Here in Malibu
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February 28, 2011


bendy tree

While we're on the subject of trees, I love this bendy eucalyptus. The only explanation I can come up with is that a fence must have stood there at some point, decades ago, and in that particular battle, the tree came up the winner.

Meanwhile, someone is interested enough in my house to have made an appointment for a second showing. It kind of breaks my heart.

February 27, 2011

California live oak

California live oak

One of the best things about living on this part of the California coast are the live oaks. My synesthesia kicks in whenever I see one and I hear music.

February 26, 2011

Signs of Saturday: The Herald Examiner

newspaper box

I'd tell you where this iconic newspaper box sits, but I'm afraid you'll steal it before I do.

Nice history of the paper at LAist.

February 25, 2011

Arf. Grrrr. Feed me.

Technically, these dogs are barking as we hike up the canyon. In reality, they're begging for a snack.

guard dog


February 24, 2011

Kiss this hillside goodbye

new construction

So pretty. And doomed.

February 23, 2011

The view from there


This land is for sale. Sigh.

February 22, 2011

Window cat

window cat

More often than not, the window cat is waiting and watching when we head out for our morning walk. I'm not quite sure what he's saying, but judging from his expression, it's not "Hello, human, have a nice day!"

window cat

February 21, 2011

Staying dry at the beach

duck pair

Didn't realize until I downloaded the pix that I caught this duck in mid-shake. Several males have been vying for her attentions over the last week or so, and the drake you see here seems to be the lucky winner.

February 20, 2011

The view(s) from here this morning

First of all, it was 36 degrees when I shot these photos. That's the coldest morning I can recall in the whole time I've lived here.

A cloud hovered between us and Catalina, dropping rain on the ocean:
sunday morning

When the sun rose:
sunday sunrise

It turned the clouds pink:

sunday sunrise

Up on the bluff, we could see to downtown and beyond:

downtown LA

Here's the Paradise Cove pier with no one on the beach. (Check out that square lip, where high surf chewed away some sand.)

the Paradise Cove pier this morning

And here's the view to the north. Beautiful.


February 19, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Diesel hopes to be back


And that's that, our little book store is gone.

But as the sign says, Alison Reid and John Evans, the owners of Diesel, are looking for options around Malibu, hoping they might soon set up shop somewhere new.


When you think about the businesses that have been lost here, the (real) Malibu Lumber Yard, Granita, Zuma Video, 'Bu Bayou and 'Bu Heaven, Cookes Family Market, Topps, the Pier View Diner, and the Dume Room (and that's just the ones off the top of my head, and in the last five years) it's just depressing.

But as the sign says -- onward!


February 18, 2011

Rain on the way

A storm is coming and for proof all you need is today's dramatic sunrise:

morning clouds

Or the wind-tossed palm trees:


There's always seagulls cloud-surfing:

gulls and clouds

And the tiny Labrador, valiant in the gusting wind.

blown away

February 17, 2011

We still miss Evinrude

It still kind of freaks me out that this was the last photo I took of Evinrude before he vanished.


He was so handsome.

The Rude One

And cranky.


And goofy.

Evinrude, forever cranky.

And independent.

Evinrude in the morning


Evinrude and speedbump

February 16, 2011

Rain and hydrangeas


It's hydrangea season at Trader Joe's, which means the garden window in the bedroom is blooming blue.

But one of my favorite things is the rustic look of the window panes, where you can see into the sky and hear the raindrops fall.


February 15, 2011

Yesterday and today

foggy morning

Here's the beach this morning, gray and damp and deserted as shredded clouds slide through the canyons.

And to leave you with a warm thought, here's how it looked a few days ago.

oh so pretty here

February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day



February 13, 2011

Movable type

printing press

There's a stretch of storefronts on Pico in Santa Monica, all indie and all really interesting. This one's next door to the learn-to-ski place, where you slide down a conveyor belt set at a steep tilt.

It looks like a museum of sorts, and that's not all wrong. It's a printing shop, where you can get things beautifully made on the old-fashioned letter set presses.


printing press

printing dies

February 12, 2011

Signs of Saturday: 30 percent off at Diesel Books

diesel's going out of biz sale

To everyone now mourning the loss of Diesel, I have to ask -- when's the last time you shopped at an indie book store?

Hey -- don't shoot the messenger.


February 11, 2011

Blue and green and nothing else

blue and green

Sometimes things get so snarled the only answer is an arc of green topped with a swath of blue where a breeze is blowing and a hawk hunts in the silence.

February 10, 2011

Sycamore in the arroyo

sycamore in the arroyo

I love how western those words sound, sycamore and arroyo. And I love how the greener green marks the creek, sometimes roaring, sometimes a trickle, that lets this little oasis prosper.

February 9, 2011

Adieu, Diesel Books in Malibu

such a mess

After seven years, our beloved indie book store, Diesel, is closing. One look at the photo above, which is how things have looked for several months, including the critical holiday shopping season, tells one part of the story.

The rest includes new ownership of the shopping center where Diesel is located, ownership which chased out so many businesses, the place turned into a ghost town. Add in a spike in fees, a protracted legal skirmish, the recession and, well, you've got a 30 percent off sale to kick off Diesel's demise.

The Brentwood store, located in the beautifully-managed and thriving Country Mart, remains open. Ditto for the Oakland location. And ever the optimists, owners John Evans and Alison Reid say they haven't given up hope of finding a new spot here in Malibu.

Meanwhile, here's hoping some of the store's deep-pocketed customers have the sense and compassion to throw a benefit to help defray the considerable costs of losing a business.

February 8, 2011

Baby Maisie and Jake

It didn't take very long for Maisie to rule Jake's world.

wild thing

jake and north

baby maisie and jake



February 7, 2011

Monday sunrise

monday sunrise
The sunrise is working its way east again, headed for its summer solstice spot behind the Santa Monica mountains. Here's how it looked today, warming the sky behind Palos Verdes.

February 6, 2011

Woodpecker in the Cove


This guy has been haunting the eucalyptus grove at the entrance to Paradise Cove for a few weeks now. I grabbed the shot through the car window, so it's pretty bad, but even so you can see how bright red and funny and lovely he is. Either a juvenile nuttall's (there's a family of them in the canyon) or a pileated woodpecker. (But he's kind of small and his head isn't pointy so I guess probably not.)

I wish I were a real birder so I could tell you for sure.

February 5, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Slake



A verb, an action, a relief, a release, LA's own litmag.

Seriously, what are you waiting for?

February 4, 2011

May I just say, brrrr!

lagoon bridge

This is the coldest spot in Paradise Cove in the morning. See that riffle across the pond? It's icy air that flows down from the mountains, collects in the creek bed overnight, moves in a chilled and heavy current to the beach.

Seriously. Brrrr.


February 3, 2011


leaping dolphin

First of all, the photos here? Not great. But the ocean's a fabulous blue and it's sparkly from all the wind and sun and anyway, if you've ever seen a dolphin it's easy to imagine that's what you're looking at here, which while being a decent excuse for posting the pix isn't actually a very good reason, but c'est la guerre.

OK. You know how it goes in cycles, the people you randomly run into? Sometimes you'll go for weeks without seeing someone and suddenly there they are, every day, everywhere you go. It's happening to me right now with dolphins.

It started last week, a single dolphin making a slow, high, arcing leap just as I reached the beach, just as the sun began to rise. It was awesome. It was epic. (And yes, the fact that I'm weakened right now by the flu and every little thing makes me weepy may have something to do with the hyperbole here.) (But I don't actually believe that.)

Since then, I've seen dolphins every day, almost every time I look at the ocean. (And whales! I saw a pod of whales a few days ago and good grief it was amazing!) (Do you think the flu makes you use parenthesis more?)

I was driving up PCH yesterday, the wind smacking my car around, flinging seagulls sideways, and right offshore, across from Malibu Seafood, a pod of about a dozen dolphins was going a little nuts.

leaping dolphin

They were leaping and jumping and thrashing and surfing and they stopped traffic, it was that amazing. They rose clear out of the water and you could hear the thwack of their landing. Two of the larger ones raced, parallel to shore, raced in the shallows for a few hundred yards, cleared the crest of the shore break and in the water, crystalline at that moment, you could see their flukes and fins and markings.

leaping dolphin

I remember standing on the bluff here in Paradise Cove the day we moved in, watching a pod of dolphins and asking my companion when he thought we might become blasé about the sight. Sixteen years later the answer is, not quite yet.

February 2, 2011

Crazy! Devil! Winds!

windyThese aren't actual Santa Anas, racing hot and dry from the desert, but they're hellishly powerful all the same.

Birds are earthbound, fruit is flying, sand is blowing, waves are marching in at an angle that's all wrong.


The power keeps popping on and off, on and off, appliances bleating and beeping. And a minor chord amid the chaos of the gale, fire trucks, wailing up the canyon.


February 1, 2011

Windmill in the canyon

windmill in the canyon

Have I ever mentioned there's a windmill near the barn?

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