RMW: the blog

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


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Artsy friends at art show

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Yesterday I took the Metro #733 rapid bus to Ocean Park (south Santa Monica) to attend the Venice Art Forum Group Show artist talk at the invitation of my friend Barbara Golbin.

I took several art classes with Linda Jacobson, the founder of the forum, centuries ago at UCLA when after years of doing no art I felt the need to get started again. She was instrumental in getting my creative juices flowing and I haven’t stopped since.

When I met Barbara the day of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and discovered she was an artist in hiding, I introduced her to the art forum. I dropped out but Barbara kept going.

I really love her artwork and I don’t say that lightly. She has her own definitive style and is not afraid to try new things.

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Each artist was given the opportunity to talk about their art and what inspired them.

I love art and I never cease to be amazed by how each artist expresses themselves so uniquely.

Barbara likes flowers. How she interprets them is her own vision. I can spot one of her paintings a mile away in a crowd of thousands!

Below is the video I made of Barbara’s section of the talk:

I made this video with my point and shoot Canon G16 and at times I forgot I was shooting a video, therefore a few erratic moves!

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Another artist I greatly admire is Carole Garland. She said not everybody enjoys realistic painting. I had to comment that her paintings are not realistic. They are HER impressions of a scene. I happen to love the Santa Monica Pier myself, which is depicted in these paintings.

She also has a series of paintings of downtown Los Angeles at the TAG Gallery which I plan to visit this coming Thursday.

So much art to see, so little time!

 

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Spur of the moment beach walk

santa monica beach Last week was really a downer for me. Not only was I without a computer but I had a family issue I was dealing with… back and forth on a decision I didn’t want to make because I didn’t know which was the right way to go… so I was in a dark place. Yesterday the decision was pretty much made for me… it’s not a good situation but today I felt that weight was at least off my shoulders.

santa monica beach This morning I had things to do but I decided life is short and “things” can wait. I read Mark Bialczak’s blog post about sub-zero temperatures in Syracuse, New York and I thought, how lucky can I be living in Southern California with 70F (21C) degree weather and the sun shining… I didn’t want to spend the day hunched over the computer!

http://markbialczak.com/2015/01/13/feeling-negative-from-the-start/So I ran out the door, jumped on the Metro #733 bus and pretty soon I was at the Santa Monica Pier. Aaaaahhhh, I already felt a million times better.

I have a ton of photos of the pier so today I mainly wanted to breathe the air and enjoy staring at the ocean. I really liked the texture and color of the above photo, pretty much the way it came out of the camera with just a little sharpening. It doesn’t even look like water, does it?

santa monica beach I just managed to get this photo with a tad of water on the left… would have been better with another quarter of an inch but I would have had to dangle off the side of the pier so I felt lucky to get this.

santa monica beach These white stars are at various locations on the pier. I don’t know what they signify. Maybe nothing. But I like them.

santa monica beach While on the pier I decided to treat myself to my favorite greasy tuna melt. Very unhealthy but delicious. So to compensate I walked the 2 1/2 miles along Ocean Front Walk from the pier to Windward Avenue in Venice so I could catch the Culver City #1 bus. That’s one of the many advantages of taking the bus as I don’t have to walk back to my car.

So obviously, the above photo is looking back to the pier. That’s the bike path all those people are walking along…

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A view of the pier through the palm trees. Really, today I felt like I was on vacation in some exotic foreign land… and all just a short bus ride away.

santa monica beach Walking, walking, walking. No cars allowed here, just bikes, roller skaters and pedestrians.

santa monica beach I like this little play on words, loosely translated as “A clean beach is within our arm’s reach.”

santa monica beach These storm fences make a nice abstract composition.

santa monica beach A Santa Monica seagull. I liked the black and white art deco motif on his tail. This little rascal did not want to pose for me. Every time I clicked the shutter he turned his head away. Gotcha!

santa monica beach Now we have arrived in Venice. Can you tell the difference? There is a distinct feel in the air with the first footstep over the city limits from Santa Monica. Just for the record, Venice is a district in the City of Los Angeles, whereas Santa Monica is a separate city unto itself (but within Los Angeles County).

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For one thing, you would never see a drinking fountain decorated like this in Santa Monica. Also in Santa Monica the beach birds are Seagulls. In Venice they are Pigeons. Only kidding…

santa monica beach Now for some history. I lived in Venice in the mid to late 70s. Yes I am that ancient. This was the apartment building we called home, right on Ocean Front Walk in the middle of the action. Back then our living/dining area was on the left hand side where now they sell t-shirts, umbrellas and boogie boards. On the right, where the smoke shop is now, was our bedroom.

Every time I walk past this building I get such a weird feeling seeing all these strangers walking around in my former home and I think of us still watching TV and eating dinner in there!

A lot of things have happened since those days to me and the world. Gosh, how did I get through each day with no computer and no internet? It was a cruel and barbaric era!

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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Tongva Park – Santa Monica – Part Two

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For all of you who couldn’t sleep waiting for Part Two, no worries, here you go! These photos were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S4 phone. You can view Part One here.

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I now have three cameras that I use on a regular basis, the Canon Rebel T3i dSLR, the Olympus SP-350 point & shoot, and the above mentioned phone. I get very confused when I am looking for a photo I just took. Trying to get into the habit of downloading photos every day but I don’t always have the time.

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Anyway, just a few more photos of Tongva Park.

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According to the Santa Monica Mirror, these are the four official areas of the park:

— Garden Hill is defined by a series of seating alcoves and intimate display gardens that showcase a seasonally dynamic, native, and appropriately adapted Southern California plant palette;

— Discovery Hill is a play space for children, offering a range of discovery experiences and settings with hill slides, a music wall, play elements, water feature, and forts embedded into a lush and shaded landscape;

— Observation Hill reaches a height of 18 feet, offering the best views of the ocean and neighboring vicinity, and includes overlooks, a bridge, and public restroom tucked under the hill;

— Gathering Hill provides open space for congregation and relaxation including a large multi-purpose lawn, seating terraces, and an informal picnic area.

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The official opening was on October 19 but the park had its “soft” opening in early September. On several occasions I tried to peek through the canvas covering the fencing without success. One day the gate was open and one of the gardeners came out with a wheel barrow… he allowed me to take a look. He said, “This is a very impressive park, isn’t it?” “Beautiful!” I responded.

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James Corner Field Operations, the group who created New York’s acclaimed  High Line, is responsible for the design of Tongva Park. But as somebody observed, the New York park doesn’t overlook the Pacific Ocean… hard to compete with that view!

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Rats… just noticed my finger in the upper left corner… but I can’t be bothered to crop the photo! The lens is just in the wrong place… but I am more conscious of this now.

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These observation decks were a stroke of genius in my opinion and are the cherries on top of the cake!

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Just can’t get enough of that fountain. I will be back, you can count on that!

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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Tongva Park – Santa Monica – Part One

tongva park santa monica

Before the white man set foot in Los Angeles, the Tongva Indians peacefully inhabited the area for thousands of years. When the Spanish arrived in the 1700s it didn’t take long to wipe out their civilization.

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In early September the newest park in Santa Monica, named in honor of the Tongva, opened across from the Santa Monica Pier.

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Observation decks looking out on to Ocean Avenue.

So far I have visited twice, once in September just a few days after it opened and again in October.

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This post includes some of the photos I took on the first visit with my Canon T3i. My next post will be with the photos I took with my Samsung S4 phone.

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The 6.2-acre park cost a mere $42.3 million, coming in $7 million under budget. How often does that happen? This reminds me of when Scotty on the original Star Trek TV show would tell Captain Kirk that something he ordered would take seven days when he knew it would only take five, making himself look good!

Fortunately, this park does look good.

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Children’s playground area

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View looking towards Santa Monica City Hall.

The world needs more parks and I am always happy to see a new one being created instead of another parking lot.

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The park contains more than 300 trees, some of which were relocated from other areas, including a Moreton Bay fig tree over 100 years old.

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According to the Santa Monica Daily Press, this sculpture is composed of 49 stainless steel poles aligned in a grid, each supporting a weather vane and anemometer, or a device used to measure wind speed. Called “Weather Field No. 1,” it was designed by artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle.

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And it wouldn’t be a park without a water feature. I could stand there for hours just watching the water spurting out.

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There are seven entrances to the park giving it easy access from the street.

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Part Two is posted 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 One Good Life in Los Angeles, or contact us for proper usage. Thanks!


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A look inside Santa Monica’s Hotel Shangri-La

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Hotel Shangri-La is one of my favorite Santa Monica hotels to talk about. Designed in the Streamline Moderne style of the 1930s, it stands at the corner of Ocean and Arizona Avenues overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

hotel shangri-la santa monica

According to Wikipedia, “Streamline Moderne, or Art Moderne, was a late type of Art Deco architecture and design that emerged in the 1930s. Its architectural style emphasized curving forms, long horizontal lines, and, sometimes, nautical elements.”

The nautical elements seem to have been particularly prevalent in the Los Angeles area.

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A couple of Sundays ago Eleanor Schrader Schapa, an architectural and interior design historian, gave a lecture on Art Deco at this hotel. I jumped at the chance to see the interior of the building… and to hear Eleanor, of course!

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Hibiscus growing outside the front door.

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A view of more contemporary buildings in the next block viewed from the hotel. Fortunately the architects kept the design elements compatible with streamline moderne. At left the “Lawrence Welk building” erected in the 1960s. The building at right I believe opened in the 1980s.

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Don’t you love this combination ash tray/trash can at the main entrance?

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The Shangri-La is described as a boutique hotel. All 71 rooms have a view of the ocean.

The hotel was closed for a while and reopened in October 2008 following a $30 million renovation. None of the art deco/streamline moderne elements were changed.

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After Eleanor’s talk we took a stroll around the neighborhood looking at art deco architecture. But I’m not writing about that in this post. We returned to the hotel for a tour of the interior.

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Here you see a good example of the nautical elements of streamline moderne. Looks like a cruise ship, doesn’t it?

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View from one of the balconies of Ocean Avenue, the Pacific Ocean and Malibu in the distance. I was thinking it would be fun to stay in a room for a couple of nights and pretend to be on vacation. The cheapest room rate I could find single or double was $425 a night for October. For 50 cents round trip I can take a 20-minute bus ride from my house to this location, saving me $849.00 for the two days… Okay, let me rethink this.

hotel shangri-la santa monicaA better look at the beach with the magnificent Pacific Ocean.

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View from the hotel of Arizona Avenue in downtown Santa Monica.

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Kitchen area in one of the suites. If I was paying $425 a night I would need to cook my own meals… not saying this location is not worth that much, just that right I need a new dishwasher!

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Dig that crazy carpet in the living area. Love it!

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The furnishings are sparse but elegant… very nice.

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A lovely streamline moderne architectural curve.

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Original 1930s tile in the bathroom. Next time I remodel my bathroom I would seriously consider a built-in oval tub.

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Nothing like wood parquet flooring… I approve of the color.

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Ooh, wonderful art deco bedside lamps.

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Simple furnishings… all eyes should be on the view out of that window… I’d love to see it at night with a glass of wine.

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Looking down on to the hotel pool area… detail of that cabana area coming up.

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More of that being on board a cruise ship feeling.

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I’m hung up on art deco light fixtures. Love this one.

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If I don’t go for the built-in tub, this stand-alone is a possibility.

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View from the pool area of the 1929-31 Bay Cities Title Guaranty Building that rises 13 stories above the skyline in downtown Santa Monica. An art deco classic.

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Just before stepping back inside the building is this interesting area. I believe those must be massage tables/couches. I’m feeling relaxed just looking at this space. (Sorry it’s off at an angle.)

Next time I pass the Hotel Shangri-La, which will be any day now, I will not have to wonder what is behind that beautiful streamline moderne facade.

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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Walking from Westwood to Santa Monica with the Sierra Club

westwood to santa monica walk

I was planning to do something else entirely different on Saturday, January 12. But the day before I decided to check the Angeles Chapter Sierra Club hike schedule online just for the heck of it… because what I was planning to do was necessary but boring. Lucky me, there was a walk from Westwood Blvd. and Wilshire Blvd. to the ocean. Okay, forget necessary, I was on board.

Photo above was our view of the high rises as we moved westward from Westwood.

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This statue honoring the Spanish War Veterans stands outside the 114-acre Los Angeles National Cemetery on Wilshire.

So I took the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Line #12 up to the starting point. My mother swears she is responsible for Santa Monica naming their buses so, and, given the circumstances I believe her, although she never received credit… and I think that is worth some kind of compensation… okay, a whole other story.westwood to santa monica walk

At first I thought Westwood to Santa Monica? That is some kind of heavy-duty walk. But it is only about five miles and certainly do-able.

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For Angelenos this has been an unusually severe winter, experiencing daytime temperatures in the 50s F (the 10s C). I know, we are weather wimps, but we are not used to it. Worst of all, we had about three days with no sun. Seriously, that is unheard of.

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So for this walk I wore a t-shirt under my long-sleeved polo shirt with a jacket over that and an extra folded-up windbreaker in my bag. Oh, and a scarf. And I brought along gloves for good measure.

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All the above photos are on the grounds of the Veterans Administration in the Westwood area.

It turned out to be a beautiful day. Halfway through the walk I shed my jacket. Even at the beach I didn’t need it. It wasn’t exactly warm but the wonderful sunshine made everything seem better. Days without sun in LA is like a blizzard in other parts of the country. I’ve been in blizzards and I know.

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But you out there in Bad Weather Land probably don’t go to bed every night wondering if you will be woken up at 3:00am by The Big One, the 8.0 on the Richter Scale earthquake that will be the end of civilization as we know it. So count your blessings as you shovel that white stuff.

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This beautiful park is all part of the VA. Apparently there has been some talk of selling of this valuable land to developers. Just what we need in LA, more condos and less green space.

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This was view about 4.5 miles away from the shining sea. Can you see the sliver of the blue Pacific Ocean at the very end peeking between the buildings?

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One entrance to the Los Angeles National Veterans Park.

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A stark reminder that the American dream didn’t happen for a lot of people.

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Artist Tony Delap’s sculpture The Big Wave you see spanning Wilshire Blvd. at center of the photo is considered the unofficial gateway to Santa Monica. 

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This building was originally Home Savings. Many people have asked what style of architecture is this? Well, it’s Home Savings. What can I say? Fortunately, most of these buildings around LA have been preserved by subsequent take-overs by Washington Mutual and Chase Bank.

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westwood to santa monica walk

Yes indeedy, people dressed in the the traditional whites still play the British game of bowls in Santa Monica.

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Beautiful display of flowering plants at Whole Foods.

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A sad tribute to Claire Rose, victim of a hit and run on her 20th birthday July, 2012.

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1940s TV in a store window.

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Lovely art deco theater, The Wilshire, now closed.

westwood to santa monica walk

westwood to santa monica walk

Callahan’s Restaurant – Vienna Bakery, example of streamline art deco architecture. This area was full of art deco buildings before being torn down in the 60s and 70s… nice to see some are still standing.

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westwood to santa monica walk

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westwood to santa monica walk

Can’t find any information about this building as I write this but myguess is it was built circa 1940. I’ll do some research.

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Streamline moderne. I love architecture. I especially love the art deco era.!

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I enjoyed talking to some lovely, interesting ladies on our walk. At the end of our journey in Santa Monica we split into two groups to have lunch. Some were taking the Metro line #780 back to Westwood.

I was catching the Metro line #733 back to Culver City so I went to lunch with a quartet of adventurous women who had all met on Sierra Club walks and were spending the day in Santa Monica.

We walked along Palisades Park to Santa Monica Place. We bought our Iunches at various places in the food court and sat on the roof with a splendid view of the ocean with the sun beating down on us. A glorious January day.

I would have liked to spend the rest of the day with these women but that necessary project was still waiting for me. So I left them, hoping to meet another day.

(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)


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My free Sierra Club walks

I am leading two walks for the Sierra Club on November 18 and December 2. They are both free and open to the public.

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View from Palisades Park, Santa Monica, CA

November 18 is in Santa Monica.

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LACMA big rock installation

December 2 is the Farmers Market, LACMA, La Brea Tar Pits area.

Click here to go to my Touring and Walking LA website for all the information!


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Soggy Santa Monica Sunday

Cirque du Soleil tents at Santa Monica Pier

Cirque du Soleil tents at Santa Monica Pier

I was supposed to lead my Santa Monica Architectural and Historical Walking Tour for the Sierra Club on Sunday, March 25. I checked the weather forecast on Friday and it didn’t look good. In fact, it looked nasty. Beautiful sunny weather the day before and beautiful sunny weather the day after. The weather gods were not on my side.

The storm was supposed to move in Saturday night but it didn’t. I was sure when I woke up Sunday morning it would be raining. As I had the disclaimer “Heavy rain cancels” on the description I thought it would be a no-brainer. No such luck. Morning broke with SUNSHINE!

I checked the radar map I had been glued to for two days. That green graphic blob was definitely moving closer to Santa Monica. But ever so s-l-o-w-l-y… would it even arrive before Sunday afternoon when the walk would already be over?

The forecasts ranged from light showers in the morning to heavy rain all day.

The weather gods were surely toying with me. What had I ever done to them to treat me in such a cavalier manner?

I was wishing I had written “Showers cancel” or “Threat of rain cancels” on my description. At least then I would know what to do.

I had to make a decision and that decision was to cancel the walk. I notified my co-leader. Then I jumped in my car and drove down to the Santa Monica Pier in case some die-hard Sierra Clubbers showed up anyway. A little weather, or even a lot of weather, never scared off an intrepid hiker.

By the time I drove past the border of Santa Monica on the 10 freeway, I had to use my windshield wipers. I was feeling better about canceling. I arrived at the pier about 8:45am. I waited until 9:05am. It was cold, damp and grey. Nobody showed up. By 9:00am the dark sky was spitting rain. I was thankful everybody else had more sense than I did.

I decided since I was there anyway, I might as well walk to the end of the pier. There were no more than two handfuls of hardy visitors sharing this dismal morning. I loved it. Usually, even during the week there are more people than I feel comfortable with. And on a sunny Sunday, forget it!

I smiled at my fellow rain walkers and they smiled back in some kind of secret fellowship. The rain was now coming down quite heavily and obviously we were all fools to be out here.

Pacific Coast Highway with Cirque du Soleil tents at Santa Monica Pier

Pacific Coast Highway with Cirque du Soleil tents at Santa Monica Pier

The Cirque du Soleil was in town with their show OVO (not to be confused with the permanent IRIS at the Hollywood theater formerly known as the Kodak). Their colorful tents of yellow and blue were the only bright spot. I took a few photos.

As I had to walk several blocks back to the parking garage north of Santa Monica Boulevard (the closest one being closed for some kind of construction) I decided to return along Palisades Park. The rain had let up a little and it was quite pleasant. Maybe I shouldn’t have canceled the walk after all?

A few blocks along that question was answered as the wet stuff started coming down again. I had to pull down the severe weather flap of my rain jacket hood. A couple of joggers with their athletic dogs passed. A homeless person was buried under a mountain of plastic bags. The big storm had arrived in no uncertain terms.

Santa Monica beach in the rain

Santa Monica beach from Palisades Park in the rain

By the time I arrived at Santa Monica Boulevard my legs were in gear and they had no intention of turning inland to the parking garage. I was on a high, albeit a soggy one. Okay, I told myself, I would walk a few blocks further and then turn back. I ended up walking all the way to San Vicente, pretty much the northernmost part of the park.

Coming back the weather gods had the last laugh. The sky opened up and the rain came down, not in buckets, but in swimming pools. My underwear felt damp. I bought this jacket several years ago for a trip to Toronto. It had kept me warm and dry through freezing rain and snow storms. But it was no match for a Santa Monica spring rainstorm.

I had made the mistake of slipping the parking ticket into the outer pocket of my canvas tote. I thought it would remain snug and dry in there. When I returned to the garage I noticed the ticket was a little damp. I put it in the pay machine slot and the screen announced “This machine is no longer in service. Pay attendant at exit.” Next to the machine was a sign stating, ”No attendant at exit. Pay here.” I wondered if I was in one of my frequent nightmares where I am trapped in a building and can’t find a way out.

After calling on the emergency phone, an attendant showed up. He retrieved my ticket from the bowels of the machine where it had transformed itself into a crumpled up ball, jamming the works. I ran for my car so he could let me out of the gate. In future, if there is even a hint of rain, I’m arming myself with an emergency plastic sandwich bag to keep my parking ticket dry!

By the time I returned home the rain was pounding my roof like thousands of nails being dropped from the big toolbox in the sky. It was good to be indoors looking at the weather through my window. But I was happy I had enjoyed a couple of hours up close and personal with the rain.

(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins)