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.
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.
I'd tell you where this iconic newspaper box sits, but I'm afraid you'll steal it before I do.
Technically, these dogs are barking as we hike up the canyon. In reality, they're begging for a snack.
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!"
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.
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.
It turned the clouds pink:
Up on the bluff, we could see to downtown and beyond:
Here's the Paradise Cove pier with no one on the beach. (Check out that square lip, where high surf chewed away some sand.)
And here's the view to the north. Beautiful.
And that's that, our little book store is gone.
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!
A storm is coming and for proof all you need is today's dramatic sunrise:
Or the wind-tossed palm trees:
There's always seagulls cloud-surfing:
And the tiny Labrador, valiant in the gusting wind.
It still kind of freaks me out that this was the last photo I took of Evinrude before he vanished.
He was so handsome.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A verb, an action, a relief, a release, LA's own litmag.
Seriously, what are you waiting for?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.