Here in Malibu
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July 31, 2011

The beach here this morning

sunday morning

Thunderclouds over the mountains, mist on the coast, not a bad backdrop to the Sunday newspaper.

July 30, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Broad Beach for sale

Suzanne's Broad Beach house

Another "For Sale" sign, and no, not my house this time. It's my cousin Suzanne's place on Broad Beach. And while that sounds so very la-di-da what with the mansions and mega-mansions that have taken over that stretch of sand, it's actually the opposite.

Suzanne, who passed away in May, would have turned 101 next month. She moved into her '50s-era bungalow in 1971 and stayed for 40 years. She never changed a thing. (Seriously, check out the kitchen.)

suzanne's 1955 broad beach house

She and her husband bought the place when Malibu was the boonies. She'd tell us stories about looking a quarter mile down the beach in either direction without seeing another light, as the houses were sparse and far apart.

suzanne's 1955 broad beach house

Today, a quarter mile of darkness can still separate the houses at night, but that's because most of Broad Beach is second and third homes. As for Suzanne's lateral view, it pretty much vanished as the houses around her modest cottage were built up and out.

Suzanne was sharp and engaged until the very end, always one of the funniest people I knew. She'd sit at the head of the '60s patio table in her living room, read the news and manage her business investments, suzanne's 1955 broad beach house

A liberal and a populist, she was baffled by her neighbors' urge to barricade the beach and declined to donate to the dune buggy bullies who rode the sand, keeping the hoi polloi at bay.

So with the sale of this 1950s outpost on Broad Beach, perhaps the last original structure there, we're losing a beloved Broad Beach original.

And I don't just mean the house.

July 29, 2011

Dry spell

The effect of all that unexpected rain last spring is finally wearing off and the hills here at the coast are drying out, sere and a little cripsy.


dry in the canyon

dry in the canyon


July 28, 2011

Black-crowned night heron

Saw that little black-crowned night heron again the other day, just minutes before he settled in for a nap:night heron

But first, he did a bit of grooming:black-crowned night heron

And in the process showed his feathers:black-crowned night heron

A beautiful wash of colors, the perfect camouflage for hunting after night heron

July 27, 2011

This land is your land

We took the scenic route home from breakfast this morning (we were out for breakfast because there is currently NOTHING in the kitchen that resembles a kitchen, unless you count the switch that was once connected to the garbage disposal, except even that is an empty slot with a tangle of red and blue wires) when suddenly here was the view, and I just had to stop and take a photo, which got me to wondering, how many people realize that LA looks like this?

this is LA 004

this is LA 002

this is LA 006

July 26, 2011

Night shoot

night shoot

The Cove was lit up like an all-night market this weekend, with banks of flood lights hung from cranes and the pier strung with atmospheric twinklers. There, on that square of sand, you could kinda see forms cavorting.

Movie shoots have been a fact of life in the Cove for decades, yet it's always astonishing, the sheer volume of resources that go into shooting a moment or two of film.

July 25, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the rancho

patsy on patrol

Here's what passes for a kitchen at Casa Mulholland these days.

July 24, 2011

Fog rolls in

night shoot and oaks 070

night shoot and oaks 063

night shoot and oaks 069

We were fogged in this morning, completely covered in clouds. Then the sun rose and that was that -- no contest.

July 23, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Read me


In Week Four of the Casa Mulholland remodel, about all I have the attention span for is a pretty magazine filled with pretty pictures of someone else's pretty and perfect life.

July 22, 2011

The view from here

canyon view

We began the work week with an ocean view so that's how we'll end it, cool blues and soothing greens spiced with a hint of wild sage.

July 21, 2011

Dawn patrol

dogs on a walk

Our morning walk. According to the hackles on the back of Jake's neck, there were coyotes nearby. So of course he and Maisie selflessly ran ahead to investigate.

July 20, 2011

Above the fog

blue sky and moon set

We're completely fogged here at the beach right now, but above the cloud line, the moon set as the sun rose.

July 19, 2011

The Muffinhead

maisie in the rear view mirror

It's one of my favorite sights in the rear view mirror -- the tiny face of Maisie the Teacup Lab®, valiantly standing tall on the back seat.

July 18, 2011

The open road

pt dume

Monday, with its fresh start and promise of possibilities, is really just a downsized version of January 1. And it happens 52 times a year.

July 17, 2011

The bird

creepy bathroom decor

Nothing, not the seagull tiles nor the cutesy mural could make the life-sized statue staring as you use the toilet in this Santa Monica tile store anything less than creepy.

July 16, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Night heron

black-crowned night heron

This juvenile black-crowned night heron, one of several generations of the somewhat rare and utterly lovely shore birds who nest and raise their young in the Cross Creek parking lot, ignored the signs (and the humans) as he practiced his take-offs and landings.

black-crowned night heron

black-crowned night heron

July 15, 2011

The view from here today

the view from here today

A little hazy at the beach this morning, not unlike the photog.

Meanwhile, it's the series finale of "Friday Night Lights" tonight, the best little show on television. Clear eyes, full hearts, we all lose as the end credits roll.

BIG sigh, y'all.

July 14, 2011

Making the sausage

Casa Mulholland

Sometimes it seems it was ever thus. Or something.

July 13, 2011

Maisie sleeps

maisie sleeps

As with everything else in her world, The Tiny Labrador gives 110 percent to the art of napping.

And yes, that's drywall dust on her ear.

July 12, 2011

Out for a stroll in the canyon

horse and mini

The dogs love it when we come across horses on the way to the barn. They lean out the car window and stare and pant and breathe deep the horsey scent.

That's a full-sized horse on the left, and a mini on the right. And in case you were wondering about the tiny horse, yes, even her poop is a size extra-small.

July 11, 2011

The Hut

the hut 2011

So nice to hit the beach over the 4th and see, after several hut-less years, the 2011 version, as rough and creative and ephemeral as ever.

A (very brief) history of The Hut is here.

July 10, 2011

Silence under the oaks

old oak

The thing about the oaks here in the Malibu, so large and old and, really, majestic, is the silence beneath their limbs. Stand still a moment and you feel it, a cool pressure on your skin, no matter how high the sun, how hot the afternoon.

July 9, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Who goes there?


The eternal quest to claim the California coastline goes on and on.

This sign, ignored by one and all, lasted about an hour.

July 8, 2011

Hot hot hot

nasturtium and bougainvillea

so bright

In honor of another scorching day, some equally hot colors from the road to the barn.

July 7, 2011

Thursday sunrise

thursday morning

See? All this humidity is good for something after all.

July 6, 2011

Musical chairs

Soon after I shot that photo of the lone chair in the oak grove, I came across this lone chair on a construction site...

...positioned to take in the glorious view. Knoll before construction

And here, from a few years back, is one of my favorites, a plastic chair blown into place by powerful Santa Ana winds which, as I recall, roared for days.

hot and windy Paradise Cove, malibu

July 5, 2011



When it comes to writing, I'm a minimalist. I've never met a sentence I couldn't shrink. Even for me, though, recent posts have morphed from brief to terse.

It's this, of course, and this as well. So please don't take it personally when all I have to say about this photo is:

Look! A glorious hawk!

There -- I splurged and used an adjective.

July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Here's to the red (and gold):

...white (and gold):
ramirez 035

...and blue:
ramirez 007

July 3, 2011

Summertime blues

There's this:summertime blues

And this:summertime blues

And, of course, this:summertime blues

July 2, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Motion


The crew members for film and TV shoots at the Peter Strauss Ranch park right across the street from this little glade. How this chair got here -- a lunch break, maybe? -- is a mystery.

July 1, 2011

A picture is worth a thousand words

casa mulholland: during

This one also calls for a margarita.

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