Here in Malibu
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August 31, 2011

Where's Maisie?

stealth maisie

Ever since she saw -- but wasn't allowed to chase -- those coyotes last spring, the Tiny Labrador has been on high alert.

But here's the real news: Diesel Books is coming back to Malibu in October. Check out the full post, right here.

August 30, 2011

Tiny lizard

A tiny lizard, who has claimed the garden gate as his home, has been playing hide-and-seek with me up at the barn.

baby lizard

tiny lizard

tiny lizard

August 29, 2011

Dog days of summer

Yes, the 'dog days' of summer actually refer to Sirius, the Dog Star, visible in the night sky in August, but with the heat we've been getting these days, in our neck of the woods the dog days mean this:


hot day, wet dogs

wet dogs

hot day, wet dogs


August 28, 2011

Hot hot hot

The morning promised heat and thus far, the afternoon has more than start

August 27, 2011

Signs of Saturday: No you may not

no you may not

We spent an afternoon on Sauvie Island while I was in Portland, where at the beach, there are just a few rules.

Meanwhile, look how pretty it was there:

farm land

August 26, 2011

Surf stars

surfing pelican

Pelicans riding the waves -- some of the best (wind) surfing anywhere.

August 25, 2011

Nature nerd


Nature nerd -- that would be me. I am she. Have been since, well, forever. So it should come as no surprise that just as thrilling as seeing those five canoes that sailed 15,000 miles to the Cove from New Zealand last week was this magnificent swallowtail, browsing on the bluff.

See? Nature nerd.

August 24, 2011

California dreamin'

Think of your favorite Beach Boys tune, something from the early days. (And btw, the cover photo of Surfin'Safari? Shot in Paradise Cove.)

So, the song. Got it?

Now play it in your head and slowly scroll:

Westward Beach in Malibu

Westward Beach in Malibu

Westward Beach in Malibu

Westward Beach in Malibu

Westward Beach in Malibu

You're welcome.

August 23, 2011

Hawk at the barn

hawk near the barn

So we're driving to the barn the other day, Maisie hanging out the back window, Jake more dignified, just his nose in the breeze, and I'm so taken with the flock of parrots screeching and careening above us that the hawk right there, just a few feet away, takes a moment to register.

I stop the car. The hawk turns his head. Gives me a look, the look, which if you've been eye level with a raptor, you know exactly what I mean.

I get one not-great photo and, in the time it takes the point-and-shoot to recover and be ready for another shot, the hawk has turned his back and oh-so-casually (thought bubble: foolish human) flown away.

hawk near the barn

I really, really, really have to start carrying my SLR.

August 22, 2011

Monday sunrise

Monday sunrise in the Cove

Monday sunrise in the Cove

Monday sunrise in the Cove

And it smelled nice, too.

August 21, 2011

The light is changing

early morning light

Is it just me or can you feel September peeking over your shoulder?

August 20, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Two scoops, please

ice cream

Melissa loved the three-berry bbq. I had the strawberry-balsamic-black pepper. And, this being Beerland Portland, is anyone surprised that the top selling flavor is the brown ale with bacon?

Yeah, didn't think so.

August 19, 2011

Ancient mariners in Paradise Cove

canoes round the point

canoes in the Cove

They started out in New Zealand four months and 15,000 miles ago, sailing wind- and sun-powered canoes. And here they are, the Pacific Voyagers, heading into Paradise Cove to be met by kayaks and paddlers, toasts and speeches, and a local troupe of hula dancers.

canoes in the Cove

canoes in the Cove

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

The canoes are replicas of the traditional vaka moana canoes Pacific people used to explore and settle the tropical islands of the Pacific and New Zealand centuries ago.

The canoes, each about 70 feet long, carry a crew of 16 sailors from some of the smallest countries in the world, including the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Vanuatu and Tonga.


They began their trip in April from New Zealand, and sailed on the first leg to Hilo, in the Hawaiian Islands, navigating by the stars, as their ancestors did. However, the modern voyagers have canoes with hulls made of fiberglass instead of wood, and equipped with solar panels to power onboard equipment.

Though the ancient mariners steered by the stars, their descendants communicate on the Internet. The expedition has a website - - and they are on Facebook and Twitter as well.

There's a beach barbeque for the sailors and public tonight here in Malibu, after which the South Seas visitors head south to Baja California via San Diego. And then, later this fall, it's back home to the Pacific Islands.

Get all the details at Pacific Voyagers.

canoes in the Cove

August 18, 2011

Swallowtail up at the barn

swallowtail at the barn


There's been this swallowtail butterfly up at the barn for a few weeks now, shy and flighty. And though I've been trying to get a shot of it aloft -- it's unbelievably large and almost unbearably perfect -- it's onto me.

It lets me get close, then closer, then it takes off. So instead close enough, I've settled for (almost) good enough.

August 17, 2011

Just because

um, yeah, portland

Because the new photos are stuck in the camera as I seem to have left the card reader back at the barn, and this guy in Portland was dressed up like a flower for no visible reason, and apparently you're not eligible to write for the New York Times unless you perpetuate the "wacky Portland" meme, I'm publishing the flower-dude photo.

Hello, Bill Keller? My work here is done.

August 16, 2011

A wedding

under the bridge

My dear friend (and former Malibu neighbor) Melissa got married in Portland last weekend, and after worrying wondering all day whether the sun would come out in time for the 5 p.m. ceremony, it did, emerging just as she and Tyler said their vows.

August 15, 2011



No matter how hot or dry it gets in the Malibu hills, the datura, with it's leathery skin and brightest shade of white, endures.

August 14, 2011

Here in Portland


Even though I shot a bunch of pix while in Portland for a wedding, in some ways there's no better image to represent the last few days than these backyard hens, browsing for scraps among the rental furniture as the bride and groom and members of the wedding party basked in the sweet summer sun, and even sweeter memories of a lovely event.

Congratulations, Melissa and Tyler!

August 13, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Bobcat crossing


Someone added this little sign in front of their house on Kanan Road. I kept waiting for a break in traffic to get the best shot, then realized a photo with cars racing by is what really belongs here.

August 12, 2011

Supermarket sweep


Sometimes, great art just happens.

August 11, 2011

California quail

California quail on alert

A neighbor and I went for a walk in the Point Dume headlands last week, and as the fog rolled out and the tide moved in, this California quail (see her topknot?) kept watch over her brood.

Quail, who are able to fly but prefer to walk, have a hard time of it in populated areas. This covey on this day, though, wandered the coastal scrub content and undisturbed.

August 10, 2011

Happy Blogoversary!

paradise cove pier

It's the five-year anniversary of Here in Malibu today. What started out as a newsy kid sister to LA Observed has become, over time, an unabashed love letter to a landscape.

Thank you to Kevin for letting me have this space, and to all of you who visit. And to celebrate, a few favorites:

Winter solstice sunset on Broad Beach:
Solstice sunset in Malibu

Summer sunrise in the Cove:

Suummer sunrise


And Jake:
Jake, the grand poobah

And Patsy:
Patsy and the '49 Plymouth

And the late, great Evinrude:
Evinrude, forever cranky.

The road to the barn:
stormy light

The roadrunner:

And hummingbirds:

And bobcats:
Bobcats in Malibu

The coyotes:

And the hawks:
point dume hawk

The oaks:
california live oak

And the ocean:
surf today

And, of course, the light:


wednesday sunrise

more pink

Storm clouds over Malibu

Memorial Day sunrise in Malibu

Fog creeps in

rainy day beach

sunday sunrise

marine layer

paradise cove rainbow

August 9, 2011

Adios, HOWS Market

adios HOWS

Grocery stores come and go here in Malibu, kind of like the tides, and now it's HOWS' turn. Everything in the store is 35 percent off and shoppers (your faithful blogger included) are stocking up their pantries.

Beer and booze went first:
adios HOWS

As did staples like cleaning products and expensive stuff like meat and cheese and chocolate.adios HOWS

Somehow, though, the spray-on cheese isn't moving. Yet.
adios HOWS

Sale goes on until the shelves are bare. Store clerks say that should be sometime tomorrow.

And who's the new owner of the Trancas shopping center? It's kind of complicated, shrouded in a maze of holding companies and LLPs, but at the end of the chain of names is Paige Dubbert, a member of the Walton -- as in Walmart, not John Boy -- clan.

August 8, 2011

Dividing line

fog waits

The fog in Chicago may come in on little cat feet, but here in Malibu, it steamrolls.

August 7, 2011

The driveway

the driveway

I know I owe you a story about the bats but it's Sunday and the newspaper awaits (have I mentioned that at least half of my neighbors here get a paper delivered? For a journalist, a welcome sight) which means there's the Sunday crossword to slog through (yesterday's puzzle kicked my ass, btw) so here's a shot of the driveway that leads to the house, an oak-lined preview of the wild kingdom (bats! coyotes! racoons!) and stories to come.

August 6, 2011

Signs of Saturday: RV Park


One of my favorite signs in all of Malibu is for the RV park on PCH. It's above Malibu Seafood, so right away you've got some of the best room service in town. And the beach across the street is a great one for dolphin sightings.

Almost every time I've had to stop my car and be late for an appointment because dolphins were leaping out of the water and through the air in great flashing arcs, it was at this beach.

I worried for years that the sign would be taken down. I mean, it's perfect, right? And yet, 19 years later, here it still stands. Thank goodness for small miracles.

August 5, 2011

Lush life

A friend of a friend, a gifted cook, is care-taking a house in the hills. She was generous enough to invite us over for dinner last week.

It was beautiful,

garage door

And delicious,


And Luna the adopted dog was very, very happy.


August 4, 2011

Cool, dude

jake and maisie

There's Jake, chillin' in the sand, and then there's Maisie, psycho dog, because that tiny Teacup Lab® body simply cannot contain so much joy.

August 3, 2011

The fog or the bat?

So there are two things to tell you about this morning, one with pretty pictures and one with a narrative that makes my heart pound and my spekk check (see?) spell check go berserk because I get freaked out all over again and can't type straight.

In the interest of mental health, shall we begin with today's sunrise?

morning light

There, that's better. It was misty this morning, shimmery and blue, kind of like waking up in Monet's paint box.

morning light

So, OK, that other thing that happened, which has been happening for about a month now? I'm hoping it'll happen for the last time tonight, when Jose comes over.

It's about bats, not aging killer chihuahuas, but in my (fevered and hysterical) mind's eye that bit of night sky that's been flying through the house looks a lot like this:


August 2, 2011

Trailer Park Tuesday

Old Paradise Cove

I've grown quite fond of trailer park life. As a natural nomad, I like a house that quakes beneath my feet. (I exaggerate, of course, but only a lot.)

I love a place so easy to transform, a house that comes apart at the seams, splits in two and trundles off behind a semi.
out with the old...

The new house arrives the same way, trucked in piece by piece to be assembled on the spot.

New trailer

Trailer park people are a different lot, quirkier than the stick-built crowd. There's good taste and bad taste and there's taste that defies description. And in honor of that we're introducing a new feature today at Here in Malibu -- Trailer Park Tuesday.

No judgement. I truly love it all. And really, what better place to kick things off than at home?

First, let's look again at the bathroom in the mountain trailer I didn't buy. We refer to it, with equal parts relief and longing, as The One That Got Away:
freaky bathroom

Let's look now at the master bath in the trailer I did buy. It'll stay this way for a while longer since my remodeling dollars didn't stretch as far as I had hoped. (Do they ever?)
oh the bathroom

Oh the hanging lights, filigree balls that swing from golden chains:

oh the lights

Oh the plastic seashell sinks:oh the plastic sink

Oh the molded plastic medicine chest, the faux oak paneling, the metallic gold-flocked wallpaper:

oh the lights

What's that? You'd like a closer look?

oh the wallpaper

And now, as the Casa Mulholland remodel sails through its final week, I'm proud to live up to every stereotype you've ever had about who lives in a trailer park, and how.

Here's my front porch this morning:

oh lordy the porch

Please, just call me Ellie Mae.

August 1, 2011

Lizard war

lizard war

Up at the barn, it's lizard country. Whether it's the garden, the tractor or the stripped-down jeep, each micro-habitat has its own lizard king.

Here's the slab of slate in front of my office where lately a pair of lizards are having a fierce (precision pushups!) disagreement about who, exactly, rules this roost.

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