Sometimes Malibu really is a small town. Someone who knew someone who saw the "stolen dog" signs around town realized the puppy her mother had 'adopted' was the stolen dog. Kind of a convoluted tail - er, tale - but, as the new sign says, Padme is safely home again. Kibble for everyone!
These signs are everywhere - a woman in her 50s drove her new-ish Mercedes sedan to a house up in the hills, lied to the neighbors and stole this one-year-old German shepherd. Here's a photo of the dog, and the anguished sign the owners have posted. Call them ONLY if you know something that'll help find the dog.
Summer has officially arrived here in Malibu. All the signs - except the solstice - are in place. Speed traps, tow trucks, crazy traffic, happy, sunburned hordes. Every parking space in every shopping center in town was taken for much of the Memorial Day weekend. Most restaurants had lines going out the doors. Still, people were jolly, polite, happy to be away from work and away from the city. Here's a shot of Paradise Cove's beach after thousands of bare feet churned the sand. Just wait 'til the 4th of July.
Seaside mist and fog are predictable enough in the spring that they get their own months: May gray, June gloom. So far, so true. Spring brings one cloudy day after another. Yesterday, though, the sun broke free and clouds coalesced - for a few hours, anyway - into something quite beautiful. This morning, we're back to gray. So here's a reminder of how things can look here in Malibu.
You'd think I was going all Hearst Castle in my modest little trailer here in Paradise Cove, considering how long this remodel is taking. But really all that's going on is some drywall, a new kitchen sink, some countertops and a wood floor. The part with a local contractor was a dream. A miracle, friends tell me, as he arrived when promised, did the work faster than expected and even cleaned up after his crew. The floors have taken a bit longer. There's a week of frustration - and a frustrating subcontractor - involved. But if you haven't ever remodeled, it won't resonate. (And if you have, you've likely got an even worse story to tell and little sympathy to spare.) So let me leave it to my cat, Evinrude, to speak for me. Here he is, perched in his new favorite place, atop the mountains of mouldering carpet on the deck. Look closer and his little tongue tells the tale.
It's amazing to look at old photos of Pt. Dume (Pt. Duma on older maps, and actually named Pt. Dumetz, for Francisco Dumetz, the Franciscan padre who founded the San Fernando mission.) The Point was a big hump of land poking into the Santa Monica bay, no trees, no houses, no roads. May Rindge drilled for oil there (came up with clay and founded Malibu Potteries.) Hughes Aircraft employees built the first ranch houses there, many of them from concrete block. Now it's a wealthy enclave where even the few modest homes that remain sell for millions. Here's a Pt. Dume peacock heading down a friend's driveway. And here's the sunset on Saturday, the one bit of color in what was an otherwise gray and misty day.
Other than the few weeks each fall it's in use by the Kiwanas, the Chili Cookoff site here in Malibu is just a big open field. A heron likes to visit from time to time. Hundreds of gophers make their homes there. And recently, this lovely raptor, a white-tailed kite, has taken up residence. I see it every morning, perched in a tree on PCH, watching - and hunting - those gophers. It's a beautiful bird, curved head, fierce beak, white breast, white tail feathers, wide wing span. Shy, too. As it flew off, a group of nearby crows spread the news. A few minutes later, gophers galore crept out of their burrows, safe. For a moment, anyway. (Thank you, Bill Schmoker, for help with the ID.)
Here's an LA Times photo from March 15, 1965. Published caption: "REACTOR SITE-Three members of the Atomic Energy Commission Safety and Licensing Board inspect site of proposed nuclear reactor power plant in Coral Canyon, Malibu. They are, from left, Dr. Lawrence Quarles, Hood Worthington and Samuel Jensch. They are holding hearing in Santa Monica this week."
The general plan for Malibu, drafted in 1960, called for a freeway down Malibu Canyon Road (to connect with another freeway that ran over the ocean), Marina del Rey-density development, and this nuclear reactor. (UCLA archive)
A eucalyptus grove at the foot of Malibu Canyon in 1970. Here's the original photo. Check out the caption, which refers to the freeway that was once planned to run up the coast, over the Pacific. The general plan also called for a nuclear reactor in Corral Canyon. No kidding.
For more images of old LA, visit UCLA's amazing (and easily searchable) online collection of photos, "Changing Times: Los Angeles in Photographs, 1920-1990".
Most mornings, we can see Catalina from the bluffs here in Paradise Cove. The thick arm of Palos Verdes carves the curve of the Santa Monica Bay, points seaward to the bow-tie of land that is Catalina. Today, just a slight smudge on the fogged-in horizon shows the spot where Catalina now burns.
The slow-motion upgrade of sewage treatment facilities in the Cove reaches our street. Jake can't quite believe his luck.
Did you know the sun rises before 5 a.m.? Here's Malibu at 4:50 this morning. Well, not officially. Not according to the clock. But if you ignore the annual falsehood that is Daylight Savings Time, you'll see just how early day breaks as we move toward summer. (And if you peek back in the photo archives at some winter shots, you'll see how far east the sun has shifted along the horizon.)
Jessica Reaves of the Chicago Tribune does a good job in her fun and funny travel piece on Malibu. (And I'm not just saying that because she gave such a nice shout-out to this blog.) Her take on my beloved city stings a bit but I'm afraid she got it mostly right - we're a place of dramatic opposites and not quite like the rest of the world...
This is, after all, a 27-mile stretch of almost unbearably beautiful and ecologically delicate coastline, lined with unspeakably expensive mansions, dotted with shopping malls hawking $80 T-shirts, populated by unreasonably wealthy people with little or no taste and less wealthy people with more taste but less power. It is, in other words, unlike the world most of us inhabit and the quintessential American fantasy: perfect weather, attractive people and capitalism run amok.
Check out the Hopi Celebration this weekend here in Malibu. (Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.) Traditional dance performances, Hopi arts and crafts, storytelling for kids, food and beverage booths. Info on community gardening, sustainable living. Ticket and parking information here.
According to the flier:
This celebration also supports Hopi runners who will join the six-week, Inter-Tribal Sacred Sites Run in 2008, which will begin in the Second Mesa of the Hopi Nation in Arizona, go through New Mexico, and culminate in the pyramids of Teotihuacan, Mexico. Along the way they will do ceremonies at sacred sites and be received by the Huicholes, the Xochimilcas, the Chichimecas and the Otomi. At every site the runners will also exchange spiritual, cultural and practical information hoping to support the protection of sacred sites and plant the intent of living in balance with nature in a sustainable manner. The message of sustainability and its practices will be delivered through the efforts of all the Sacred Sites Runners.
The third of a planned five (five?!?) Starbucks in Malibu is on its way. Diedrichs has been gutted and electricians are at work. No word on how long it'll take to wipe out every last vestige of that cozy, comfy, logical space and transform it into the loud and chilly Starbucks factory model. Locals have been taking comfort in the fact that no matter what happens inside, there's not much Starbucks can do to ruin the exterior courtyard. Is there?