That dahlia from yesterday? It was for sale at the annual Lions Club flea market, one of the cornerstone events of fall here in Malibu. And because pixels are free (and once they're shot, they long for the light of day) here are more images from the sale.
Like the crowd on a (surprise!) (not really) cloudy day:
I wish you could hear my family's accents. My mom's mix of French, Russian and English defies description. Make her laugh hard enough and you'll get a "You funny" in return. My dad sounded just like Jacques Cousteau, but with an edgy, wicked wit. And my grandmother, despite decades in LA, learned very little English. She made do with a few well-chosen phrases, among them "Thank you, darling", or to be more precise, "Ssenk you, dahlink".
None of which has anything to do with this pretty dahlia I saw for sale lately. I had hoped to shoot a Thursday sunrise but no, we've got another cloudy day. So here instead, some floral pinks to chase away the grays.
Ssenk you, dahlink. You funny.
A friend and I joined eight other intrepid paddlers at an unreasonably early hour a few weekends ago and, dressed for Class IV rapids, we paddled and portaged our way through two mild and meandering miles of LA River.
It was via Paddle the LA River, a pilot program launched this summer to test the waters -- literally -- for the feasibility of guided tours down our favorite concrete waterway.
They showed us how:
It was scenic:
So here's a shot of a sunny start to a summery day, the light like liquid in the oaks.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter know the tiny Labrador was recently bitten in the
ass derriere. Not sure by whom or by what but after a visit to the vet, here's how she's been spending the last few days.
Because apparently if you can reach your
ass derriere, and you're a dog, you will, in fact, lick it.
TMI. And you're welcome.
The hallmarks of fall march on here in Malibu, and the annual Lions Club flea market is among the favorites.
Hundreds of vendors selling, well, everything, take over the old Civic Center parking lot. And beforehand, the Lions themselves serve an old-fashioned pancake breakfast.
See you there?
And now, this instant, flares of lightning followed by rolling thunder have everyone on edge.
Some friends just moved into a cottage in an avocado grove and the view out their front door is like a plein air painting.
Did I mention we were doing a little work on the house? Well, we're kind of done. For a minute, anyway.
For instance, the kitchen before:
(And yes, that's a dropped ceiling that's covered with shingles and inset with a bank of fluorescent lights, the latest in Brady Bunch design. It felt as though we were erasing an entire week of 1973 when it all came out.)
And the kitchen after:
(And yep, that's my same stove and sink. In fact, a lot of the finishes in the new place are the same as in the old place because I'm massively homesick and wasn't nearly done with living in my other house so this one, while utterly alien, still feels freakishly familiar):
Now, if all the art and photos would spontaneously adhere to the walls, and the books would fly onto shelves that would miraculously find their way from the storage shed to the just right spot in the house, and the pots and pans and dishes would tell me where, exactly, in the new kitchen they would like to live, we'd
have a Pixar film be finished.
More photos (some shot when the previous family still lived in the house) in the slideshow here.
Not even chilly temps thanks to a blanket of fog could keep these intrepid canines out of the water.
While it's true you can't get to Escondido Falls from this particular street, the dirt road it eventually becomes shows up on the map as a county fire road.
A friend got a table at the last seating of the last night of the latest LudoBites, and after more than a dozen courses over three hours, all I could say was oh. my. god. (Here's a review of the 7.0 iteration by LA's own Jonathan Gold.)
Here, at Gram and Papas after regular business hours, are other (far more articulate than I'm being, I'm sure) diners.
And here's Krissy Lefebvre (with Chef Ludo, of course) leading the staff in an end-of-service toast. We already felt like voyeurs being there for this private ritual, so I shot quick and dirty, without a flash.
I'm terrible at writing about people I've met and admire so I'll just say the chef and his wife are as charming and funny and charismatic and focused as they are on Ludo Bites America which, if you get the Sundance Channel, you should check out.
It's the KCRW pie contest this Sunday and I'm entering two pies. And because I'm competitive, that's all I've got to say about that. Other than, be there!
Either way, apparently, transcendent.
By 4 p.m. yesterday, amid occasional rain and thunder, the flags were flying and people were stopping.
A history of the four-year-old display and links to today's events right here.
In 2008, the first year of Pepperdine's memorial to the people killed in the 9/11 attacks, the flags simply appeared. One day the lawn was bare, the next it was a monument, stunning and stirring in its simplicity.
Students had quietly spent the week parsing the grass into a precise grid. On Sept. 11, 2,977 full-sized American flags moved in the ocean breeze.
It stopped traffic, of course. It made the news, local and national. And it became an annual rite. The original display was the work of the university's College Republicans, led by Ryan Sawtelle, the young man whose idea it was. When Ryan graduated, he passed along the tradition to the administration at large.
This year, in addition to the now-annual motorcyclists' Ride to the Flags, the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks will be marked by a day of events, beginning at 10 a.m. with a reading of the names of those killed, and ending with an hour-long memorial service at 4 p.m.
The flags fly all week long. Traffic can be tough but if you plan and you're patient, it's stunning, truly moving, and well worth the visit.
And here, among the scars of the fire that roared through some 20 years ago, a lizard lives, his reptile skin as dark and marked as the survivor he calls home.
Not that you'd know it from all the sunrises I post on this little blog, but the sun also sets here in Malibu.
This was it yesterday, the ground cooling, colors rising, coyotes restless in the canyon.
That's the Pacific at the very bottom of the shot, and the tip of Palos Verdes. Above it, last light.
What is it about the week after a three-day weekend that makes it seem longer?
As an antidote I'm sharing a friend's birthday bouquet (generous, aren't I?), a lovely and lively and surprising mix which fits her perfectly.
Now that Labor Day has passed and the unofficial summer is out of the way, the real deal gets started in Malibu. This is the time of year the crowds fade, the sun shines hot and the beaches go back to the locals.
At dawn on this Labor Day there was lightning near Catalina, fog over Santa Monica, and a single surfer on the sand, drinking it all in.
Driving down Kanan the other day I saw about a dozen National Park Service cars and jeeps and trucks parked along the shoulder.
I figured wrong.
I imagine some pot growers somewhere are having a rather heated chat.
As the annual Chili Cook-off and carnival got smaller, so did the signs. Here's the newest one, straigtforward and a bit plain, which announces the event in its new-ish location in a vacant lot zoned for a shopping mall:
Huge waves all up and down the coast, and in some spots, surfers with the skill to make the most of them.
It's supposed to continue today and through the weekend.
This flock flies through each afternoon and every time I think, "a screaming comes across the sky".
Thank god nothing explodes. (Except, maybe, Thomas Pynchon's head.)