RMW: the blog

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


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Eating in the rain

 La Grande Orange Cafe

 

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

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

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

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

La Grande Orange Cafe

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

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

la grande orange cafe

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Post Rose Parade Floats: Downton Abbey to Disney to Dragons

post rose parade floats

First of all I want to apologize for being so behind with my postings and for not being able to address your comments and visit your blogs. I have projects I have to work on but I will catch up soon, I promise!

Okay…. Yesterday I watched the Rose Parade twice. It was the last time Stephanie Edwards and Bob Eubanks were hosting the parade for KTLA TV in Los Angeles. Sad to see them go, but as they said, it was their choice to go out on top.

post rose parade floats

I’ve seen the parade in person twice many years ago. It’s a lovely thing to do with the bands and horses but the floats go by yards away and you can’t see all the details.

post rose parade floats

Three years ago I viewed the Post Parade floats and enjoyed seeing them up close and personal. Click here to see that post.

post rose parade floats

So this year I organized a trip for some friends. We were a group of ten. I was really happy that so many people wanted to go.

post rose parade floats

I took about a billion photos. The images I chose to post here were totally arbitrary and admittedly way too many. So forgive me.

post rose parade floats

You have to remember as you look at these photos that everything has to be from the plant kingdom. Flowers, seeds, leaves, beans, grasses, bark, fruit, vegetables… you name it.

post rose parade floats

No, you can’t use feathers so these wings are made of some kind of vegetation.

post rose parade floats

I don’t know how many gazillions of people show up to view the floats. They say it amounts to tens of thousands. This shot was taken on the way out and you can see a bazillion people still coming in way way way way up on the hill.

post rose parade floats

It was a good thing we arrived about ten in the morning before the serious crowds arrived.

post rose parade floats

There are two and a half miles of floats. And it takes over two hours to look at everything.

post rose parade floats

Fortunately it’s really well organized.

post rose parade floats

The weather was spectacular. Look how clear the mountains are. One of my friends commented he expected to see a dusting of snow. But there was none. However, next week we are expecting rain in the city which should mean snow on the mountains.

post rose parade floats

I pretty much took off on my own and lost sight of the group. It’s easier for me to take photos that way.

post rose parade floats

I think people are used to that by now!

post rose parade floats

It’s hard to expect people to go at my speed when I keep stopping to take photos. Oh wait, I have to take a picture of that!

post rose parade floats

I believe photographers see things other people don’t. And find significance in insignificant things.

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On some of the floats I couldn’t help taking several pictures at different angles. Other floats I skipped completely. Not because i didn’t find them worthy but sometimes the crowds of people blocked my view and other times I just got tired. Nothing personal!

post rose parade floats

Also in some situations that pesky sun was just in the wrong place. Of course, later in the morning when the sun was overhead it became almost impossible to take a shot.

post rose parade floats

But I feel like the photos I was able to take are representative of the floats.

post rose parade floats

I am just plain impressed with this art form where anything seems to be possible.

post rose parade floats

As I wanted to get these photos posted as soon as possible, I didn’t have time to do a lot of post processing so many are as they came out of the camera and many have very little basic processing.

post rose parade floats

I have to say what really annoyed me was the photographers trying to take “artsy” photos. They were adjusting the aperture or shutter speed or angle or whatever, hogging their particular space so nobody else could take a photo. Get over it! If you want to be an artist then arrive really early in the morning to take your award-winning shots!

post rose parade floats

I was being courteous by taking my snapshot and moving on. This is not the place for Ansel Adams!

post rose parade floats

I think I got some pretty good photos that give people the general idea.

post rose parade floats

Enough of that!

In the US we are coming up on the final season of Downton Abbey in 2016. So it was really nice to see a representation of Highclere Castle where it is filmed. It was certainly a popular float:

As usual most of us arrived by public transportation. I walked 25 minutes to the Culver City station, took the Expo Line to the Red Line to the Gold Line. There was a free Metro bus shuttle from the Sierra Madre Villa station to the float viewing. The whole trip took a little over two hours.

post rose parade floats

I love public transportation and especially riding on the train.

post rose parade floats

After the float viewing we took the shuttle back to the train station.

post rose parade floatsFrom there we had a six-minute walk to the original Panda Inn for lunch.

I don’t know how wide-spread Panda Express is, but this is original sit down restaurant that also owns the Express venues. I always wanted to eat at this restaurant so I can check that off my bucket list now. They served a lot of food… but that was no problem for me. I ordered the garlic shrimp and ate every morsel.

Of course, I neglected to take photos.

Anyway, here are the rest of the way too many photos for your enjoyment. Click on any image to start the slideshow:

Hopefully next week, after I am done successfully with some events, I will be back on track with my blogging duties and responsibilities! Thanks for hanging in there!

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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It’s a Doo Dah day

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

Everybody is familiar with the Rose Parade. Gazillions of people line the streets of Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena every New Year’s Day to watch the elaborate and expensive floats go by. More gazillions all over the world watch the parade on TV from the comfort of their sofas. There aren’t too many people who don’t know about it.

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

The opposite is true of the parade’s ugly sister, the Doo Dah Parade. And that is just fine.

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

Thirty seven years ago a chap named Peter Apanel  had a brain storm to start a parade that would be the anti-Rose Parade. The Rose Parade had “a theme so we would have no theme. They have judging and prizes, so we would have no judging and no prizes. Since none of us would be allowed in the Rose Parade, we would allow everyone in our parade.”

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

And so the Doo Dah Parade was born.

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

When I first heard about it several years ago it became one of those things I wanted to see sometime in the future when I had the time. That time finally came.

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

This year the parade was held on November 15 and I decided to go.

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

Pasadena is 20 miles, 2 freeways and 45 minutes (depending on the date and time) from Culver City. But now I can get there by Metro train: Expo Line to the Red Line to the Gold Line.

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

I met some friends at Union Station and we all hopped on the Gold Line together to ride to the end of the line at Sierra Madre Villa station. (It won’t be the end of the line for long as it is being expanded out to Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa in the first phase and further out later on.)

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

Then we walked about a mile to what happened to be the turn around point for the parade, and a good location for taking photos.

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

That was my first and last Doo Dah Parade. I enjoyed seeing what it was all about and now I can strike another event off my list.

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

It’s just a bit of fun and I’m sure the people who enter it are having a super time.

doo-dah-parade-pasadena

For more photos than you ever wanted to see of the Doo Dah Parade click an image below:

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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A stroll through Pasadena

PasadenaLast weekend I met a group of fellow walking enthusiasts at Union Station. We took the Gold Line out to Pasadena, a city of just under 140,000 inhabitants about ten miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

Above is a photo of the Salvation Army band playing Christmas music. As you must know by now I don’t subscribe to any religious myths but I always support the Salvation Army this time of year as they do good work.

Pasadena

Pasadena has the distinction of being the fourth city in Los Angeles County to be incorporated (1886).

Pasadena

And, of course, the Rose Parade is the event that Pasadena is most famous for.

Pasadena

You can see my previous blog post about Pasadena’s Greene and Greene architecture here. Which the above photo obviously is not, just some interesting architecture… my guess would be the 1920s give or take… Art Deco on the left and what I call Southern California Eclectic on the right!

Pasadena

We got off the train at the Memorial Park station… and lo and behold, the park was a mere few footsteps away. Memorial Park is about 5 1/4 acres and is home to Levitt Pavilion which hosts free summer concerts.

Below are some photos of that area: click on any photo to start the slideshow.

Pasadena

The Blind Donkey hangs out on Union Street. They have quite a whiskey menu if that is what you are into. I’ll stick to vino, thank you!

We passed some lovely Art Deco and Beaux Artes buildings on our way to the Paseo Colorado shopping center for lunch. I always cringe when I see a modern building and wonder what architectural splendor had to be knocked down in order to build it. I wish I could say our sensibilities were different today than they were in the 1960s or 1970s when so many beautiful “out of date” structures met the wrecking ball but unfortunately that is not the case.

Please click on one of the images below to start the slideshow:

We eventually made our way over to the Paseo Colorado shopping center. Colorado Boulevard is on the Rose Parade route. The boulevard has some nice older buildings (1920s, give or take a few).

PasadenaThe Pacific Asia Museum which has a wonderful permanent collection as well as innovative events. Worth the effort to get there in my opinion.

Pasadena

A short walk and we were at the Civic Center. City Hall and all that stuff. Click on image to start the slideshow:

Pasadena

Pasadena

An office building that was apparently once a church with stained glass windows.

Back to the Memorial Park train station and the Gold Line to downtown Los Angeles. This gentleman insisted on walking in front of my camera so here he is in perpetuity!

Pasadena

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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Greene and Greene walking tour of southwest Pasadena

Pasadena greene & greene walk I love architecture. So last weekend I went on a Sierra Club walk of Greene & Greene houses in Pasadena. This tour, one of four, covered the southwest portion of Pasadena. Please note, not all the houses depicted are by Greene & Greene.  I just took pictures randomly of buildings and scenes that looked interesting to me.

Pasadena greene & greene walk

Pasadena is an incorporated city about eleven miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles and approximately 22 miles from where I live in Culver City.

So last weekend I went on a Sierra Club walk of Greene & Greene houses in Pasadena.

I decided to take the Metro train system all the way there as the starting point of the walk was advertised as just two blocks north of the South Pasadena station. I took the Expo Line to the Red Line to the Gold Line. My first time on the Gold Line so that was pretty exciting.

So last weekend I went on a Sierra Club walk of Greene & Greene houses in Pasadena.

But once I got off the train those two blocks north turned out to be more like two miles… and uphill. But no matter, I can always use the exercise.

So last weekend I went on a Sierra Club walk of Greene & Greene houses in Pasadena.

The brothers Greene were architects working mostly in California during the 1890s and early 1900s. They designed houses and bungalows in the style of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. In some instances, they even designed the furniture and fixtures.

The above photo is definitely not of a Greene house… more like something you would find on a southern Plantation.

I really enjoyed myself on the walk. It was one of those beautiful southern California March days. The sun was shining, the birds were singing. And the temperature was perfect for walking.

So last weekend I went on a Sierra Club walk of Greene & Greene houses in Pasadena.

So last weekend I went on a Sierra Club walk of Greene & Greene houses in Pasadena.

Obviously, this is also not a Greene & Greene house! This is an example of what I call Southern California eclectic. A mishmash of Mission Revival, Mediterranean, Spanish, what-have-you. I love it!

So last weekend I went on a Sierra Club walk of Greene & Greene houses in Pasadena. Now, if I had to give you one example of Greene & Greene design, this would be it. No mistaking this architecture for Mission Revival. But to me it screams “California!” (And especially, Pasadena.)

The ability to walk is the greatest gift. I can walk anywhere and have a great time by myself. Or I can enjoy the company of friends. Or, like this day, meet and talk to a group of new people who have similar interests.

The ability to walk is the greatest gift. I can walk anywhere and have a great time by myself. Or I can enjoy the company of friends. Or, like this day, meet and talk to new people who have similar interests.

I learned on this walk that Caltrans owns a lot of the houses in this neighborhood. They were acquired decades ago for the proposed extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway from Alhambra to Pasadena which never happened. Some of these beautiful homes are rented out. Others langor in disrepair like the one above.

pasadena greene & greene architecture

Greene & Greene Pasadena

As anybody who knows anything about me is already aware, I am a Los Angeles tour guide. While I enjoy that profession, a lot of my jobs consist of taking busloads of tourists to see “Hollywood” (whatever that means to them) or Rodeo Drive or Universal City Walk. I have nothing against those places but they do NOT represent Los Angeles. I wish those tourists could see neighborhoods like these as part of the four-hour (or less) whirlwind tour of LA before making up their minds what LA is all about. However, being the vast city and county that it is, that is not possible.

pasadena greene & greene

pasadena greene & greene

I like the symmetry of the triangular attic window echoing the triangular pediment over the entryway.

pasadena greene & greene

See the sleeping porch extending from the second floor balcony? Ah, those balmy southern California nights… without all the nasty insects you would encounter in other parts of the country.

pasadena greene & greene I have no idea what kind of trees these are but they look so elegant with the seed pods in place of the leaves.

pasadena greene & greeneI like taking pictures of trees. Their irregularity makes a nice contrast to the draftsman precision of architecture.

pasadena greene & greenepasadena greene & greenepTwo kinds of holly bushes. Or bushes that look to me like holly, anyway!

pasadena greene & greene And for a change of pace, this glass building with lovely landscaping.

pasadena greene & greene

pasadena greene & greene

Another eclectic design. Barn style? I like it.

pasadena greene & greene

pasadena greene & greene

pasadena greene & greene

One of the (many) influences of Greene & Greene architecture was Japanese design. The lanterns out front welcome the visitor on to the property.

pasadena greene & greene

Love the rough texture of that brick chimney.

pasadena greene & greene

I think Hansel and Gretel live here…

pasadena greene & greene

pasadena greene & greene

pasadena greene & greene

Of course, Pasadena is most famous for the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. It is a year-round business and this lovely mansion is the headquarters. Many many moons ago when I worked for Nestle/Carnation, my boss’s daughter was one of the Rose Queen’s princesses. So, we were all invited to the crowning ceremony here. It was a gorgeous day and back then I would take any excuse to get away from the office!

pasadena greene & greene

The detail on this Victorian is exquisite.

pasadena greene & greene

A door worth coming home to.

pasadena greene & greene

And the palm trees wave farewell as we say goodbye to Pasadena and start the train trek back to Culver City. One of these days I must write a blog post about the ubiquitous Los Angeles palm trees. Too many things to write about. Too many other things needing my attention.

pasadena greene & greene

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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Pasadena Rose Parade floats on wheelchairs and walkers

rose parade floats Wednesday of last week my plan was to have lunch with my mother at her assisted living home in Culver City and run some errands for her. When I arrived I was greeted at the elevator by the activities coordinator. “Change of plans,” she told me. “We’re going to see the Rose Parade floats in Pasadena. Do you want to come?”

rose parade floats

“Yes, yes, yes and yes.” So I flew up the stairs, woke up my mother, told her she had five minutes to get dressed and we were out the door and on the bus. I have to say, my mom was a really good sport about the whole thing as she really didn’t have a clue where we were going or what we were doing. But a little bit of mystery is good for everybody’s life.

rose parade floats

I’ve been to the Rose Parade a couple of times too many years ago to admit to. And in the 1990s I was thrilled to be working on the Star Trek float for Nestle USA. I referred to what turned out to be a less than thrilling experience in a previous blog post.

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Fortunately, on that Wednesday, even though I was not expecting to go anywhere exciting, I happened to have my trusty point & shoot camera with me. From now on my motto is never leave home without it…

I’ve been to the Rose Parade a couple of times too many years ago to admit to. And in the 1990s I was thrilled to be working on the Star Trek float for Nestle USA. I referred to what turned out to be a less than thrilling experience in a previous blog post.

By the time we got out to Pasadena we were all starving. Our driver recommended a Mexican/Yucatan restaurant. El Portal on E. Green St. All I have to say is just go there. The best Mexican food I ever remember eating and that is saying something living in a city infested with Mexican restaurants.

rose parade floats rose parade floats

 But we had to move on to the 2013 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Post Parade… A Showcase of Floats. I don’t think any of us realized how huge the exhibit area was. We had several people on walkers and canes along with the wheelchairs. The wheelchairs weren’t a problem. But our walking people soon got tired.

rose parade floats

I managed to take a few pictures pushing my mother’s wheelchair with one hand and clicking my camera with the other. It was actually a good thing I didn’t have my big DSLR as that is definitely a two-hand production.

rose parade floats
Just remember when looking at these photos, everything that is visible on the floats has to be made out of some kind of plant life. You may think you are looking at a rock or fur or silk but it is all petals or seeds or leaves or something similar.

rose parade floats

Next year I would really like to go see the floats without the walkers and wheelchairs and get some good photos. But who knows, with all the millions of things I do, if I will remember by then?rose parade floats
Of course, this very adoptable and adorable kitty had to be my favorite!

rose parade floats

rose parade floats

rose parade floats

(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)