Here in Malibu
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January 31, 2009

Signs of Saturday: Welcome to Point Dume Go home

Ahhh, Point Dume, that magnificent headland where you can learn a bit of local lore from a sign (well, historical marker) like this:

point dume headlands

...if (and that's a big "if") you can escape from the scores of NIMBY signs like this:

point dume signs

January 30, 2009


Still windy here in Malibu, and getting warm. Early-morning walkers had their shorts on, had their sleeves rolled up. The cats, those ever-reliable barometers of comfort, have staked out the cool slab of concrete in the courtyard. And here, because the sun didn't rise today so much as pop from a hard horizon, are two wind photos:

Wind on sand.

sand and water

And wind on water.

wind on water

January 29, 2009



The santana winds are back, battering the coast, polishing the horizon to a steely gleam. It's tough on the birds, blown sideways, or, like this clutch of egrets, their fragile wings no match for the gusts, grounded in an unfamiliar land.

January 27, 2009



I can't seem to shake a craving for orange. Not in clothes or dishes or furniture or paintings, but in flowers, only in flowers, where it resonates so deeply, it spills over, stirs your other senses.

January 26, 2009

Call of the wild


Climbed into the hills on a fire road yesterday, looked back, and this was the view, the the pleats and folds of the Santa Monica mountains as they descend to the sea.

January 25, 2009

The Sunday Movie: HTDV hee hee hee

A direct quote (and a bit of editorializing) from the instrument of torture installation manual for my new TV.

January 24, 2009

Signs of Saturday: Raindrops

rainy saturday

A friend who remodeled a house salvaged this big bay window, a favorite place to sit and watch the rain.

January 23, 2009

Did you feel that?

Remember this little trail that winds way up into the hills?

country road

Now it's this:more development

So that this lovely bit of wild land can become this, and another chunk of the natural landscape is gone for good.
Remember this?

January 22, 2009

Support Zuma Beach Video & Music

Zuma Video

Dear Malibu,

Do you love the fact we have a fun and funky and totally indie video and music store in town where you can rent movies, get CDs, buy guitar picks and talk movies with the very smart owner and staff? (And what other neighborhood video store has such a deep -- it's four shelves -- surf section, or even a surf section at all?)

Then head over there and rent or buy something because Zuma Beach Video & Music at the Point Dume shopping center is struggling. As has happened in so many of our local shopping centers, the rents have spiked and the mom 'n' pop stores are getting forced out. (Point Dume Chinese is leaving in a few months.) And Zuma Video, pushed by the new owners to a less-than-stellar location on the second floor -- the very same people who killed The Dume Room (a couple more pix here) -- could be next.


Your neighbor

January 21, 2009

Is this being lazy?

wednesday sunrise

So I posted a sunrise photo yesterday because it was the presidential inauguration, new dawn, new day, all that kind of stuff. But there's this beautiful light on the water today, all glittery gold, the way it gets when there's rain on the way, and I have my camera and even though this makes two sunrise pix in a row, I say, what the heck.

Ooo, pretty.


Today's newspaper front pages on Native Intelligence.

January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day dawn

tuesday dawn

Today's dawn, the physical one. And here's how downtown looked from Paradise Cove.

January 19, 2009

The red shoes

red shoes

Here are the red shoes that I visit every day. Well, not every day, but every time I'm at the blandly-named Colony Shopping Center. (At least I think that's what it's called.) They're at our wonderful indie shoe store (remember those?) La Chaussure. The fact that this means "The Shoe" in my native tongue makes me love the store all the more.

I'm under-employed at the moment, unable, thus far, to trickle down my bad luck by firing my cleaning lady, so these sweet red shoes, innocent and insouciant at the same time, are not destined for my closet. But in my girlie girl fantasies, the red shoes and I, we're dancing up a storm.

PS: I have a book review at

January 18, 2009

Field of Dreams

A re-make.

January 17, 2009

Signs of Saturday: For lease

We miss you, Granita

This, as it happens, is an old sign here in Malibu. Granita, one of our best restaurants, shut its doors on Oct. 1 back in 2005. No more martinis and burgers at the cozy bar, no more dinners or parties or brunches (oh, the homemade donuts) in the feels-like-you're-underwater dining room. It's just an empty building now, where visitors peer through dusty windows, pry seashells from the outside wall.

The site, one of many retail spaces in Malibu hit with hefty rent hikes, has been empty ever since Wolfgang Puck said goodbye. Looks like a perfect place for Urth, don't you think?

January 16, 2009

Her day in court


Jake is bored deep in thought, pondering Bush's legacy, but the little dog -- hey, there's a ball involved -- is all about tennis.

January 14, 2009


choose me!

Who abhors a vacuum? Nature and, as it turns out, your credit card company.

The day I got laid off at the LA Times, I wrote checks to a couple of banks and paid off my credit cards. In full. My balances weren't huge and these were zero-percent interest cards which cost me nothing, so long as I paid on time. But you batten down the hatches in a storm and let me assure you, being a journalist without a job at this point in time is mighty stormy.

I expected the feeling of freedom, the relief that, in this one part of my financial life at least, I had gained control. What I hadn't expected was the flood, the glut, the relentless deluge of credit card offers that would pour in EVERY SINGLE DAY since my payments cleared. Banks I'd abandoned long ago, banks I'd never done business with, banks I'd never even heard of sent me offers and come-ons and those scary blank checks anyone dishonest or desperate enough can steal from your mailbox.

That's a small sampling above. Many, many more have hit the shredder. And still they come, every day, frantic pleas from banks doing who-knows-what with our $350 billion bailout, eager to ensnare me in debt, to charge me usurious rates so I can borrow from them the money that I -- that we all -- just gave them.

I'm pretty sure this isn't the result they're looking for but I've put the credit cards away. Gone. Haven't charged a single thing since that day in October when I lost my job. The cards are there, of course, in case of a dreadful, dire emergency (and for airplane tickets and car rentals because really, who needs Homeland Security breathing down your neck because you tried to pay for your travel with twenties) but other than that, here in Malibu, in Otis Chandler's trailer in Paradise Cove, we've become a cash-only economy.

January 13, 2009

A little bump in the road

Evinrude and speedbump

Here's Evinrude, the formerly radioactive cat, sitting on one of his favorite spots, a speed bump on our very, very quiet street.

January 12, 2009

A shore thing

shore birds

If I could find the wonderful "Birds of Los Angeles" book I bought last month at one of my favorite book stores, I'd be able to tell you the name of these stilt-legged birds who spend each winter here in Paradise Cove.

All day long they skitter across the wet sand, probing with their long, long beaks, eating and running and eating and running and, when something interferes, flying and scolding in their shrill, scraped voices because they've lost, for a moment, the rhythm of the lapping waves.

January 11, 2009

A day in the life

Oh the things we're forced to do while waiting for the NYT crossword puzzle newspapers to arrive. I blame Kiala.

January 10, 2009

Signs of Saturday: A Cove menu

santa ana 1.09 011

Here's how we navigate the 271 (give or take) mobile homes scattered around the Cove. And in case you were wondering, here's today's sunrise, juiced by the Santa Anas.

January 8, 2009

Nothing but beach

saturday beach

The little dog turns 3 years old today. Or maybe tomorrow, we're not quite sure. For a Maisie retrospective, click here. And meanwhile, here's the beach.

January 7, 2009

A year ago today...

A year ago today, right at this very moment in fact, I was spelling my long and complicated name for the security guard at the LA Times. Spelling it twice because that's how it is with this name, which gets even longer and more complicated when you add in all the middle names and saints names the French love so much.

I was more than a little freaked out, as I had left newsroom-based journalism a few years back, tired of fighting editors for the right to let stories reflect my voice. But that turned out to be the thing that had caught some editors' eyes at the Times, that voice. It had, in fact, earned me several hundred bylines over the last decade as a freelancer for the state desk and the magazine, the food section and the home section, the real estate section, three iterations of what is now Calendar, and for the late lamented Outdoors and the stand-alone Book Review. Add in a year-long stint as the night cops reporter (contract, not staff) in a then-thriving Ventura bureau and arriving at Spring Street -- the first full-time blogger the LA Times had ever hired -- felt less like a new job than a homecoming.

edible bouquetSo there I was, walking through the warren of halls with one of the least attractive ID cards of my career clipped to my purse, the beige walls and beige lighting looking unnervingly like every newsroom I've ever worked in. I got a desk. I got a computer. Someone sent me this edible bouquet, a savvy move if you know much about the dynamics of writers and a fresh food supply. I met scores of new colleagues, saw many more I'd known at other newspapers. What I didn't see, what none of the people who hired me or made room for me that day or were so kind and generous and willing to help could see or imagine was how it would end.

It was a great job, we created a great blog, and I know I keep saying this but I miss everyone in the newsroom very much.

Photo: Mr. Littlehand / Flickr (via Creative Commons)

January 6, 2009


sand moves

We're lucky here in Paradise Cove to see the natural movement of sand as if shifts from day to day, from season to season, and from year to year. There are no sea walls here, no houses on the shore, just the ceaseless sweep of waves against the bluff.

This time of year, big storms with big tides eat at the beach. In between, lower, slower tides build it back up. Here's the beach right now, a slow accretion of dark wet sand left by a million little lapping waves, standing a quarter-inch taller. The beach is growing, another part of the natural cycle here in the new year.

January 5, 2009

Monday morning

monday morning

Cold this morning and very still after a restless, windy night. That's the pier, of course, and some gulls milling about. And though the holidays already seem like a lifetime ago, it's actually the 12th day of Christmas, which makes this little snippet fair game.

It's Gary Owens, gamely doing a cold reading of a holiday commercial and slowly, completely, losing it. (If that doesn't work, try this link and scroll to the last item.) Steve Padilla, my editor and cherished colleague on LA Now (hello everyone -- I miss you!) says it's a holiday tradition at his house to play it.

Years later when Steve's wife, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was interviewing Owens, she brought up this clip. She barely got her question out before Owens cracked up all over again. Steve shared this with me so now, in the spirit of the last day of Christmas, I'm sharing it with you.

January 3, 2009

Signs of Saturday: Bluffs Park

That was then:

This is now:

January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!


Another misty morning, another walk in the hills. But the higher the sun rose, the faster the fog moved. Moments after leaving the bright light of this meadow, all was swathed in cool and silky gray.

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