Have I said this before about the little dog?
But she's also pretty sure she's Jake.
Which is why, half the time, she's attached to his neck. How else can she be sure he's headed exactly where he (she) OK, they want?
It's been a challenging year for so many of us. Here's a wish for better times in 2011.
It was cold and it was dark and the skies were gray for days and days, so when someone brought over a bag of brilliant tangerines:
And it turned out they almost exactly matched one of my Bauer bowls:
The next step was obvious.
Seriously, hide your eyes.
A pod of dolphins flirted with a pair of paddle boarders near the Paradise Cove pier yesterday, swimming and splashing for a bit before heading north on their daily commute.
Meanwhile, here's the light on this chilly morning:
Everywhere we drove for Christmas festivities, L.A. and Long Beach and Ventura and Sherman Oaks, we saw downed trees. Here's one high in a twisty Malibu canyon, where the shallow roots of this huge eucalyptus proved no match for a week of non-stop rain.
Someone used a chain saw, chopped the tree to pieces to create a path for cars to get by. The trick is to drive fast so you don't get trapped in the sticky depths of the muddy shoulder.
I've asked Jake and Maisie to please sit still for a sec in this photo so you can see how happily one of my previous Christmas trees has adapted to life at the barn.
And here's this year's tree, warming the house with its spicy scent, and with icicles and lights and flying Santas. My favorite part (a little cheesy, I know) is the real nest I found after a storm one day, and the real egg shell, from which a wild bird once hatched.
I'm thinking that my New Year's resolution for 2011 should be that, despite its size and weight and the fact that f-stops still make my dyslexia give me the finger, I have to start carrying around my SLR. Because then I'd get better pix of stuff like Latigo Falls, running at top speed:
Here's what the meek creek did to the beach as mountain runoff drained into the Pacific (which was anything but):
My condolences to my fellow SoCal residents, wherever it is you're trying to drive. It's brutal out there.
Here's my route to work, the creek flooding on the way to the barn.
It's the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, the true new year. It has been my tradition to post a photo of a sunrise or sunset at each solstice, but if you're here in SoCal, you know why that's not going to happen.
So from the archives, a few sunset pix from Broad Beach. It's the winter solstice, with the actual sol. (Shot when Broad Beach was actually broad, and still had a beach.)
So much water here, rain falling, creek roaring, Pacific growling, prowling, taking what it wants.
Meanwhile, I have an op-ed in today's LAT.
Someone decorates this pine each year, comes out to the wilds of Kanan Road and as the cars rush by, on just one corner of the tree and only as high as a person can reach, hangs a handful of shiny bulbs.
What? That's not how autumn looks where you live?
We were at the beach this morning and everything was very still and very blue and suddenly a set rolled in and even at the edge of the sand and with a tiny camera, you could get a sense of the waves, so smooth and round and infinite.
Meanwhile, read about my apple pie in today's LAT food section. Yum!
Visitors at the barn, where I have my office and
watch hummingbirds do my writing get to deal with Jake (aka The Big Baboo), my 110-pound body guard.
There are those among us who still mourn the loss of the Hughes market in Malibu, which was replaced by Ralphs. I remember seeing Johnny Carson there buying ice cream, seeing Jeff Corey, the black-listed actor who became a famed acting teacher, and in whose legendary classes Jack Nicholson met Robert Towne.
But change is the true constant here, so the news that HOWS Market in Trancas is up for sale, that the little chain is being reduced to a single store, shouldn't come as a shock.
The name is an amalgam of the first initials of the partners in the store, among them a scion of the Hughes family. And so it is that another bit of Malibu's recent history goes away.
It's absurdly beautiful here today, warm and sunny and, as PCH fills and jams with everyone coming to the coast, I thought it would be a good time to remember what a busy day on the Roosevelt Highway once looked like.
I have a Prius and as I get 45 miles per gallon (and get to skip the smog check) I forgive it for being such a snooze to drive. Harder to make peace with are fellow hybrid owners who, publicly gloating, put the pious into Prius.
My engine, when it's doing its green thing, quietly purrs. For this driver, though, I'm pretty sure the sound is neener neener neener.
I know what you're thinking -- another sunrise? But this one was just crazy beautiful, had all the early birds standing on the bluff, speechless.
And look -- it's just as pretty upside down:
We walk to the beach each morning along a fire road, often the first domesticated creatures of the day to make the trek. It's a wide, dirt path along a steep and deep ravine where, in the warmer weather, hundreds of hidden frogs ribbit their way to reproduction. We've come across roadrunners there, hawks and hummingbirds and coveys of quail, rabbits, of course, and coyotes.
Since a spate of construction has decimated one of the main wildlife corridors here, taken out valuable territory, the coyote visits have been halved. But when they come, they often use this little tunnel, a place so full of scent and suspense that Maisie invariably patrols it, even when it's been weeks since the last sighting.
And yes, that's a tennis ball in her mouth. One of these days we're going to have it surgically removed.
And then it looked maybe kind of a little like this, except the camera can't catch it, the sun reflected on the sea, the colors molten, the surface seeming to boil.
And now, this tag, small but full of promise:
It marks the start of the season at our house, the
15 minutes 30 minutes hour spent at Treeland in Calabasas, trying to choose which of the beautiful and fragrant potted Monterey pines will come home for the holidays.
It was pink this morning, and baby blue and, around the edges, a little bit aqua, but the camera couldn't quite capture that.
Also not captured -- how cold it was. Brrrr.
I was at the Adamson House the other day, one of my favorite places in Malibu, and though I had planned to sit on the dock and watch the birds in the Malibu Lagoon, this egret got there first.