decided to take a chance on walking. I did a lot of puddle hopping but as the bus never passed me in the entire walk home I obviously made the right decision not to get soaked standing at the bus stop. Better to get soaked walking. And I did. Get soaked.

We have at least another day of rain. But by Wednesday the sun should be back and we’ll have a few dry days. I hope this isn’t the end of the wet stuff but it will be nice to have a chance to dry out.

Oh, and our flood… it was still a flood when I got home but the pump is doing a pretty good job… so we may get lucky and it won’t seep into the garages this time. Fingers crossed.

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!


Belated birthday bash

union station

Looks like the original ticketing area is being renovated. In the station’s previous hey day each of those window openings would have lines of people purchasing tickets. Now tickets are purchased in a less glamorous location… or mostly online!!!

It’s good to have the computer up and running again. Still haven’t re-installed all my programs or properly recalibrated my monitor but I’m slowly working on it… and I have my fingers crossed!

On Saturday my friend B and I visited Union Station… my favorite building in all of Los Angeles. B and I met a couple of decades ago when we were neighbors. She stayed put. I moved. But only about 1.5 miles away, so we are still almost neighbors!

Union Station

Looking through the waiting area to the trains at the end.

Her birthday is in June, mine in May. For several years we have been talking about taking the Expo and Red Lines to Union Station and eating at Traxx Restaurant to celebrate our mutual birthdays. Although we meet for dinner at least once a month, we never seemed to be able to make it to Traxx.

Union Station

To make a longer story short, we couldn’t get a reservation at Traxx Restaurant for the day we wanted. So we decided to take the train to Union Station anyway and improvise. Turned out to be a better situation than getting a reservation. The bar opened at 11:30 (ish) and we were the first customers!

Union Station

B suggested a Bloody Mary which sounded good to me! Tasted delicious so we ordered a second round. Well, we were celebrating our birthdays! To balance out the alcohol we shared shrimp tacos and chicken quesadilla. Perfect.

We sat there for a couple of hours people watching and gazing at the beautiful architecture. This is just how I had imagined it.

union station

In the waiting room there is a piano that anybody is invited to play. This guy was obviously a professional as (fortunately) his playing was definitely melodious. I imagined he was a studio musician having his moment in the spotlight!



Just looking around at the walls and ceiling from where we were sitting.

Los Angeles Plaza

It was hard to leave Union Station. Really I could have sat there all afternoon. But we needed to move on. We walked across the street to the Plaza area where people were dancing to a Latin beat.

Los Angeles Plaza

Then we watched as a group performed traditional Indian dances.

Methodist church

I’ve never been able to see inside the Plaza Methodist Church before. This was built in the 1920s. I learned that the Methodist church was the founding agent in Southern California for Goodwill Industries (where most of my unwanted “stuff” ends up).

We ambled through Olvera Street looking at the stalls and the stores. I’m always fascinated and intrigued by the Mexican goods available on this tourist street. No need to drive all the way to Tijuana!

Nuestra Reina de Los Angeles

We stepped across the street to Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles (Our Lady Queen of the Angels), the oldest existing church in LA, founded in 1781. The first Europeans, the Spanish, arrived in 1769. Everything changed!

Nuestra Senora

We couldn’t get into the main church. The door with the sign “Always Open” was locked. But I think the little chapel is much more interesting anyway.

Union Station

View of Union Station from La Plaza across the street

wilshire grand

The new Wilshire Grand which was “topped out” in March. It will replace the US Bank Building (Library Tower) as the tallest building West of Chicago. I’m sad about that but it had to happen one day.

I always appreciate the opportunity to show friends living in Los Angeles or visitors from faraway lands everything there is to see in this city. I have to say, it always amazes me how people who have lived here for decades, or were even born here, know so little about Los Angeles. But then it makes it so much more fun for me!

I’ve never trekked through the Amazon jungles or ridden a camel across the Saharan Desert, but I still consider myself to be an explorer. An urban explorer to be sure. But I certainly enjoy excavating every nook and cranny of my adopted city.

downtown los angeles

For those of you who know downtown, this is the newly re-opened The Bloc on 7th Street, across from the 7th Metro train hub, formerly the bricked-in enclave known as Macy’s Plaza

One interesting phenomena around Los Angeles these days is the redevelopment of the major shopping centers. At locations all over the city they are being transformed from closed-in fortresses to airy complexes open to the sky. What day did somebody wake up and say, hey, we have sunshine in LA, maybe customers could enjoy it while they are shopping!

Always worth peaking into Bottega Louie to salivate over the macaroons and other delightful pastries. No tasting now, just looking!

Our final destination in downtown this lovely afternoon was Clifton’s. As many times as I have been there since it’s re-opening, there is always one more soul who hasn’t visited yet. So I have to drag myself in there again.


We sat in the bar sipping an expensive glass of really bad Merlot. You don’t go there for the wine, evidently. But the ambience is definitely worth it as far as I am concerned. Another place I enjoy just sitting and people watching.

At this point B had a craving for apple pie à la mode. While I didn’t share that particular craving, we took the Expo Line back to Culver City and B drove her car over to the Marie Callender’s in West LA. As soon as I opened the menu my eyes were drawn to the tuna melt. The previous week with my other friend B (from England) I had a very disappointing tuna melt at what used to be my favorite restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier. I can no longer recommend it. But this tuna melt more than made up for it.

It was a happy ending to a beautiful day with a very good friend. What more can you ask for in life than that?

(Photos brought to you by my faithful point & shoot Canon G16 camera).

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!


Finding new places – the Endeavour


My friend B was here from London for a few days. I met him in the mid 1980s when he was based in Los Angeles. Since then he’s visited many times so he knows the city pretty well. That was my challenge, to find something new and different to show him.


Tiles on the underside of the shuttle

The space shuttle Endeavour turned out to be the perfect answer. Better yet, we took the Expo Line train which he had never ridden on. And the cherry on top was that just a couple of weeks ago, the shuttle fuel tank arrived at the California Science Center. (See my blog post here).


Final… and 25th… flight of the Endeavour.

I’ve seen the Endeavour a million times but I never fail to be excited that first second I walk into the hangar. It’s impossible to comprehend this beat up old vehicle chased around the planet at over 3,000 miles an hour!

The first time I saw the Endeavour was back in 2012. You can see my post here.

bob and rmw

I’m really terrible at taking photos of people and I forgot to take a photo of my friend on this visit. I know I have better photos but I can’t find them right now. This was taken in Spain 2001. I look a lot older now, but he never ages. All I remember about this was that I had a ghastly hangover and B insisted if I drank beer I would feel much better. I did not…

Getting back to the present, after the Endeavour, we jumped back on the Expo Line and then the Purple Line to MacArthur Park to have lunch at Langer’s. Another first for B… whoopee! I have mentioned this restaurant several times in my blog, and if you’ve been following along, you know I love the kippers and scrambled eggs. You can see my photo of said dish on this post.


Clifton’s bar area


Line outside Clifton’s the first month it re-opened

Back to downtown on the Red Line and we headed to Clifton’s Cafeteria. Clifton’s was closed for many years while the new owner renovated it. I’ll have to write a post about Clifton’s one of these days as it is an icon in Los Angeles. We had a beer at the bar.

central library

1930s Central Library with 1990s Library Tower behind



Really great rendering of the Central Library showing 1980s extension at right

Next stop was the Richard Riordan Central Library. My second favorite building in downtown Los Angeles (first: Los Angeles Union Station). You can see one of my posts about the library here.

downtown LA

At center is the newest and tallest (73 floors) building in downtown LA nearing completion.

We were experiencing a heat wave with record temperatures. So we just walked a few blocks and headed back to the train station.

We were meeting a mutual friend for dinner in Culver City. The next day we were riding to Santa Monica on the new extension of the Expo Line.

I felt really good that I was able to show B so many venues in downtown that he had not seen before!

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!






The giant Cheetos Puff sighting on our way to the pier

shuttle fuel tank

My friend K wanted to ride the new Expo Line extension to Santa Monica on Sunday. After my experience on Friday (see post here) I warned her the train would be stuffed to the gills but she didn’t believe me. And she wanted to go anyway.

At the Culver City station I mentioned we really would be better off riding to downtown LA first so we would have a better chance at a seat on the train. The train to downtown arrived so we jumped on it.

Friday was a day of milestones in Los Angeles. Not only the first day of the passenger train all the way to Santa Monica, but also the day the external fuel tank for the space shuttle arrived at Marina del Rey after its journey from New Orleans through the Panama Canal.

As we neared the California Science Center I scoured Exposition Park just in case there was a sighting of the fuel tank. Sure enough, peeking through the trees I saw the giant orange Cheetos Puff.  We had a split second to make a decision to jump off the train before the doors closed, which we did.external fuel tank

Apparently it was being readied to be housed in a temporary enclosure so we were lucky to see it outside. A new museum is being built for the Endeavour shuttle where the shuttle will be displayed upright with the fuel tank attached. This is the only fuel tank in existence so Los Angeles was fortunate to receive it from NASA. It weighs 66,000 lbs. (about 29,937 kilograms) and is as tall as a 15-story building.

We decided to eat lunch at the Science Center as I could imagine finding a place to eat in Santa Monica would be next to impossible with the hoards of people arriving on the Expo Line. Since Trimana took over the restaurant at the Science Center (and Natural History Museum) they have a pretty decent menu.

And absolutely the best mushroom veggie burger in the universe. I was sure I had taken a photo of it on a previous visit but I can’t find it anywhere on my computer. So now I guess I have to go back soon to order another one so I can take a photo. Rats, a blogger’s work is never done!

We finally made it to Santa Monica. As I predicted, the train was standing room only. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon and who could resist a train trip to the beach?expo line

We could see that throngs of people were lining the pier so we didn’t even attempt it. As our tummies were already full we were happy to turn around after a short walk and ride the rails back to Culver City. As it was only early afternoon most people were still enjoying Santa Monica so we had no problem boarding the train.

expo line

As it had been a pretty hectic three days for me: Expo Line to Santa Monica opening day on Friday, a visit to the Los Angeles Zoo on Saturday (blog post coming up) and Sunday’s adventure, I was happy to get back to good old Culver City and my sofa!

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!



Peacocks prancing in the park

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

One of the reasons I love living in Los Angeles is access to all the parks and gardens. The Gold Line recently added six more stations, all the way to Azusa. One of those stations is Arcadia where the 127-acre Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is located. The free shuttle bus that stops at the mall, Santa Anita Race Track and The Arboretum now also stops at the train station.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Yesterday several explorer friends and I visited The Arboretum. Most of us met at Union Station in downtown LA for the trip on the Gold Line.

The Arboretum is known for its peacocks. They are VERY raucous and can be heard “meowing” throughout the park. The above photos are of the same peacock back and front. Both views are pretty impressive.  They are not shy about posing for the camera.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The Arboretum is made up of small pocket gardens, sprawling lawns and water features. We decided to take the 2 1/2 hour docent-led tour

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

This wood creature was part of a temporary art exhibit but he looked very much at home.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

This is jacaranda season and the purple trees are showing off all over town.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The garden, like everywhere else in Southern California, is suffering from the severe drought. But this “flowing” pond is made of stone and needs no water.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Can you find the hummer? Maybe not as impressive as the peacocks but certainly a sweetie.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

A giant lizard slithering across the path? No, just a peacock all folded up for travel.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Eucalyptus deglupta Mindanao gum showing off its rainbow bark.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The pea hen is looking for lunch. The female has no need for extravagant opulence to attract a mate… there are plenty of males strutting around the premises.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The Seed Saving Garden is dedicated to growing heirloom vegetables and herbs.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic GardenWe had several ideas about what these extraordinary giant flowers looked like, I thought of elephant ears.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Even the Arboretum is not free of exotic bugs!

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

Effects of the drought on these trees.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

The once beautiful ponds are also ravaged by the drought.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

But this turtle family doesn’t seem to mind!

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

If you were a fan of the TV show Fantasy Island, you will recognize this Queen Anne cottage. It was where Tattoo rang the bell when visitors came to the island.

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden

There’s a lot more to the park but we were pretty tired and hungry after the tour so it was time to head out to lunch. We took the shuttle to the California Pizza Kitchen close by. I always order the Moroccan Spicy Chicken Salad at this restaurant chain… but I decided to be a little daring and ordered the Roasted Veggie Salad instead. That is now my new favorite.

Click on an image below to start the slide show.

The Arboretum even has its own song!

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!


My private island – part one

catalina island

Catalina Express offers a birthday promotion of a free ride to Catalina Island as long as you travel there on the day of your birthday. You can stay for as long as 30 days.

Since visiting the island with friends last September (see post here) I have thought about taking advantage of this offer. So I made the decision, booked a hotel room and requested my free ticket.

Rather than pay the $34 parking fee for two days, I decided to make the trip to San Pedro by public transportation (Expo Line to Silver Line). There are some things I learned the hard way but I made it just in time to run on to the boat… fortunately on an off-season Monday morning the boat was less than full! Next time, hopefully, I will know not to get on the wrong bus!

As it was my birthday I figured I would treat myself to fish ‘n chips. Many years ago I remember ordering this dish at the same restaurant on the pier and was very happy.

catalina islandcatalina island

Well, nothing remains the same. I was not expecting fish rolls and shoe string potatoes… not quite my idea of fish ‘n chips!

But I couldn’t complain about the view (see photo at top of page). Although the island was experiencing typical “May Grey” (or May Gray, depending on what dictionary you use) I was feeling the magic of Catalina nonetheless, and sucking in the fresh sea air.

catalina island

This fellow came over to say hello. Or so I thought… Suddenly there was a flurry of wings and next thing I knew one of the fish rolls, the container of tartar sauce and several of the shoestring potatoes disappeared as I was looking at the backside of the gull flying off. I should have known better!

I really didn’t mind that I lost half my lunch but I did feel bad for the seagull. With that kind of diet on a regular basis he would not be looking forward to a long, healthy life.

catalina island

Compared to my photos from the last trip, these look pretty murky. But, nothing I could do about the weather. I’ve been to Catalina in every season and never before seen it without the sun.

catalina island

Because it was off-season (I believe the season begins next month in June) I was able to book a nice room for a great price at the Hotel St. Lauren. If you look at the top floor you will see a deck that is for the use of all guests with a view in all directions. I would have no problem staying there again.

catalina island

Out in the bay you can see the cruise ship Carnival Imagination. Too bad the passengers had to experience Catalina on such a dismal day.

I walked around with my little point & shoot camera snapping a few photos here and there. Even without the sun, I always feel like this is my special, private island and I was more than happy to be there.

Click on an image below to start the slideshow:

Part Two coming up when I have had a chance to look at the photos from my other camera.

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!




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.


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!!!


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.

SF-Valley-020616-037-C-600px  San Fernando Valley

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.

SF-Valley-020616-053-C-600px  San Fernando Valley

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!









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…


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.


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.


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!