RMW: the blog

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


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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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A gift membership to the Huntington Library

The Huntington

A friend very kindly gave me a membership to The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, approximately 20 miles (32km) northeast of Culver City and 13 miles (21km) northeast of downtown Los Angeles. So as it was such a glorious day on Wednesday in the 70s (21+C) and sunny, I decided to make the trip.

My first stop to take a photo was at a fountain in the California Garden area. Two little girls were playing with the water. One was wearing a bright pink dress and the other was in blue. The reflection of these dresses in the water gave me the colors at the right hand side of the image. I’m sure the mother thought I was trying to capture pictures of her kids so I did my best to make it obvious I was only interested in the fountain. I took several shots but the one I liked the best was out of focus so I decided to play with it in Photoshop and make an abstract image out of it!

The Huntington

The Huntington

Now I have a membership I didn’t feel the need to rush around to every part of the gardens or visit the galleries as I can come back whenever I feel like it! So I just walked around looking for flowers and plants and scenes that struck my fancy.

The Huntington

I set my camera on Aperture Preferred (AV on my Canon) which is now my preferred setting! For a long time I set it to Program as the default and changed the aperture and shutter speed as necessary. But now I believe AV is better.



The Huntington
I know there are “purists” who scoff at anything other than strictly Manual. Good for them! I talked to one professional landscape/street  photographer who told me his dirty secret that 95% of the time he stayed in Program and let the camera do the work. It’s like painting. Anybody can take a brush and make a mess on a canvas. But it takes an artist to make something beautiful.

Walking towards the Desert Garden



The Huntington

Whether you are using a paintbrush or a camera, you still have to have an “eye.” I have a friend who owns all kinds of camera equipment but has no sense of composition. that’s the most important element.



The Huntington
So it doesn’t matter if you are shooting in Manual or Program or Aperture Preferred or with a point & shoot camera or a smart phone. If you capture a good picture, that’s the only thing that matters.



The Huntington
For me, walking around with a camera forces me to see things I probably wouldn’t notice otherwise. Today I was on my own. But I also enjoy going out with a friend because they might spot something I missed and vice versa.



The Huntington
The other issue that comes up is post processing. I happen to enjoy working in Lightroom and Photoshop. You can’t start out with a crappy photo and make it into a masterpiece on the computer. Ain’t gonna happen. But you start out with a well-composed, in focus, reasonably well-lit image and there is a chance you can make that into a masterpiece! I shoot in RAW so all my images have to go through Lightroom (or Camera RAW) anyway.



The Huntington
My favorite part of the grounds is the Desert Garden so I pretty much concentrated on that area. Next time I may avoid it completely! I was attempting to get some closeups and some general views. My favorite lens is my 18-135 zoom. It’s a kit lens and if I ever want to upgrade I am out of luck as there apparently is no stand alone lens in those lengths. But I’ll worry about that when I get there.



The Huntington

I’m hoping I can choose a couple of these to upload to Fine Art America where I have my portfolio. This one above might be a candidate.



The Huntington

The Desert Garden includes more than 5,000 species of desert plants in sixty landscaped beds. I don’t want to be the one to count them.



The Huntington

The weather was unbelievably pleasant. Cool and sunny is my favorite. I remember one visit to the Desert Garden when it had to be 100  degrees F (38C) and I couldn’t get enough water inside me. I’m sure all the cacti and succulents were having a great day!

The Huntington

I’ve never seen so many lizards cross my path. They must have liked the weather too and decided to come out for a stroll. One after the other they were darting out in front of me. No fear of humans.



The Huntington

I took almost 250 pictures this day! Lucky for you I won’t show all of them! But there are 42 in this post.


The Huntington

Unbelievable that it is necessary to post a sign reminding visitors not to carve their names or initials on the bamboo. Aaaargh…. people!

Click on an image below to see slide show of the rest of the photos, if you even made it this far!

See one of my previous posts about The Huntington here.


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Yosemite – part four – my dream come true… SNOW!

yosemite

Sunday night the dark clouds rolled in and made for some dramatic skies.

 

yosemite

Monday morning I opened the drapes and voila… SNOW. Well, not exactly.

yosemiteDuring the night we thought we heard heavy rain beating down. Turned out it was hail.

Yosemite

Walking over to breakfast it was a tad slippery!

yosemite

But it was great to see white stuff on the mountains.

Yosemite

And eventually snow began to fall. This is what I’d been waiting for.

Yosemite

I was actually glad Mother Nature had waited until the last day to present us with snow. I don’t think I would have enjoyed hiking in the snow. I’ve hiked in the snow many times in the past (although not at Yosemite) and now I’m more concerned about slipping and falling.

Yosemite

But it was certainly wonderful to see it dusting the trees and mountains.

Yosemite

I loved the contrast of the greens and browns of the trees against the whites and blues.

Yosemite

Yosemite

Seeing the Yosemite Falls with snow and ice was pretty spectacular.

Yosemite

Yosemite

Yes, we are still in California! This Chevy provided the perfect contrast of colors.

Yosemite

So at last my vision of snow in Yosemite was realized… dreams do come true! Yosemite is splendid under any circumstances. But with snow it is extra special.

Yosemite

I do hope to visit Yosemite again at some point in the future. But now I don’t have to be disappointed if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

 

 

 

Feline Friday – #78 – here comes the sun

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Frankie Freddie sunThe Melaleuca trees in the front of the building were trimmed last week. It’s made a huge difference to the amount of sunlight streaming through the living room windows… not to mention the view of people and dogs and cars passing by. Now everybody wants the window seat!

Frankie Freddie sun
Between the shutters and the window is the best view.

Frankie Freddie sun
But the carpeted pedestal is definitely the most comfy. Too bad there isn’t room for two at a time! But it’s just a matter of working out a schedule.

Another good sunny spot is in the bedroom in the morning on the shoe rack.

Frankie Freddie sunThere are definitely too many shoes here. All those well-worn shoes with the holes in the toes and soles need to go in order to make room for the newer ones. But it’s hard to part with old comfortable friends.

Frankie Freddie sunThe ironing board is a good place to hang out too to catch a few rays.

As the sun moves around the house you have to move with it. It’s a skill you have to work at… but the rewards are worth it!


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Photos I’m showing at the Culver City Art Group Show

The first five photos are in the main show:

Lion at the Los Angeles Zoo

 

Tree at White Sands

 

White Sands Landscape

 

Canoes for rent at Avalon, Catalina Island

 

culver city art show

William Jefferson Clinton Pedestrian Bridge, Little Rock, Arkansas

 

Entry for the Members’ Theme: Let there be light

White Sands

My self-portrait at White Sands, New Mexico

These will be on view Saturday, November 11 at Playa Vista.


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Thundery Sunday at the Huntington Library and Gardens

Huntington Library Gardens

Four of us brave souls called the weather gods’ bluff and despite a forecast for rain, thunder and lightning made the trip out to the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, depending on the route you take, less than 25 miles from Culver City. When I go by myself I take the train and my feet but this day we drove.

Huntington Library Gardens

Since my last visit a couple of years ago they have installed a whole new garden near the entrance. And they have upgraded the dining options, always a good thing!

Huntington Library Gardens

No matter how many times I visit the Huntington, I always leave wanting more, looking forward to the next trip out there.

Huntington Library Gardens

We pretty much managed to avoid the rain until the very end. As we were sitting in the restaurant for lunch, the heavens opened up and provided us with some great thunder and lightning entertainment. When lunch was over, so was the rain. It’s all in the timing.Huntington Library Gardens

One of the cool temporary exhibits is the Orbit Pavilion… a sound experience that allows you to listen to the movement of NASA’s earth science satellites as they pass across the sky above you.

Huntington Library Gardens

This structure captures the sounds as you stand inside.

I wonder, as we are listening to them, are they listening to us?

Huntington Library Gardens

When I came up on this scene I wondered what all the baby bunnies were doing hanging out on the lawn with the geese. New glasses, Roslyn! These are goslings under the care of two napping grownups… yes, I imagine looking after all these cute little guys would be quite exhausting.

As you know from posts about my previous visits, I’ve taken gazillions of photos at the Gardens. I just enjoy wandering around shooting whatever takes my fancy. So here are a gazillion more random photos:

One last stop at the Conservatory and as we emerged, the rain started up. We took cover hoping the storm would pass but it was relentless.

Huntington Library Gardens

We gave up and made a run for the parking lot. We got soaked but at least we didn’t have to take the bus… we could be soggy all the way home in the comfort of our car!

Visit my other posts about the Huntington Library and Gardens:

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/in-hot-water-at-the-huntington-library/

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/thirsty-afternoon-in-the-desert-garden-at-the-huntington-library/

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2014/12/06/reflections-in-a-pond-and-art-gallery/

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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Gardens of privilege – Virginia Robinson Estate

virginia robinson gardens

View of the main house

The informative text in italics is taken directly from the Virgina Robinson Gardens website.

As long as I have lived in Los Angeles (all my adult life) I am still learning about and discovering new places. This is one such place.

virginia robinson gardens

Lawns are no longer bright green in LA due to the severe drought.

It was a hot day so I decided against taking the bus and struggling up the hill behind Sunset Boulevard… and Cinnamon Girl needed an outing. So I drove my car with the lovely air conditioning.

virginia robinson gardens

Pool house is undergoing renovation and pool is drained.

Built in 1911, the Robinson mansion was one of the first homes in Beverly Hills. Known for hosting the areas most legendary parties—it was not uncommon to catch famed individuals entering and leaving the estate.

virginia robinson gardens

Today, the garden is recognized as not only a historical landmark, but also as an exotic paradise that all sightseers are invited to enjoy.

virginia robinson gardens

When Virginia Robinson died in 1977 just before her 100th birthday, she was arguably one of the last grand dames of the Hollywood era. Nevertheless, she left her legendary home and gardens in serious disrepair. A leaky roof and a dangerous electrical system threatened the very survival of this cultural landmark.

virginia robinson gardens

“The Friends of Robinson Gardens” was founded in 1982 with a Board of Directors and a general membership of over 75 committed women.

virginia robinson gardens

A great deal was accomplished in a short period of time. The Friends of Robinson Gardens raised enough money to begin crucial repairs, establish docent programs, and begin educational seminars. Coincidentally, Robinsons Department Store, originally known as the Boston Dry Goods Store in downtown Los Angeles and owned by Harry Robinson’s family, was celebrating its 100th anniversary.

virginia robinson gardens

A letter from President Reagan that year called the Friends of Robinson Gardens “a fine example of what can be accomplished through cooperation between the private and public sector,” and congratulated the group on its significant accomplishments. Since its inception in 1982, the Friends have restored all of the historic buildings on the property according to the strict standards set by the Department of Interior and the Friends are contributing one quarter of the Gardens annual operating budget.

virginia robinson gardens

Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is open by appointment to the public. Located behind the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, the beautiful six-acre property contains a breathtaking display garden, mansion and pool pavilion.

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virginia robinson gardens

The Robinson Gardens was once the site of lavish Hollywood parties. Mrs. Robinson was known as the first lady of Beverly Hills and her triumphs as a hostess are legendary: her diverse guests included royalty such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor to Hollywood stars like Marlene Dietrich and Fred Astaire; her neighbors were Glenn Ford, Lillian Disney and Elvis Presley. She sipped champagne cocktails with Sophia Loren and challenged Charlie Chaplin to a spirited game of tennis – all with her signature elegance and class.

virginia robinson gardens

virginia robinson gardens

She was equally renowned for her philanthropy. Among the many benefits she hosted, the Hollywood Bowl Patronesses Benefit was a favorite. Each year, after the opening of the Hollywood Bowl season, the orchestra would repeat their performance on the estate’s Great Lawn, to the delight of her guests.

virginia-robinson-073016-037-C-550px

virginia robinson gardens

Shortly before her death in 1977, Mrs. Robinson bequeathed her estate to Los Angeles County. The County, along with the not-for-profit organization Friends of Robinson Gardens, preserves the estate for future generations to enjoy.

virginia-robinson-073016-044-C-550px

virginia robinson gardens

As the first luxury estate built in the world’s most famous residential neighborhood [Beverly Hills], the multi-faceted historic property provides an opportunity to experience the world of privilege in early Los Angeles.

virginia robinson gardens

virginia robinson gardens

This cat was not at all disturbed by the visitors intruding on his shady nap. I believe his name is Henry or Harry, just can’t remember which!

virginia robinson gardens

A couple of very fancy bird houses… well, they are Beverly Hills birds!

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virginia-robinson-073016-066-C-550px

virginia robinson gardens

The potting shed

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virginia robinson gardens

It’s Southern California so you gotta have a palm tree forest in your garden!

virginia-robinson-073016-086-C-550px

virginia-robinson-073016-087-C-550px

virginia robinson gardens

virginia robinson gardens

The perfect location for a mid afternoon cup of tea!

virginia robinson gardens

And of course, a pink tennis court. Why not?

We were able to tour the interior of the house but not allowed to take photos.

Traffic was pretty bad driving through Beverly Hills back to Culver City on a Saturday afternoon but my chauffeur had the day off, so what could I do?

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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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!


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Laguna Beach “week-long” one-day trip

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach, located in Orange County, is about 60 miles and two hours from Culver City. My friend Maria Kurtz has some of her beautiful paintings hanging at the Quorum Art Gallery on the historic gallery row. She needed to check in on Wednesday so I went along for the ride. Her husband did the driving so that was perfect for me!
Laguna Beach

As we walked back to the car we passed this store with colorful pots.

Laguna Beach Laguna Beach

After visiting the gallery we ate lunch in the outdoor patio at GG’s Bistro. As I enjoyed my seafood salad (calamari, salmon, shrimp) I was reminded of my trip to Italy some years previously. I was so relaxed I was feeling like I was on vacation in some exotic location instead of a short drive on the 405 freeway.

Laguna Beach

Like every other area in Southern California, Laguna Beach is getting to the point where there are too many houses, too many people and too much traffic.

Laguna Beach

After lunch we went for a walk along the beachside park.

Laguna Beach

Of course I couldn’t stop taking photos.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

The prickly pear cactus were enjoying the ocean view. And their flowers were showing off too.

Laguna Beach

It was a spectacular April day in Southern California.

Laguna Beach

As we were walking along I kept using the word “amazing.”

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach is known for its artist community. You can understand the attraction when you see the marvelous views.

Laguna Beach

Some of the views reminded of my visit to the Oregon Coast last year.

Laguna Beach

I love the ocean and can’t enough of it. For the most part I’ve always lived a short distance from the sea. I just need to know I can get there quickly when I need an ocean fix!

Laguna Beach

Tourism is the primary industry with approximately three million people visiting annually.

Laguna Beach

Laguna is famous for the Pageant of the Masters, Festival of the Arts, Sawdust Art Festival, Art-A-Fair, all of which I have attended over the years.

Laguna Beach

According to Wikipedia “The scenic beauty of the isolated coastline and hills attracted plein-air painters in the early 1900s. William Wendt, Frank Cuprien, and Edgar Payne among others settled there and formed the Laguna Beach Art Association.”

Laguna Beach

Laguna’s coastline is 7 mi (11 km) long and includes 27 beaches and coves.

Laguna Beach

I could imagine sitting here for a few hours absorbing the view. Well, not really as I can’t sit still for very long!

Laguna Beach

If I was on a longer visit I wouldn’t mind joining that couple out on the rocks feeling the surf breaking.

Laguna Beach

How lucky am I to have the opportunity to visit all these beautiful places!
Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach was the southern California epicenter of ‘alternative’ culture in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Timothy Leary lived here.

Laguna Beach

A reminder that what we do inland goes into the storm drains and affects the ocean.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach has a mild Mediterranean climate with abundant sunshine all year. Succulents love living here!

Laguna Beach has a mild Mediterranean climate with abundant sunshine all year.

Laguna Beach has a history of environmental stewardship and historic preservation. Laguna Beach is the only Orange County city protected by a dedicated greenbelt inland and bluebelt seaward.

Laguna Beach

Click on one of the photos below for a slide show of way too many photos!!!

I wish there was a Magic Carpet that would take me back here some day soon. But unfortunately as far as I can figure out I will have to drive the 405 freeway. I’ve done the drive before. The last time another driver took out my rear bumper. But I don’t hold that against Laguna Beach!

Although we had only been there a few hours on one day, on the way home I felt like I had been on a week-long cruise through the Mediterranean.

A big thank you to Wikipedia for the information.

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

 


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Easter Sunday and a change of plans

culver boulevard culver city

“Over the Rainbow” peering over jacaranda trees at Sony Pictures Entertainment

Today I was supposed to take the Expo Line to the Red Line to the Orange Line to visit a friend in Northridge (that’s on the Valley side of Los Angeles, over or under the Santa Monica Mountains depending on how you look at it). But not to be. My friend texted me at midnight to tell me she had a plumbing emergency and to hang tight. I was still awake so I texted her back to let her know I got the message.

culver boulevard culver city

“Over the Rainbow” seen behind the Irving Thalberg building at Sony Pictures Entertainment

I fell asleep and one of the cats woke me up at 3:40am. I saw there was another message from her telling me to call her before 8:00am (when I was supposed to leave the house) as she wasn’t sure what time the plumber could be there or what the problem was. So I went back to sleep knowing that I could stay in bed until at least 7:00am if I wanted to (and the cats would let me). Lovely.

Turns out she had a serious problem with some 1950s pipes under her house. I won’t go into all the murky details but evidently it was going to be a big project. So we decided to reschedule.

culver boulevard culver city

Better view of “Over the Rainbow”

Okay, what to do. I am not very good at changing plans and making new decisions. My brain gets stuck in a groove and that is that. When I think of all the opportunities at my door, what I decided to do instead was admittedly mundane.

I decided to treat myself to a Smashburger Black Bean Burger with a side of Veggie Frites and Sweet Potato Fries for lunch. The nearest Smashburger is a 25-minute walk from my house one way so that was my excuse to get out of the house on this beautiful day.

I have a choice of several walking routes to get to Culver Center but as I needed to drop off my Netflix movie (The Imitation Game) at the post office I decided to walk down Culver Boulevard.

I took a few random photos along the way. The first three photos above are all of the “Rainbow” sculpture installed on the Sony Pictures Entertainment lot. I prefer to call it “Over the Rainbow” but that’s evidently not it’s official name. Sony now sits in the space that was originally Metro Goldwyn Meyer, the greatest movie studio of them all where “The Wizard of Oz” was made in the 1930s. So, of course, the rainbow pays homage to that movie.

culver boulevard culver city

A side street along the way. Walking beneath that archway of trees is like being in the forest… except for the cars!

I’m always fascinated by the seeds and/or fruit on the palm trees which look a lot like tree dreadlocks. It is a beautiful display.

This is my favorite apartment building in the neighborhood. It is a lovely example of maybe 50s or 60s apartment architecture with a circular glass lobby, swordfish sculpture and decorative circles in the stucco and fencing. The building you can see across the street is another view of the Thalberg building.

culver boulevard culver city

A result of our weird weather. Jacarandas usually show their gorgeous purple blooms in May/June. But this year we saw some of the trees flowering as early as March and some that have not yet flowered at all. Everybody is confused.

culver boulevard culver city

I love this clock by the artist Terry Allen. I think the name is Golden Time (too lazy to look it up). I always tell people this is how I felt before I quit corporate life… dragging a huge clock around on my shoulders waiting for each working day to end! This poor guy hangs out on the corner of the Fred Astaire Building, built during the golden age of MGM.

culver boulevard culver city

Looking back at the Fred Astaire building and what I have labeled the ziggurat building, the mid 1980s Sony building at the end.

culver boulevard culver city

Orchid Fever is a great place to spend some time with more than 10,000 square feet of greenhouses filled with thousands of orchid plants, hundreds of bromeliads, and a wide variety of other tropical and exotic plants. When you walk in from the street it is like being transported to some magical jungle.

culver boulevard culver city

Another tree-lined side street.

culver boulevard culver city

Sony is constantly building… this is apparently a new parking garage going up. I would prefer they would have less parking spaces for their employees and give them incentives to ride public transportation. There is too much traffic in Culver City already without encouraging more.

culver boulevard culver city

So how much do you pay for gas? The price goes up and down like a yo yo. I don’t drive that much anymore so it really doesn’t matter to me but I don’t even bother to check the prices. If I need gas, I need gas. But when I have tourists from out of town, the price of gas is always a hot topic.

culver boulevard culver city

This is the sign outside the Backstage Bar across the street from Sony. These gentlemen seem to be appropriately dressed for an after work drink. And I am certainly glad no skateboards are allowed… nothing worse than a drunken skateboarder.

culver boulevard culver city

An Angel Trumpet Flower tree. Originating in South America they do well in Los Angeles… and how appropriate to have them growing in the City of Angels (well, here in Culver City to be precise).

culver boulevard culver city

The newest completed building at Sony. I thought it was going to be another garage but now it looks more like offices.

culver boulevard culver city

Street lamps lined up probably waiting for their next movie gig.

culver boulevard culver city

And another side street landscaped with cooling trees. Trees also, of course, help mitigate carbon monoxide.

culver boulevard culver city

More jacarandas that have flowered and dropped before their time.

culver boulevard culver city

At this point I was more than halfway to my destination and about to turn off Culver Boulevard on to Overland Avenue. So I thought I would take one last photo of a very important building. This is where I buy most of my lottery tickets. Haven’t won anything yet but I’m not giving up! Liquor stores in LA sell everything from cat food and cough drops to tooth paste and tea bags… yes, you can also buy liquor along with beer and fine wine… they never advertise “cheap” wine, but they have that too!

And the Black Bean Smashburger? It was delicious, thanks for asking…

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