Here in Malibu
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January 31, 2011

Hawk in the canyon


My little point-and-shoot gets confused when faced with too many focal points. Not sure what it finally decided to present in complete clarity in this shot, but it sure wasn't the hawk. And because these raptors are so shy, the hawk stayed for a mere click or two of the shutter, then soared away.


January 30, 2011

It's raining here today

First, the view from the bluff this morning:


And from the beach:

rainy beach

The dogs spotted another coyote on the fire road:

coyote sighting

For a minute, the sky looked like this:


And right now, on the cusp of an afternoon of baking, the kitchen counter looks like this:

baking day

January 29, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Shades of green

This sign, which promises green building practices?

green? not really

It sits next to this diesel generator which has been running all day and all night, all the time, spewing fumes 24/7 for the last few months, whether or not there's any building going on.

diesel engine 24/7

This is green?

January 28, 2011



Nothing too fancy, just the visible spectrum shattered into discrete parts, the low end reflected on morning clouds.

January 27, 2011

Baby you can drive my car cart

puppy cart

We live in a parallel universe here in Paradise Cove.

January 26, 2011

Sunrise and sailboat

sun and sailboat

Sometimes you walk out the door and right into the pages of a travel brochure.

Does that mean there's room service?

January 25, 2011

What passes for progress

Remember the beautiful grassy knoll? Knoll before construction

Look what they've done:
knoll vanishes

January 24, 2011


no footprints

I know this looks Photoshopped but what's really going on is the Santa Anas, sweeping clean enormous swathes of beach, not a footprint for miles.

January 23, 2011

Coyote on the trail


See the bit of fluff beneath the point of the arrow? Coyote on the beach trail this morning, hunting.

Maybe you can't see him, but Jake sure could.

jake sees the coyote

January 22, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Here in Chinatown

Did you even know this place exists?

Across the street from one of the dim sum palaces of Chinatown -- the Studio for Southern California History. It's privately run, filled with books and films and ephemera about the history of our part of the state. (I'm a fan of this link to other history-related sites and sights.)

It's also a wee bit quirky. For example, an LA freeways pinball machine.

Located at 977 N. Hill Street in our fair city. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 8 pm, and by appointment.

Bring some quarters for pinball. Beat my score.

LA pinball

January 21, 2011

Digging the digital

sand moves

Point and shoot and zoom and crop, lose a bunch of digital information and what do you get? Waves that look like watercolors.

January 20, 2011

Wetland: the pop-up

wetland 075Once upon a time, before men with blueprints and dreams of empire drained it, the entire area around the Civic Center was a wetland. It's mostly dry land now, save in this one spot where, after a hard rain, a cienega forms.

Right away, ducks show up.
wetland 058

And egrets:
wetland 006

And great blue herons:
wetland 039

wetland 050

And it's all happening by a busy road:wetland 029

In a busy development.
wetland 019

Because the earth here -- everywhere, really -- longs for its natural state.
wetland 015

January 19, 2011

When cliches attack

wetland 003

There's something here in Malibu I want to show you, but today I only got crummy photos of it so it has to wait. Tomorrow, maybe. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I had the camera with me this morning and because the sky was a bit pink, I took a shot, and because the universe has a sense of humor, a gull flew through and before you know it, voila! A beachy cliche!

January 18, 2011

Fried egg sunrise

tuesday sunrise

True confessions: I miss the rain. It's not just the cozy dark and the windy drama, not the excellent excuse for a second pot of tea, it's the crazy sunrise colors that I miss.

What do we have now? Our annual false spring (which local newscasters never seem to remember, allowing them to bray with gleeful alarm about freakish heat waves) a bit ahead of its traditional February visit.

So on the horizon today, a perfectly acceptable sunrise. We here in Malibu accept delivery.

January 17, 2011

The sands shift and shift again

It starts like this, a lagoon where the creek meets the sea.reflections 006

Then a storm rolls in and the rain comes down, the creek floods and all hell breaks loose.between the storms

For a few days it looks like this, the channel dug by the storm waters sometimes reaching four or five feet high.creek meets sea

Then the waves roll in and the winds blow through and it's rearranged, all of it, in increments.
what the storm dragged in

The channel narrows.
creek mouth

Then it vanishes.sand moves

Until a tide like the one this morning breaks near shore, breaches the pond and fills it, even as it deposits the sand that, grain by grain, will seal it off and start the whole cycle over again.sand moves

January 16, 2011

Shall we dance?

castle rock dancers366

Vintage photo of dancers at Castle Rock near Malibu.

In the background, can you hear it? "I whip my hair back and forth..."

January 15, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Desert tortoise


We never did see a desert tortoise during our recent Joshua Tree rambles. After reading all about it in this somewhat heart-breaking sign, I take that as a good thing. No need to make a life-and-death decision for an amazing creature, doing its best to survive.

Meanwhile, thank you to everyone for the sweet and kind and funny and loving notes regarding the changes here that I've been writing about. It's weird to live out loud like this, but after sharing my love of Malibu with you for more than four years now, even weirder to pretend it's not happening.

And now -- a digression.

Every time I type the words desert or dessert, I hear my sainted high school English teacher (hello -- teaching teenagers) say you have to get to the deSert before you can have deSSert,

I'm pretty sure that factoid is taking up the space in my brain that's supposed to know the answer to 7x8.

January 14, 2011

I need an intervention

three black pets




But because I lost my job and Sam Zell and his minions did their best to off the LA Times and newspapers are not a growth industry, my house is for sale; which means we're de-cluttering, which means we're putting stuff away, lots of stuff, including stuff we actually still need, like the card reader for the digital cameras and OH MY GOD I think it's in the storage shed.

Deep breath.

So today a friend and I staged the house and it looks so so good I want to complain about almost everything in the first sentence but once again, I can't because it's so beautiful here and really, so many people have it so very much worse, so instead I've posted a photo of the dogs and cat with their respective pillows during nap time recently just because.

Another happy ending!

(Breathless now.)

January 13, 2011

Have I mentioned I'm selling my house?

jake jumps

Yeah, not my favorite subject. Today we're clearing out most of the books because, apparently, too many books make house hunters nervous.

HOWEVER. Instead of dwelling or ranting or bemoaning anything to do with the preceding sentence, here's a photo of something pure and wonderful.

It's the Big Dog chasing -- and catching! -- a tennis ball on a warm and sunny afternoon in Bluffs Park, all 110 pounds of him triumphant and (I think, anyway) filled with joy.

Yay! Happy ending!

January 12, 2011

Everything's Jake

Jake, the grand poobah

Jake, the grand poohbah.

Or is it Pooh Bear?

January 11, 2011

And so it goes

I sold my sweet 1949 Plymouth on Saturday.

adios, plymouth

adios, plymouth

adios, plymouth

And then I cried.

January 10, 2011

A moment of silence, yes, but then speak up


Is anyone surprised that the level of invective in political discourse has led to slaughter? Even if Karl Rove and Glenn Beck and, lord knows, Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin didn't actually pull the trigger in Arizona, their eager and heedless pursuit of the lowest common denominator of rage, a cynical tactic to divide Americans for political gain, has set the stage for this tragedy.

It doesn't matter that the man who finally made good on the thousands of threats received in the last year by American politicians is mentally ill. What matters is that the talking heads, the shameless men and women of all political persuasions, who scream and shout and distort the truth in order to raise and sway a mob, show such utter disdain for our nation.

We are not "America", but the United States of America. That single word changes everything. And the truth is, cliche or not, united we stand, divided we fall.

It's happening now, right now, and if we don't speak up, you and I, we are complicit.

January 9, 2011



The rains started so early, it's completely, insanely, unnaturally and maybe even a bit disturbingly green here.

January 8, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Diesel, a book store

such a mess

How to get into our local indie book store, Diesel? For the past month, the answer has differed from day to day and, at times, hour to hour.

Construction at the Cross Creek shopping center, which is renovating the place to look East-coast chic, has the front entrances of a handful of stores more barricaded than a Sarah Palin fundraiser.

And yet, on a recent weekday, Diesel was humming, filled with browsers and buyers, people who still read books, not in pixels but in print.

January 7, 2011

Crazy beautiful

Does this even look real?
so pink

How about this?
paddling out

And over toward Santa Monica, it looked like this:
oh the sunrise

January 6, 2011

About those icy koi

We stayed at the Joshua Tree Inn, a sweet, idiosyncratic spot best-known for Room 8, the place Gram Parsons drew his final breath. Joshua Tree Inn courtyard

Here's the shrine outside the room, a bit more festive than usual due to the impending New Year:
Joshua Tree Inn

The innkeeper rakes these patterns into the courtyard soil each day. If you saw him, you'd understand.

There's cactus:

A cool chandelier:chandelier

And a koi pond, frozen around the edges, liquid in its depths. The fish, slowed by icy water, eat less, move less, hover in the sun.

January 5, 2011

Oh the things we saw

So, Joshua Tree.



And sere:


But there's water:
Barker Dam

Frozen water:

And bright colors:
red barrel cactus

And golden light:
Jumbo Rocks near sunset

And famous filmmakers creating classics like "127 Seconds":
Amy and Billy

Amid the rocks:
Amy at Jumbo Rocks

And crags:


And endless vistas:
view of the valley

The End.
me and my shadow

January 4, 2011

My kind of highway

highway in the park

Even the roads through Joshua Tree National Park are beautiful.

January 3, 2011


First, a look at the tundra beach here this morning.
Welcome to 2011

And now, welcome to Joshua Tree, where your photographer was such a baby about the cold, she refused to get out of the car to shoot this photo.
joshua tree

I'm sure there's a lovely, artsy way to shoot the sign at the Joshua Tree Inn. When it's not 32 degrees.
joshua tree inn

But look -- the inner courtyard. Pretty!
joshua tree inn

And cold not warm!

carp and ice

January 2, 2011

Greetings from Joshua Tree

joshua tree 071

You are hereby warned: some friends and I spent the New Year in Joshua Tree, and of course it was beautiful, and of course I brought my camera, so you're going to see a post or three about the place. Of course.

Because remember that girl next to you in third grade, the one who always had way too much to say during show-and-tell? Dude, you're reading her blog.

January 1, 2011

Signs of Saturday: The best-laid plans


Once upon a time, Hollywood was a real estate scheme, an over-sized resolution. How that all turned out depends on your point of view.

Here's a more modest wish: Happy New Year!

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