RMW: the blog

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


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Feline Friday – #82- Mountain lion P-23 killed on Malibu Canyon Road

mountain lion

The remains of female mountain lion P-23 were recently found near Malibu Canyon Road, where it appears she was struck by a vehicle. (Copyright National Park Service)

It’s sad to have to report that yet another mountain lion has been struck and killed by a vehicle in the Santa Monica Mountains. Pretty soon we will be bereft of mountain lions.

According to the LA Times, from where I “borrowed” the above photo, she gave birth to three litters of kittens during her five and a half years of life.

Not only was she was the product of inbreeding with P-12 as her dad and granddad, but she also later mated with P-12. This is because the lions are trapped within small regions bordered by freeways and subdivisions that used to be their habitat.

Please read the full story here. 

 

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20th Annual Culver City Art Group Holiday Art Show

culver city art group

It’s that time of year again and hard to believe we have been doing this for twenty years!

I will be exhibiting several of my photos in the main show… still deciding exactly which ones but I’m narrowing it down. I’ll also have a table with some of my previous work in ceramic tiles.

These are two of the photos I know for sure I’ll be exhibiting:

Malibu Pelicans

Pelicans, Malibu, California

oregon Cape Meares

Cape Meares, Oregon

The image above came as a surprise when I was checking the photos in Lightroom. This was taken the day after my accident and concussion and I truly was walking around in a fuzz for a few days. Good thing I like to take pictures or I probably would not have remembered being here!

Both of these will be printed on my 13 x 19 inch (33 x 48 cm) Canon inkjet printer.

I have an older Spyder4Pro calibrater for my monitor and I just ordered the upgrade Spyder5Elite which should be arriving today. I have very tricky lighting conditions in my office… so I’m hoping the more sophisticated calibrater will help deal with it. Hope I’m not wasting my money!

The show is one week away and I am nowhere near ready so, as usual, panic has set in. As luck will have it, Aaron Bros is having one of their one cent frame sales and I got a 50% coupon (that can be used once a day) for other items… it all helps.

I’m also working on setting up a photo website on SmugMug which is taking longer than I would like, but I think I have my head wrapped around their engine now and I can move full steam ahead… would be nice to have something up and running for the show, but if not, at least for the New Year!

On with the day!

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!


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Malibu birds on the beach

malibu lagoon state beach

I know the photo above looks like a postcard from the 1940s. When I looked at it in Lightroom it was hopelessly overexposed and this was the best I could do to bump it up, but in terms of showing the area it was the best image. The whole purpose this day was to shoot pictures of birds, not landscapes, so please accept it for what it is.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach is also known as Surfrider Beach, To the left is the Malibu Sport Fishing Pier and in the background, the Santa Monica Mountains.As I know absolutely nothing about surfing, this is quoted from Wikipedia:

Malibu Lagoon is a famous right-break that had a big impact on the surfing culture in Southern California in the 1960s. Located near the Malibu Pier, it is among the most popular surf spots in Los Angeles County. The shoreline is usually triple-cornered due to the buildup of silt, sand, and cobble at the mouth of the creek. The tapering, smooth-breaking waves are recognized among surfers worldwide as the gold standard for summertime “point” surf.

Malibu Lagoon has three primary surfing areas. First Point has waves popular with longboarders[4] and shortboarders during bigger swells. Second Point is used for high performance surfing. It has a main takeoff that lines up and connects into the inside called the “kitty bowl”. Third Point has a left and right side. On the south swells most common in late August and September, surfers can ride all the way to the pier.

malibu lagoon state beach

Young Osprey

Enough about surfing and on to the birds.

When I showed up for the class I was intimidated as most of the students were sporting 600mm lenses and I had my lowly 70-300mm lens. As more people arrived I felt better to see some others with similar lenses to mine. A couple of people had rented their 600mm for the day. Why didn’t I think about that? Oh, because I rarely use my 70-300 and this was my opportunity to put it to good use.

malibu lagoon state park

Great Blue Heron

I have to admit I had a hard time focusing on the birds. I realized that if I wanted to be a professional bird photographer (I don’t) I would certainly need to invest in a 600mm lens. I had to crop in really tightly in Lightroom to make the birds a decent size.

malibu lagoon state park

Pelicans

Cropping that much I could see some of the birds probably weren’t in tack sharp focus… at least not enough to be in Audubon Magazine… but just fine for my blog! A tripod would have helped my unsteady hand too. I also realize to be a bird photographer you have to have patience, waiting for just the right moment. And you need to be ready. I think I’ll stick to landscapes and architecture that doesn’t move just when you have the shot set up!

Malibu Lagoon State Park

The majestic seagull

Nevertheless, I had a great day and might go back on my own another time to try again.

So please enjoy the rest of my photos from Malibu Lagoon State Beach. Click on a photo to begin the slide show.

I’ve always liked watching pelicans but now I have a new respect for them. Although they seem clumsy on land, in the air and water they are incredibly graceful.

See my other Malibu posts at:

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/great-egrets-in-the-parking-lot/

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/malibu-creek-state-park-test-run/

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!


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Great Egrets in the parking lot

malibu egretsSaturday I took a bird photography class with Samy’s Camera. I rode the #534 Metro bus all the way from Culver City to Malibu Country Mart, a 19 mile trip. Door to door service!

malibu egrets

We met in the parking lot where we right away found some photogenic subjects. Great Egrets were nesting in two of the trees. I’ve never seen egrets in trees before so this was quite exciting.

Look at the little ball of fluff to the right of the parent egret. The egrets build nests out of twigs, as you can see in this photo.

malibu egrets

I don’t know if this is on lookout duty or keeping an eye out for a good twig.

malibu egrets

This guy is doing his morning stretching exercises.

malibu egrets

This baby wouldn’t stop scratching.

malibu egrets

Okay, now he has decided to pose. Is he the cutest thing or what? Although that beak already looks lethal!

I have a lot more bird photos from that day coming up in future posts.

From animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/great-egret/:

Great egrets are found near water, salt or fresh, and feed in wetlands, streams, ponds, tidal flats, and other areas. They snare prey by walking slowly or standing still for long periods, waiting for an animal to come within range of their long necks and blade-like bills. The deathblow is delivered with a quick thrust of the sharp bill, and the prey is swallowed whole. Fish are a dietary staple, but great egrets use similar techniques to eat amphibians, reptiles, mice, and other small animals.

These birds nest in trees, near water and gather in groups called colonies, which may include other heron or egret species. They are monogamous, and both parents incubate their three to four eggs. Young egrets are aggressive towards one another in the nest, and stronger siblings often kill their weaker kin so that not all survive to fledge in two to three weeks.

The great egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society.

 

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!


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Malibu Creek State Park test run

malibu creek state park

This coming Saturday I am enrolled in a photography class taking place at Malibu Creek State Park to learn how to get the best shots of marine birds. So today I took the Metro bus #534 from Culver City to Malibu for a test run to scope the area. Now I feel confident about being able to get there on time.

malibu creek state park

This information board tells us that Malibu Lagoon is a seasonally tidal wetland. Water slowly fills the lagoon during summer months. The water level in the lagoon moves up and down daily with the tides.

malibu creek state park

The walking path looking back towards Pacific Coast Highway. The bridge over PCH to the right.

malibu creek state park

The first half of the photos were taken with my wide angle 10-18mm lens. I am loving my new purchase!

malibu creek state park

Sculptural fence looking south over the lago0n.

malibu creek state park

Santa Monica Mountains in the background.

malibu creek state park

As I was walking around the lagoon I felt so grateful to be alive. I struggle with depression and the best “medication” for me is to force myself out of the house to be in nature. Photography is a wonderful excuse to get outside. Life is beautiful.

malibu creek state park

Who would want to be dead when there is so much beauty to be enjoyed?

malibu creek state park

I feel so fortunate to live where I do. I can hop on a bus and be in a whole new world in a short period of time!

malibu creek state park

I was at Malibu Lagoon in the afternoon. Our class on Saturday will be in the morning when there are more birds out and around. I can’t wait to get some good shots.

malibu creek state park

I tripped on some rocks and nearly fell flat on my face at this point. Fortunately I was able to save myself before embarrassing myself in front of some foreign tourists! What a beautiful day!

embarrassing

Yup, this is the famous Surfrider Beach, dedicated as the first World Surfing Reserve on October 9, 2010. It has some spectacular surfing waves, but not today.

 it was dedicated as the first World Surfing Reserve on October 9, 2010

It is also known for catching a good grunion run. “Grunion leave the water at night to spawn on beaches during the spring and summer months. For four consecutive nights, beginning on the nights of the full and new moons, spawning occurs after high tides and continues for several hours. As waves break on the beach, grunion swim as far up the slope as possible. The female arches her body and excavates the semi-fluid sand with her tail to create a nest. She twists her body and digs into the sand until she is half buried, with her head sticking up. She then deposits her eggs in the nest. Males curve around the female and release milt. The milt flows down the female’s body until it reaches and fertilizes the eggs. As many as eight males may fertilize the eggs in a single nest. After spawning, the males immediately retreat toward the water while the female twists free and returns with the next wave. While spawning may only take 30 seconds, some fish remain stranded on the beach for several minutes.” From California Grunion Run.  

http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/grunionschedule.asp

Up on the hill, Pepperdine University, a Christian university. You can see the cross at the right.

http://www.pepperdine.edu/

Malibu Sport Fishing Pier in the center where you can charter a fishing boat.

malibu creek state park

View of the bridge over Malibu Lagoon, Pacific Coast Highway.

malibu creek state park

Snowy egret looking for dinner.

malibu creek state park

Gazillions of pelicans.

malibu creek state park

Gazillions of pelicans up close!

malibu creek state park

More gazillions of pelicans.

malibu creek state park

How wonderful it would be to be flying free over the ocean. Santa Monica skyline in the distance.

malibu creek state park

Snowy egret looking for dinner. I had not eaten since breakfast and I was feeling a little peckish myself so I empathised.

malibu creek state park

Some residences in the Malibu Colony. Do you watch Two and a Half Men. This is where Charlie lived. In its heyday this was, in my humble opinion, the funniest show on TV. Too bad it went on too long.

malibu creek state park

Oh, those pelicans!

malibu creek state park

Don’t know what these birds are. At this point I was shooting with my 18-135mm lens. This is my favorite general lens that I use 90% of the time. I can’t wait to come back on Saturday with my 70-300mm lens and get some close ups of these birds.

malibu creek state park

The building in the center is some kind of software company… can’t remember the name. Not a bad place to work. But personally I wouldn’t want to be driving up PCH every day.

malibu creek state park

Another view of that sculptural fence.

malibu creek state park

I liked the curving fence. I walked back to Malibu Country Mart to catch my bus. The ride back at 4:00pm was almost twice as long in traffic. Glad I was not driving!

The park was the center of Chumash Native American life for centuries and was once used to film numerous movies and TV shows, such as Planet of the Apes and M*A*S*H.

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!

 

 

 


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It’s all about the animals at Malibu Family Wines’ Saddlerock Ranch

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

How could you not love this face? As much as I enjoyed taking photos of the gorgeous landscapes at Saddlerock Ranch, shooting the animals was definitely my favorite part. As I don’t know a gnu from an emu, I am not going to attempt to name all of the animals… I am sure they don’t care anyway, leaving such mundane and unimportant endeavours to us nit-picking humans.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

I do know what a zebra looks like… if you are from England you know they are named after zebra crossings! Oy, we are getting some of those in my neighborhood… but that’s a story for another day. These guys (or gals, what do I know?) obviously went to modeling school to learn how to pose for the camera.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Yessssss, you are handsome… did you know that a zebra’s background color is black and the white stripes and tummies grow as additions?

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

What great expressions: we disdain you humans taking our pictures, but oh, wait, get our good side! These are llamas, am I right?

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

This guy is a work of art: a walking collage and still working on it.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Some of the horses and donkeys were wearing fly masks. The animals can see fine through the mesh. Some of the animals not wearing the masks had eyes full of flies. My guess is the flies liked the moisture.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Hmm, something looks interesting over there!

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

All the animals were eager to have their photos taken… seemed like it was the highlight of their day.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

I loved their hairstyles. Who needs a perm?

malibu family wines saddlerock ranchSorry not everybody is bringing carrots for you to snack on.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranchJust a baby – er – thingie.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranchI think these are bridles… I’m not a horse expert so forgive me if I am wrong. I just liked the look of them hanging on the fence.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

These horses were getting their aerobic workouts for the day.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

The whole bison family lined up for the family portrait. They know how they earn their living!

malibu-family-wines-060114-146-C-850px

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Mother and child bison… notice the family resemblance?

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Somebody said “Look over there…”

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

These guys said this baby will be a piece of cake to rope because he doesn’t yet know what the lasso means… the joke was on them as they never did get the lasso on him. He had crawled through the fence from next door and eventually made it back all on his own.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Okay, okay… enough zebras already!!!!!! But they are so darn cute. Unlike their cousins the horses, zebras have never been domesticated.

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Angelina Jolie who???

malibu family wines saddlerock ranch

Nothing like a cool bath on a warm day… I could have jumped in with him and had a splash fight.

And so we say adieu to the Saddlerock animals. We also saw camels from the van, but not in the section we had access to this time.

See part one of my day at Saddlerock ranch here.

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!


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An encore visit to Malibu Family Wines at Saddlerock Ranch

malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

My previous visit to the Malibu Family Wines at Saddlerock Ranch was in July of 2011 when I was part of a group of tour guides on an exploratory trip. You can see my post about that here. This time I was back for a photography opportunity with a group of fellow photography students.

malibu family wines at saddle rock ranch

Visitors from out of town, and even Angelenos, are surprised to learn that we have vineyards in our own backyard. This area is a mere 34-mile drive from my house in Culver City. No need to fly all the way to Napa Valley in Northern California!

malibu family wines at saddle rock ranch

The vineyards consist of approximately 60,000 vines on 65 acres in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

According to the website: With the high altitude and separation from the coast, along with an ideal blend of weather conditions and rich, rocky soil, it’s the perfect environment for growing premium wine grapes.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

The Saddleback Ranch area affords many photographic opportunities like this vintage Yellow Cab no longer in operation.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

These Airstream trailers look like the makings for a dream vacation… but they are merely props to remind us of a bygone era.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Beautiful grassy area ideal for an event. Your wedding?

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

With our Mediterranean climate Southern California is like being in Italy or Greece or Spain. And whenever I visit those places I feel like I am still back in Southern California!

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

As a wino, it is lovely being in the midst of grape growing country. On my previous visit I tasted some of the wines and they have a Syrah that tastes like it is made in heaven. Well, Southern California is pretty close (when you are not fighting traffic!).

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

This area is home to a lot of rocky outcrops formed by, you got it… earthquakes…

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Classic Airstream with 50s pink flamingo… wouldn’t you love to spend a week here? Well, a weekend, anyway…

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Sunlight on the grape leaves. My parents used to grow grapes in their patio and I would pick the luscious leaves every year, brine them and stuff them with rice and raisins… oh yum.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

Another kind of trailer. I could see myself getting up before dawn, sitting in that rocking chair and watching the sun rise across the vineyards with a good cup of coffee.

Malibu family wines at saddlerock ranch

I love this photo. It says what this area is all about. Even though there are no people in the photo it expresses the idea of you and I relaxing in the midst of the grape vines. One of my favorite photos of the day.

Part Two will be about the animals on the ranch. Stay tuned!

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!


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Malibu Bluffs Park and other stuff

malibu bluffs park

Been pretty busy with my tour guide job the past few weeks so I haven’t had much time to post on my blog. I’m also getting ready for an upcoming art show. So combined with the other responsibilities in my life, it’s hard to find the time to go out and take photos, then sit down at the computer to sort them and run them through Photoshop. And then do the research and writing and actually post something! That is a full time job in itself…

The above snapshot was taken on my smartphone yesterday as we admired the view at Malibu Bluffs Park. I was taken by the contrasting colors of the flowers (including the dried brown ones) and the pastels of the hills and mountains in the background.

The buildings belong to the Pepperdine University campus which has magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean.

Now I have my smartphone (Galaxy S4) it’s a lot easier to snap photos inconspicuously when the tour-goers aren’t looking… so I should be thinking about doing this on all my tours.

On this same tour yesterday I was eating lunch on the Santa Monica Pier while my tour-goers had some free time to wander around the area. I was thinking how amazing it was that I was being paid to be there while other people pay thousands of dollars to be in that same spot. I always enjoy listening to all the different accents and languages as people stroll the pier.

I enjoy doing the beach cities tours. And the museums. And downtown Los Angeles. Even Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Hollywood, not so much, but of course, everybody wants to see the Boulevard…

Just for the heck of it, below is a photo from a couple of weeks ago with one of the cruise ships at San Pedro, the Port of Los Angeles. I forget the name of the ship!

When I work as a step-on guide, most of my pick-ups are from the cruise ships.

No, it is not a bendy boat. The photo is a composite of three photos blended together in Photoshop which created that lovely curve (actually, that was my fault, moving the vantage point of the camera).

san-pedro-ship-panorama

Please click on all the photos for a larger view.

All photos and content copyright roslyn m wilkins. Please feel free to pass along this post via email or social media, but if you wish to use some of our images or text outside of the context of this blog, either give full credit to myself and One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!

 


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Art of the Santa Monicas at the King Gillette Ranch in Malibu

king-gillette-ranch

“The hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” ― Lewis Carroll.
That certainly sums up my life. Although, who wants to sit around on their thumbs complaining about being bored? That will never be me!

king-gillette-ranch

So on Sunday a friend and I drove the 27 miles from Culver City out to King Gillette Ranch in Malibu. A mutual friend was exhibiting her artwork at the Allied Artists of the Santa Monica Mountains & Seashore art show on the property. As I have wanted to visit the King Gillette Ranch for eons (well, for at least a year since I first heard of it) this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

king-gillette-ranch

If you are interested in the history of the ranch, you can go to the website. But very briefly, the 588-acre ranch opened to the public in 2007. It was owned by the razor magnate King C. Gillette (yes, that Gillette) in the 1920s who hired the famous architect of the day, Wallace Neff, to design some of the buildings.

king-gillette-ranch

This is the courtyard of the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center where the art was displayed. What could be a better setting for art of the Santa Monicas?

king gillette ranch

From the brochure: “The broad meadows and low ridgelines serve as a wildlife corridor in the geographic center of the Santa Monica Mountains range. Several sensitive species are present. Raptors and other birds forage and nest among the plant communities of valley and coast live oak savannah, grassland, costal sage scrub, chaparral, riparian woodland, and southern willow riparian vegetation.”

king gillette ranch

Some of the neighbors hanging out in the hood.

king gillette ranch

The leafless Sycamores competing with the artwork for attention. I guess the trees won!

king gillette ranch

And a parrot poking his beak in too!

king gillette ranch

Sycamore trees seem even more beautiful without their leaves.

king gillette ranch

After viewing some lovely plein aire and landscape paintings in the exhibit, it was time for lunch. We found a quiet, shady spot among some oak trees.

king gillette ranch

I had brought El Pollo Loco and it never tasted so good. Why does food always taste so much better at a picnic? Even a lowly hard-boiled egg turns into a sumptuous feast.

king gillette ranch

My friend noted that she was completely at peace in this setting.

king gillette ranch

If you can’t get enough privacy in this tree, you can check into the bird motel.

king gillette ranch

Taking time to stop and look at the details is part of the wonder of being out in nature.

king gillette ranch

I liked the shadows thrown by the bare branches. And people think we don’t have seasons in southern California. The trees tell us otherwise.

king gillette ranch

A dry creek reminds us we are living in the arid climate of southern California.

king gillette ranch

king gillette ranch

This is the reservoir built next to that dry creek. Love that sparkly light on the water.

king gillette ranch

Shady road winding past the picnic area.

king gillette ranch

king gillette ranch

This is the seminary built by the Claretian religious order in 1955 including dormitories, classrooms and a chapel. A prime example of what I call “southern California eclectic” architecture. A mixture of Moorish arches, Corinthian capped columns, Mexican tile roof and a very traditional front door.

king gillette ranch

The back side of the seminary building.

king gillette ranch

A hazy, sunny southern California March day. The ranch is splat in the middle of the Santa Monica Mountains.

king gillette ranch

Lest we forget we live in Hollywood, “The Biggest Loser” sign over the door of this building reminds us of that fact. The show is filmed here.

king gillette ranch

king gillette ranch

The 25-room Gillette Mansion built in 1928 by Gillette was purchased by the movie director Clarence Brown in 1935. He added a pool, tennis courts and an airplane landing strip. A nice little retreat away from the bright lights of Hollywood.

king gillette ranch

“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more.” John, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Returning home and browsing through the brochure (printed, by the way, on 100% post-consumer waster recycled paper with soy ink) I realized we had missed the Botanical Center… rats. Well, only an excuse to visit another day.

We also missed the Trail to Inspiration Point. But that was my fault as I had stupidly not changed into my trail shoes which were sitting in my car. When I saw the first part of the trail I realized I could not take a chance walking up there in my running shoes. I have too many injuries to my ankles, knees, hips, etc. to risk doing any more damage. Next time I am putting on those shoes and making the trek as apparently there is a not-to-be-missed 360 degree view of the surrounding Las Virgenes Valley.

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, please check with us first for proper usage. Thanks!


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Fish ‘n chips and shrimp tacos for Easter

malibu gladstones

Gladstones in Malibu on Easter Sunday

My mother loves fish ‘n chips and I love seafood tacos so what better place to indulge in both than Gladstones in Malibu? Easter Sunday turned out to be a spectacular day. The drive up Pacific Coast Highway at noon was a little trafficky, but not too bad. Who cares about stop and go when you have magnificent views of the ocean on a gorgeously sunny day?

Our reservation was for 12:30, and due to careful planning on my part, despite the maddening crowds on the highway, we arrived ten minutes early and were seated right away.

I had not eaten breakfast, so when I looked at the menu my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I started with the clam chowder—oh my, so rich and creamy. I could have stopped right there and been very happy. But the shrimp tacos were on their way.

My mother announced her fish ‘n chips, the most expensive I have ever seen on any menu anywhere, were the best she had ever eaten since leaving England. But really, $24.95? Oh well, it was Easter. And we had to pay for the view.

My shrimp tacos were a very good value. Three tacos crammed full of shrimp and coleslaw for under $17. Why didn’t I take a photo of our food?

After more than an hour of solid eating, neither of us could do any more damage to our meals. I shoveled the rest of my mother’s fish (one large piece of cod) and a handful of her french fries—I mean chips—along with my two tacos into a box to take home. The bus boy very kindly brought me a fresh container of guacamole.

malibu-gladstones-beach

Enjoying Easter Sunday at the beach

It was such a fabulous day and I had nothing else planned so I didn’t feel like racing back to Culver City at that very moment. So we sat on the walkway overlooking the ocean. I am not usually very good at sitting and doing nothing. But water, and especially the ocean, always fascinates me. So an hour and a half passed very quickly.

malibu-gladstones

The beach below Gladstones

I watched the people on the beach, some of whom were waiting for a table (a one and half hour wait without a reservation). A couple of sailboats came by. 

Parasailing off the Malibu coast

Parasailing off the Malibu coast

To the south I could see the Santa Monica Pier. I noticed a yellow speck in the sky at the end of the pier which turned out to be some brave soul parasailing.  His or her turnaround point was just in front of us… maybe returning to Marina del Rey where there is a parasailing operator.

malibu beach at gladstones

Malibu Beach at Gladstones

A man paddled his surfboard with an oar alongside his companion in a kayak. A young man and woman chased their little dog around on the sand—I don’t know who was having more fun, the dog or the humans.

I’ve been to Gladstones many times over the decades. Perhaps the most memorable occasion was in the 80s when I worked for TOSCO, an independent oil company based in Century City and then Santa Monica, until it came to a sad end. We were a fun-loving group back then. We had unlimited expense accounts, the money flowed with the oil, and we partied as hard as we worked.

One sunny summer lunchtime several of us piled into a colleague’s convertible Mustang and headed for Gladstones. We sat outside on the deck in the glorious Malibu sunshine looking down on to that pristine white sand. I don’t remember if we ate anything (except peanuts) but I do remember we all ordered a tanker load of Long Island Iced Teas.

I think there were six of us… how we all crammed into that car, I don’t know. It was probably three women and three men but it was a long time ago… we were all SO young!

Whenever some good looking men walked by on the beach, the women would throw peanuts at them. When pretty women walked by, the men would throw the peanuts. Did I say we were young?

By the time we finished drinking, half the afternoon had gone by. We had to get back to work! In those days, I am not proud to say, drinking and driving was not a big thing. We all piled back into the Mustang and were, needless to say, quite rowdy all the way back to the office.

I have to say, for better or worse, that was one of the best times of my life. I have so many stories from that period.

And sitting out there at Gladstones on Easter Sunday brought back a ton of memories. Life was so different back then. Much more innocent. Much more trusting of everything. Maybe it was my age. Or maybe it was the times. 

But it was time to go home and back to 2012. After all, 2012 is another of the best times of my life!

(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)