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


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Memories of 2019

JANUARY

I picked two photos from each month of 2019 to represent my year in photography. Just like last year, some months I had too many choices and some months it was hard pickings.  So these aren’t necessarily my very best photos but I tried to show a variety of different places.

The photo above is reflections in a puddle at Culver City Park at the end of my street. We had a lot of rain last winter after a seven-year drought.


Red hot poker plants at The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. Some friends bestowed upon me a gift membership for which I am very grateful… and I am able to take a friend with me which makes it a doubly wonderful gift!

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FEBRUARY

I was clearing junk out of the garage in February as I was planning to move. That didn’t happen but it allowed me to get rid of a lot of stuff. I took a photo of this painting with my point & shoot before I drove it over to Goodwill. I must have painted this in the 1970s! I hope somebody bought it and is enjoying it. I may print it out and hang it on a wall to give it a new life.

A random photo of the boys. Frankie The Monster, who of course bagged the most comfy spot. And Freddie The Giant Cat who is so laid back and always lets Frankie get what he wants.

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MARCH

The Broad is a contemporary art museum in downtown LA. This was a booth by Yayoi Kusama constructed of mirrors. My selfie is on the right. My friend BG was standing at the other side of the booth so you can see her face in some of the other circles.

I’m not usually good at doing things on the spur of the moment but my friend LA decided she wanted to see the wildflowers. So as long as she was driving I said okay. Walker Canyon in Lake Elsinore is about 85 miles from Culver City. We went on a Wednesday and made pretty good time. It was a fabulous day. On the way home we came as close as I have ever come to being killed in an accident. In my mind I was already dead. Make the most of every day because you never know when it will be your last. It just wasn’t our time.

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APRIL

Next door to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) is La Brea Tar Pits with ongoing excavations. The site goes back to the Pleistocene Age. The extinct animals discovered at La Brea Tar Pits were trapped in the asphalt between 11,000 to 50,000 years ago. Outsiders always accuse Los Angeles of having no history… excuse me, we go back a lot further than most places in the US!

I don’t think this is quite what they had in mind when they named the Palms neighborhood of Los Angeles, adjacent to Culver City. But I always enjoy looking at this utility box on my walk to Sprouts Market on the LA side of Venice Blvd.

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MAY

I made several trips to Echo Park Lake this year. Paddling around on these swan Paddle Wheelers is now one of my favorite things to do in LA. It’s relaxing and good exercise at the same time with splendid views of the downtown skyline. I hope can cajole more friends into going with me in 2020. Wanna come along?

I’ve been wanting to visit the South Coast Botanical Gardens for many years. Finally made it in May. It was really delightful. We only saw a small area as my companion wasn’t able to walk far. But I’ll definitely be back to see the rest of it.

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JUNE

My friend SB and I were waiting at the harbor to take the boat back from Santa Catalina to San Pedro. This couple walked by. I loved the way they looked so I asked if it was okay to take their photo. She had made their matching outfits with fabric she had bought at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. She said she often made them matching outfits. How adorable is that?

I am a member of the Natural History Museum and it’s a short train ride from Culver City so I often pop in there, often on my own if nobody else is available or interested. This lovely guy was on display in the special exhibit on Antarctic Dinosaurs, the 25-foot-long, “cold-crested killer,” Cryolophosaurus. The exhibit featured an ongoing scientific expedition from the NHM and Chicago’s Field Museum as they dig for fossils today. La Brea Tar Pits is also part of the NHM.

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JULY

Rode the Amtrak train to Ventura with a group of friends. We hiked up the trails in the Ventura Botanical Gardens which is still recovering from the December 2017 Thomas Fire. Lovely views from the top. Ate lunch on the pier at Beach House Fish then walked along the pier watching people fishing.

BG and I made an overnight trip to Santa Barbara. Stayed at an historic estate, drove around the area, ate dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant, Due Lune Cucina, across from the beach as the sun was setting. Next day ate lunch on the pier before heading home. Wonderful experience.

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AUGUST

Mount Rushmore has been on my bucket list ever since I saw the movie North by Northwest with Cary Grant and the marvelous James Mason. So now I can say been there, done that! It was a trip to look up and see those monumental faces… it’s impossible to imagine how that can be achieved. As you are chiseling away you would only be able to see a miniscule part of what you are working on. Amazing.

We arrived at Old Faithful in Yellowstone in the evening. The glow of the setting sun was a magnificent backdrop to the geyser. This was my second visit to the park. This time we had the privilege of staying inside the park at the Old Faithful Inn. You just walk out the front door and there is Old Faithful right in front of you. Magnificent.

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SEPTEMBER

Second Home Pavilion was a temporary exhibit which I visited on one of the hottest days of the year at Hancock Park between LACMA and La Brea Tar Pits. I asked the young lady sitting at the entrance how she was doing and she indicated not too well. I enjoyed walking through the colorful maze of tunnels.

BG and I hung out at LACMA visiting several galleries. At Mary Corse: A Survey in Light we had a little fun as we became the artwork.

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OCTOBER

The celebration of El Dia de los Muertos is one of my favorite times to visit Grand Park. This year there were about 40 altars all personally and culturally relevant to Los Angeles honoring those who have passed over. It coincides with halloween and is a traditional Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage elsewhere. The multi-day holiday involves family and friends gathering to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and helping support their spiritual journey. In Mexican culture, death is viewed as a natural part of the human cycle. Mexicans view it not as a day of sadness but as a day of celebration because their loved ones awake and celebrate with them.

 

Several friends met at the Sunset/Vermont Red Line station and rode the shuttle up to the Griffith Observatory. Half the group attempted the hike to Inspiration Point but it was too hot for me so I sat and chatted with the other half at the cafe and enjoyed the views. The hikers only made it half way before being forced to turn back. So I was glad I didn’t attempt it. I’ve suffered from heat stroke before and have to be careful.

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NOVEMBER

GM, EA and I made reservations for an early lunch at Perch on the 15th floor of the Pershing Square Building. I had eaten there previously and talked so much about it they wanted to experience it too and weren’t disappointed. Perch LA is a French-inspired rooftop bistro with unobstructed views of Downtown Los Angeles for guests to experience the feeling of floating along the skyline. The elevated spaces offer outdoor fireplaces, rooftop fire pits, indoor and outdoor dining experiences, and lounge seating to experience the city skyline views. The food isn’t bad either! This is just one of the many views when you walk around the outside area.

Several members of the Culver City Art Group met at the Getty Center to visit the exhibit Manet and Modern Beauty. You gotta love the staircase with the Manet image leading up to the exhibit. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the artist but I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of his paintings… many I was not previously familiar with.

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DECEMBER

A friend is a member at Descanso Gardens. She very graciously picked me up at Union Station and drove the rest of the way… I took the E (formerly known as the Expo) Line to the Red Line… one of these days, probably not in my lifetime, the E Line is supposed to go all the way to Union Station. The gardens were beautifully decorated for the holidays. Of course I imagine it is really spectacular all lit up at night but it was pretty good during the day too.

Last but certainly not least, I led my 3rd Annual Downtown Holiday Decorations Walk ending with lunch at the Biltmore Hotel (at left). There were 13 participants… all women this year… but not too surprising. This lovely Christmas tree was located at the southeast corner of Pershing Square. Lined up correctly the star appears between the US Bank Building (Library Tower) and the Deloitte Building (the Gas Company Building). I had to pay those pigeons to take flight just at the right moment!

Thanks for bearing with me. Some months there were a few more photos I really wanted to include… but I had to keep to two from each month and not cheat… you wouldn’t have known if they didn’t appear in the correct months but I would have known!

I wish you all a very healthy, happy and adventurous 2020!


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Feline Friday – #106 – Tomatomania

descanso gardens

The last weekend of March a friend invited me to accompany her to Tomatomania at Descanso Gardens. She wanted to buy tomato plants for her garden. I told her I wouldn’t buy any as I wasn’t sure they would grow on my deck. But of course when we arrived and I saw all those beautiful tomato plants I couldn’t resist buying three. What the heck.

tomatoes

freddie

Freddie immediately took up the job of Guardian of the Tomato Plants without regard to his own welfare or safety. That’s the kind of cat he is.

tomatoes

With Freddie as Protector, the tomato plants went crazy in the following three months, taking over the deck.

tomato bowl

This is a typical crop for one day. The toms come in three colors: black, copper and bright red. They have slightly different flavors accordingly.

freddie

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, there aren’t any chicken or fish flavored tomatoes for the boys. But Freddie evidently appreciates the aesthetic qualities provided by a perfect, round, ripe tom!

frankie

While Frankie, on the other hand, is laughing his head off thinking all this fuss about tomatoes is a big joke…


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Descanso Gardens: a cool trip on a warm summer day

Descanso Gardens La Canada

Map of Descanso Gardens La Canada

If you don’t think southern California has seasons, you need to visit Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge. The park puts on an ever-changing face as it cycles through the year. Generally speaking, from early autumn to spring it is all about the camellias, with the best displays in January and February. The park boasts more than 34,000 camellia plants made up of 700 species, varieties, cultivars and hybrids. And I always thought a camellia was just a camellia!

In the spring, the camellias are joined by lilacs, tulips and daffodils. By June and July the rose garden is at its height. And in the fall you might think you are in New England with the leaves of some of the trees changing color.

Descanso Gardens La Canada

Benches at Descanso Gardens La Canada

 Over the past two or three years I have visited several times after a lapse of a couple of decades. By far my favorite time to visit is when the camellias are in full flower. So if you can only visit once in your lifetime, call ahead to make sure you will be seeing the best possible display of those wonderful blooms.

For those of us lucky enough to live in the Los Angeles area, meaning we have the opportunity to return multiple times, any time of the year is good. My mother’s senior residence planned an outing on June 22.

Just before the entrance is a shady picnic area where we feasted on ham or turkey sandwiches, SunChips and fruit salad before buying our tickets. As my mother noted, eating outdoors always gives you a healthy appetite. I think the squirrels would agree as they were hanging out waiting for tidbits.

Some residents apparently declined to join the trip for fear it would be too hot. Although it was a warm day, it was pleasant in the gardens with the help of the cooling trees, plants and water features.

Descanso Gardens La Canada

Tram ride at Descanso Gardens La Canada

Because it is difficult to move around the pathways on walkers, we opted for the tram ride. I have never taken this before as, of course, personally I prefer to walk. But the ride was an interesting experience as the tram operator narrated the history of the park and imparted information about the trees and plants as she drove us around.

Descanso Gardens La Canada

Shady oak trees Descanso Gardens La Canada

It was strange for me to see the camellia bushes devoid of any flowers. Too bad they cannot bloom year round. But the park is still beautiful in a different way. Also, on this day the Boddy House was closed. Last time I was here I thoroughly enjoyed walking through the building and looking at the first-rate art exhibit in the carriage house.  I am already looking forward to my next visit which I am sure will be very soon!

Click here for a photo gallery of this day’s visit. Also, click here for my previous blog post on Descanso Gardens.

(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)