RMW: the blog

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


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Trip to Catalina Island – part one

san pedro

My friend SB and I decided to stay overnight on Catalina Island, one hour and 15 minutes by boat from San Pedro, Port of Los Angeles.

I love taking photos at the port. A friend told me the structures in the above photo are called transtainers. But they look like “Transformers” to me!

Sometimes waiting to go on a journey can be as interesting as the journey itself!

We are experiencing June Gloom in Southern California but that’s fine with me as the cloud cover keeps the temperatures down. And most of the time the sun comes out in the afternoons. Not always but that’s still okay with me.

The Battleship Iowa is parked in the harbor. I have had the pleasure of climbing around on it. See my post here.

On the way! I’ll be posting more photos of our trip shortly!

 


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Christ Cathedral walk around

Christ Cathedral under renovation so I couldn’t get up close and personal. Crean Tower peeking out behind stands 256 feet tall.

Howdy everybody! The last time I posted on this blog was December 29, 2018… that’s almost half a year ago. I’ve been wanting to come back to WordPress but it’s been one thing after another. The past couple of weeks I decided I either had to start posting again or close up shop forever. So here we are for better or worse! I’ve missed all my WordPress friends!

Designed by Philip Johnson, this stunning 236-foot stainless-steel mirrored spire stands over 18 stories tall and houses a magnificent 52 bell carillon. The Arvella Schuller carillon was named in honor of her 35 years of service in bringing beautiful music to the church. This remarkable collection of bells range from six inches to nearly six feet and were forged by the Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in the Netherlands.

This past Saturday some friends and I visited Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, which is the former Crystal Cathedral headed by Robert Schuller. Now it is owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange. The cathedral itself was completed in 1980. In all that time I have wanted to visit! The plan was to view the Sistine Chapel Exhibition. I was not interested as I didn’t want to dilute my previous experiences with this artwork both at the Vatican and in England. Reminder to self: I need to post the photos from the church I visited in Worthing, Sussex.

Christ Cathedral

Designed by Richard Neutra and his son Dion, the 13-story Tower of Hope first opened in 1968. Named after New Hope Ministries, this building housed the very first 24-hour suicide prevention hotline.

The cathedral itself is not open right now as it is undergoing renovations. The dedication is set for July but it won’t be fully opened until 2020 after the organ has been completely tuned. I intend to return at that time as they will be resuming docent tours. However, I knew I would find plenty of photographic opportunities wandering around the rest of the campus while my friends enjoyed the exhibit. BTW, the consensus of the others was that the exhibition was just okay… so I was happy with my decision. There is no greater joy for me than exploring with my camera.

Christ Cathedral

The Cultural Center completed in 2002 was designed by world renowned architect Richard Meier, also known for his commission of the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Jubilee Church in Rome, Italy.

As there was construction going on all over the complex it was pretty much impossible to twist my camera around to avoid it so please excuse the intrusion of chain link fences or scaffolding or equipment. I did crop some of it out which also necessitated cropping out parts of the scene. Enough with the excuses! Click on an image below to start the slide show.

The ladies restroom is one of highlights of the complex. A female parishioner was fed up with the lack of enough facilities for women. She donated one million dollars to build the best possible womens restrooms that amount of money could buy!

 

 

 


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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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Canadian Rockies – Day Five – Banff and the Bow River

canadian rockies

Overnight there was just enough rain to clear the skies a little. Still a lot of smoke but we could see some details. Why couldn’t this have happened the day before? Well, we had to be grateful for this gift at least.

canadian rockies
In the morning we drove along the shores of Lake Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake. Click image below for slideshow:

 

Next we visited Cascade Gardens near the grounds of the Banff Park Administration Building. Click image below for slideshow:

The big event of the day was a raft trip floating along the Bow River. I didn’t position myself very well as I was seated directly opposite my friends so I had to dodge around their heads to get a clear shot. In the raft you can’t move around too much without everybody going overboard! And my camera is not waterproof…

Our guide on the river, like all the guides we encountered on the trip, was very knowledgeable and personable. I believe this young man was from New Zealand. As a member of the British Commonwealth, apparently you can spend two years in each Commonwealth Country (including New Zealand, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and of course, the UK) on a work Visa so most of the guides we encountered were from those countries. Wish I had known that when I was younger!

Click image below for slideshow:

 

At the beginning of the float trip I accidentally changed the picture style to black and white and didn’t realize this until we disembarked. I was ready to jump into the cold waters I was so mad at myself. But when we got back into town we found a camera store and the young man showed me how to change it back to color. I’ve never seen this B&W setting before! I was mortified. Luckily I always shoot in RAW and JPEG and he assured me the setting didn’t affect the RAW files… saved! Well, I learned something…

canadian rockies

We ate lunch at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. You can see it in the slideshow above.

And this is what the town of Banff looks like when the smoke clears. Not too shabby!

candadian rockies

 

 


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Canadian Rockies – Day Four – the road to Banff

canadian rockies

Percheron horses at the Ranch-Bar-U

It’s hard to keep track of the days when you are on a tour, but I know day four was Sunday. We left Waterton heading for Banff through the Kananaskis Valley.

We stopped at the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site to admire the Percheron horses.canadian rockies

It was a very smoky day and we had 236 miles (380km) to travel. A lot of the scenery looked like this with bales of hay scattered around fields.

canadian rockies

As we came nearer to Banff the scenery changed to more mountainous views. But still extremely smoky. Only with RAW images and Lightroom was I able to see any kind of detail and color in the photos.

canadian rockies

canadian rockies

We didn’t make a lot of stops so these were taken through the bus window which is why the foregrounds are fuzzy.

canadian rockies

But you get the general idea of how rugged the territory was.

canadian rockies

We rode the Banff Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. The summit is 7486 feet (2281m) above sea level. The highest point in Los Angeles County is Mount Baldy (Mount San Antonio) at 10,064 feet (3,068 m). So I wasn’t too impressed but a good height nevertheless.

canadian rockies

Too bad there was no view. I had to work really hard in Lightroom to get any kind of details to show.

10,064 ft (3,068 m)

But this gentleman seemed to be enjoying the view of the smoke!

We watched a 15-minute video that showed us the spectacular scenery we SHOULD have been seeing!

canadian rockies

There was a nice wooden trail out to the next peak but I wasn’t about to test the limits of my vertigo to see smoke and more smoke.

canadian rockies

Our hotel for the next two nights was nothing spectacular but we were centrally located in the town of Banff. canadian rockies

For me this was the most disappointing day. It reminded me of the 70s and 80s in LA when the smog was so bad in the summer I couldn’t even drive. I didn’t need to pay good money to be reminded of that.

But I did enjoy a wonderful Louisiana catfish dinner at Tooloulou’s restaurant in downtown Banff. That was the highlight for me. I don’t think my friends were that excited.

 

 

 


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Canadian Rockies – Day Three – Going-to-the-Sun Road

going to the sun highway

Day three of our trip to the smoke-filled Canadian Rockies our motor coach took us to St. Mary Lodge and Resort on the US side of the border. We boarded Red Jammers, restored vintage touring coaches from the 1930s. We traveled on Going-to-the-Sun Road which is closed during the winter because of snow. But this year it was closed half way along because of fires. So our journey ended at Logan Pass Visitor Center in Montana.

At Logan Pass Visitor Center we had time to roam around. I always enjoy an opportunity to get out and stretch my legs. We were close enough to the mountains that it was possible to see some details.

Then back on the Red Jammers. Originally built for sightseeing in the US National Park System, these 25-foot long touring coaches with individual doors for each row, were restored in 2000 by the Ford Motor Company and are the only remaining buses of their kind in operation today. Just touring in the coaches was fun in itself.

We returned to our hotel in Waterton, Alberta, a very sweet little tourist town that I could see visiting again. We decided to eat at the same restaurant with a river view where we had enjoyed dinner the night before, Bayshore Lakeside Chophouse, attached to the hotel.


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Canadian Rockies, Day Two

Prince of Wales Hotel

Prince of Wales Hotel

What happened to Day One? Well, that was getting there. My alarm went off at 2:00am. I called for my taxi at 4:21am and arrived at LAX ready for the 7;25am flight. We landed in Calgary around 1:20pm after a change of planes in Salt Lake City. That evening my three friends and I met our tour guide and the other 40 people on the Caravan tour.

 

Waterton Lakes National ParkIn the morning we left Calgary for Waterton Lakes National Park. The trip there was well, let’s just say it was hazy!

Waterton Lakes National Park

Looking down at the town of Waterton

Thank goodness for photographing in RAW format and photo processing in Lightroom with the “dehaze” function and some other tweaking!

Waterton Lakes National Park

This is what the scene above actually looked like!

Waterton Lakes National Park

Another view of the Prince of Wales Hotel

I was told there were approximately 500 wildfires raging across Canada.

Waterton Lakes National ParkThe smoke was so thick I heard it was like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Flower bouquets at our hotel

 

Once settled in our hotel, we embarked on a cruise of Waterton Lake.Waterton Lakes National Park
The world’s first International Peace Park, formed in 1932 by combining Waterton Lakes Park in Canada with Glacier Park in Montana. These two parks form Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a celebration of friendship between Canada and the US. Let’s hope!

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton  Waterton Lakes National Park

Even though it was very hazy I made the decision I was going to keep snapping away and hope I could bring out some of the details in Lightroom when I got home. That turned out to be a great decision.

Waterton Lakes National Park

The cruise was very peaceful and just what I needed after the frenzied day before running for flight connections and getting to the hotel in Calgary. And previously that day we had a long, very boring bus trip from Calgary to Waterton. Compared to all that, this was truly blissful.

Click on an image below for images of the lake cruise

You’re not seeing double, I just wanted to show this image again to point out this photo of the line cut to demark the border of the US and Canada.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park

I liked this photo showing the “Thumbs Up” Canadian flag!

Waterton Lakes National Park

I always love reflections on the water.

Waterton Lakes National Park

We arrived at our destination on the Montana side of the lake. We were able to stretch our legs for a while. Click on an image below.

Then back on the boat to Canada!

We enjoyed a delicious dinner with a beautiful view. Then back to our hotel room.

Waterton Lakes National Park

Our patio furniture

Lovely view of lake from our room

View of the lake from our room. We sat outside for a while in the evening, sucking it all in.

And last, the three lovely ladies who made my trip so enjoyable!


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day eight – morning: The Sistine Chapel

English Martyrs

I’m skipping ahead to day eight but I’ll be back to pick up days six and seven… sorry, there’s no avoiding it!

Yes, I’m looking at the Sistine Chapel ceiling. No, I’m not in Rome… still in Worthing!

English Martyrs

I’m at the English Martyrs Catholic Church in Goring-by-Sea.

English Martyrs

The ceiling is at 2/3 scale of the original Michelangelo painting in the Vatican. The colors match the newly cleaned ceiling in Rome.

English martyrs

The work was painted by Gary Bevans, a sign writer who is a parishioner of the church. He is a natural artist with no formal training. After a parish pilgrimage trip to Rome in 1987 to attend the Beatification of 85 English Martyrs, he gained permission from the Vatican and the bishop to reproduce the ceiling in Worthing.

english martyrs

Several years ago my friend JM and I enjoyed a two-week, two thousand-mile trip of Italy. Our first visit to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel was very rushed so our tour guide could get us to the gift shop! So as J and I had planned some extra time in Rome at the end of the trip, we visited the Sistine Chapel again on our own. We sat for a good hour looking up at the ceiling. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

English MartyrsWith this reproduction you are much closer to the ceiling and it’s easier to see the details, even at 2/3 scale. It’s certainly impressive.

English MartyrsThe project took five and a half years to complete in the evenings and weekends. Gary also had to continue his full time day job. And spend time with his family!

English MartyrsIt was most certainly a labor of love.

English Martyrs Three volunteers were working in the church when I was there. They were all really lovely people. One of them gave me a tour of the church and told me the story of the ceiling. As I told them I was considering moving back to Worthing, they gave me some recommendations for real estate agents to talk to (which I did) and some ideas for the neighborhoods that might suit me the best.

English MartyrsI enjoyed the visit to the church and recommend it to anybody who might be visiting the area. I didn’t get a photo of the outside of the church. The building was not what I expected… not the least bit pretentious… I would describe it as a country church. I almost walked past it.

English Martyrs

The English Martyrs window. The Roman Catholic martyrs of the English Reformation were men and women executed under treason legislation in the English Reformation between 1534 and 1680.  In 1571 legislation was enacted making it treasonable to be under the authority of the Pope, The standard penalty for all those convicted of treason at the time was execution by being hanged, drawn and quartered. Lovely.

More images from the church:









English martyrs

This painting is a modernized version of da Vinci’s the Last Supper. Local people from the parish were used as models.


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BG and RMW’s big birthday bash

pershing square building

Pershing Square Building in downtown LA with PERCH restaurant/bar on the roof.

My birthday is in May and my friend BG’s birthday is in June so we decided to have a birthday bash this past Saturday. The last time we did a birthday bash was two years ago which I documented at this link.

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/belated-birthday-bash/

Left to right. US Bank Building, Deloitte Building (formerly Gas Building), new construction, California Plaza (in background), Title Guarantee Building, Pershing Square Building (peeking in at right side)

We’re in the middle of June Gloom (not to be confused with May Gray although very similar!). The good news is the sun usually comes out late morning/early afternoon.

downtown la

Not sure what building this is but I love the mural

We both live in Culver City so we took the Expo Line train to 7th Street Metro Center Station and walked a few blocks (we could have transferred to the Red Line and exited at Pershing Square but it wasn’t worth the effort for a one-minute ride).

downtown la

There’s construction going on all over LA these days… mixed use projects… too much traffic, too many people…

 

downtown la

Detail of the Pershing Square Building. The 1920s were the glory days of downtown… fortunately most of the beaux artes and art deco buildings still remain to live a new life today.

downtown la

We took the elevator to Perch on the 15th floor of the Pershing Square Building. We ordered our drinks. B liked the idea of the My Fair Lady with vodka. I ordered the gin Hemingway on the Beach. I don’t particularly like very sweet drinks and this fit the bill. We each had two cocktails (it was our birthday bash…).

downtown la

We both ordered the Huevos Rancheros. I happen to be an expert on this dish (!) and I have to say this was about the best I have ever laid eyes on and eaten! They came with Perch potatoes that melted in my mouth. I’m also a potato aficionado…

downtown la

I can only assume these were the original 1920s tile floors… exquisite.

downtown la

downtown la

If you love downtown LA as I do, you can’t go wrong with this view. As I was sucking up the huevos I was looking directly at the Title Guaranty Building. Originally built as an office building it is now re-used as residential lofts, as are many of the 1920s office buildings in downtown.

California Plaza in the center. Beneath it is the Subway Building. Yes, there was a subway in LA.

downtown la

Looking down on Pershing Square with the Biltmore Hotel at right middle.

It’s fabulous to see the revitalization of downtown which really began in the 1980s. Before that it had become a virtual dead zone. It’s weird to think that most of the people who now live downtown in converted lofts and apartments weren’t even on the planet when the area was pretty much desolate. But I remember!

la downtown

Detail of the Title Guaranty Building

la downtownWe were told that our table reservation could only be held for 15 minutes if we were late. We could see why as the place was packed for lunch on Saturday.

la downtown

We were entertained by Emma-Jane and her band. A lovely selection of songs.

la downtown

View of the restaurant interior and bar

la downtown

We visited the 16th floor which is a bar only. Looked very cosy. And the sun was coming out.

la downtown

US Bank Building, Biltmore Hotel,Deloitte Building, California Plaza

We could have stayed at Perch for the rest of the day as we felt so relaxed and comfortable. But it was time to move on.

la downtown
We were on our way to the Intercontinental Wilshire Grand. On the way we passed one of my favorite buildings, originally the Sanwa Bank Building, not sure what it is currently. It’s a beautiful 1990s homage to the art deco style of the 1920s.

la downtown

Street entrance to Wilshire Grand Hotel

la downtown

Entrance to Wilshire Grand

 

la downtown
Across the street, another of my favorite buildings, originally a Home Savings bank, the lobby is on the 6th floor to allow parking on the lower floors because the Red Line train station was built under the building where underground parking would have been. Maybe the new Wilshire Grand took a cue from Home Savings with their 70th floor lobby?

la downtownla downtownThe Wilshire Grand lobby offers fabulous views of downtown, an upscale bar and comfy seating.

la downtown

la downtownThis thingamajig is holding the building up!

la downtownThe first time I saw the view from these windows I had a bad vertigo attack. Now I’ve been up there a few times it doesn’t bother me. It’s all in the head.

la downtownView of Echo Park Lake, about 3 miles from downtown. This reminded me that I need to visit there before the Lotus flowers fade.

la downtown
We ordered drinks… some concoction with Roses Lime Juice. Very tasty but too sweet for me.

We ordered drinks  At 4:00pm the open air rooftop bar opened… we were on it! I felt like I was on a cruise ship. Hmm… it’s been a few years since I’ve been on a cruise… I think I’m ready to go again!

la downtown

The mast which makes this the fake tallest building in LA!

la downtown

B ordered another sweet drink but I went with a Gin Gibson to get that tart onion flavor. We shared an order of chicken wings for some much needed protein.

santa monica

It was a wonderful experience sitting on top of the world, but we wanted to go west to the Santa Monica Pier to finish up the day. Fortunately we were just a few footsteps away from the train station. So we jumped on the Expo Line and headed for the beach. The pier was jammed with people out for a summer evening.

la downtownWe were glad we weren’t driving and having to hunt for a parking space!

santa monicaAll the cars on Pacific Coast Highway were heading back into town.

santa monica

santa monica

Despite all the people I always love to see the ocean. There’s no way I could ever live far from it.

santa monica

santa monica

We walked back into downtown Santa Monica. santa monica

The Third Street Promenade was alive and well on a Saturday night. We were looking for ice cream but settled for milk shakes. I ordered a Kit Kat shake. The last time I had a milk shake was at a McDonald’s in Oregon in 2015. It was a vanilla shake and possibly the best thing I ever ate in my life! But this shake was even better. Maybe in three years I can have another shake!

We headed home to Culver City on the Expo Line, two very happy birthday girls…

 

 

 


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day four – pier and pubs

worthing

Thursday morning I walked from the Chatsworth Hotel to Worthing Station, a very pleasant walk through downtown Worthing and some residential neighborhoods, to meet my friend B who came down from London for the day. The last time I saw him was when he visited LA about eighteen months ago.

worthing

One of the days he was in LA on that trip we visited the Santa Monica Pier so it seemed appropriate we should make a beeline for the Worthing Pier. B has been to LA many times. He is a world traveler and has been to every continent on the planet. Quite an achievement! But he had never explored Worthing.

worthing

Previously to making the trip to Worthing I had joined a Facebook group, The Bald Explorer. I asked for ideas for pubs and restaurants in Worthing. Thanks to Jon Ford, Linda Kane and Dorinda Bennett for their suggestions.

B is fond of beer and takes his friends on pub crawls in London so I thought that would be a good idea to keep him entertained!

worthing

But first I had to show him the pier and beach area so we could work up an appetite for food and alcohol.

Our first port of call was for lunch. As Worthing is known for its fresh fish, it made sense to eat at The Crab Shack. We ordered the Skatefish. I had never heard of it before. We were instructed to scrape the flesh off the bone. It was delish. Came with roasted potatoes.

worthing

worthing

Our next stop was the Beach House. I let B choose the beer at each pub as I know nothing about the brew. I am a wino but when in England I have to drink the brown stuff!

We visited most of the places on the list I was given, and then some.

Anchored in Worthing was probably the most eccentric, in a very good way.

worthing
I asked the proprietor if it was okay to take a photo of him as he made B and I feel like old friends! His clientele all seem to know each other very well.

worthing

What more can you ask for than a Tardis as the entry way? Wish I had known about this when M was visiting as he is a huge Dr. Who fan.

After this we hit a few other pubs we saw as we were walking, including The Corner House, but I don’t have photos. Sometimes it’s difficult to shoot pics and avoid patron’s faces and I don’t like invading people’s privacy even though it’s legal.

worthing

My friend B outside JBs pub, still standing after a few! I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me saying that he can drink two to my one. We go way back. Our relationship has taken many forms over the years, up and down, but I’m happy we remain friends to this day.

worthing

I lost count of how many pubs and the quantity of beer. Brooksteed Alehouse was our last stop of the day. It was just a few footsteps away from Worthing Station and B’s train was leaving at 9:00pm. I wish I could show you photos inside but the pub was crowded and all my photos clearly show people’s faces which I don’t like to publish. This was probably my favorite… or maybe by this time I was feeling no pain. It was very friendly and welcoming. I could see making this my personal pub if I was living in the area.

So I said goodbye to B. At 9:00pm it was still light enough for me to feel safe walking back to the hotel. In any case, I did feel safe while I was in Worthing.

It was another fantastic day in Worthing. I was definitely falling in love with the place.