Here in Malibu
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September 30, 2011

Random stuff we saw at the flea market

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:

Malibu Lions Club flea market

Shopping for stuff:
flea market stuff

flea market stuff

...and lots:
flea market

...and lots:
flea market stuff

...of stuff:
flea market stuff

Oh, and some monarch butterflies-in-waiting, too.
monarch caterpillars

September 29, 2011

Dahlias, dahlinks


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.

September 28, 2011

In a fog

Somewhere, it's sunny. Just not here.
so gray


and chilly

Some of us, it seems, just don't care.
happy dogs

happy dogs

September 27, 2011

Paddling the LA River

LA River paddle

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:LA River paddle

They helped us aboard:
LA River paddle

And where needed, they helped us through:
LA River paddle

LA River paddle

It was scenic:

LA River paddle

LA River paddle

With lots of wildlife:
LA River paddle

And plenty of trash:
LA River paddle

Which, like good citizens, we collected:
LA River paddle

LA River paddle

LA River paddle

And when it was over, we all knew our urban river a bit better. And some of us loved it even more.
LA River paddle

September 26, 2011

We fight the fog with photos of sunshine

golden Monday morning greetings to you from the land of perpetual June Gloom. The coast here is fogged in again, as it has been at sunrise for a large part of the summer and, it now seems, the fall.

So here's a shot of a sunny start to a summery day, the light like liquid in the oaks.

September 25, 2011

Oh Maisie...

oh maisieThose 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.

September 24, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Flea market

flea market sign

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?

September 23, 2011

Rainbow this morning

rainbow this morning
Before the fog raced in this morning, great torn sheets of it roiling through the canyon, we had a rainbow in the hills.

And now, this instant, flares of lightning followed by rolling thunder have everyone on edge.

September 22, 2011

Speaking of houses...

the canyon life

Some friends just moved into a cottage in an avocado grove and the view out their front door is like a plein air painting.

September 21, 2011

Before and after

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.)
kitchen before

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):
the dust settles

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.

September 20, 2011

The morning bath

pie and fog 042

Not even chilly temps thanks to a blanket of fog could keep these intrepid canines out of the water.

September 19, 2011

Monday sunrise

Fogged in at the beach this morning so to catch first light, we headed up the canyon.

monday sunrise

monday sunrise

monday sunrise

monday sunrise

September 18, 2011

Fine feathered friends

breakfast with friends

When you eat at the Malibu Kitchen, you never eat alone.

September 17, 2011

Signs of Saturday: No access

little white lie

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.

September 16, 2011

Ludo bit

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.
LudoBites 7.0

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. LudoBites 7.0 staff toast

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.

And now, back to our regularly-scheduled sunrises, oak trees and, of course, Maisie the Teacup Lab®.

September 15, 2011

This Sunday...


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!

September 14, 2011

Wanna see something beautiful?

earth curve

You can't be surprised it's the ocean, right?

September 13, 2011

Trailer Park Tuesday: Go figure

What I love about mobile home living is it's an irony-free zone.

trailer park tuesday

trailer park tuesday

September 12, 2011

Morning light

Depending on your species, you can either sigh at the morning light as it breaks through the grove of oaks:
morning light

Or you can cruise for coyote poop:
morning light

Either way, apparently, transcendent.

September 11, 2011

The 9/11 memorial opens in Malibu

By 4 p.m. yesterday, amid occasional rain and thunder, the flags were flying and people were stopping.

signs and 9-11 007

signs and 9-11 010

9/11 memorial at Pepperdine

A history of the four-year-old display and links to today's events right here.

September 10, 2011

Signs of Saturday: We remember


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.

The second year, foreign flags appeared, each reflecting the nationality of the those who perished. Last year saw the addition of a sign.

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.


September 9, 2011

The lizard in the oak

One of my favorite oak groves, a few dozen trees with huge and graceful canopies, shows signs of fire.

The bark is dark and rough, the scorch marks plainly there, once you're looking.
oaks and lizard 010

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.

oaks and lizard 003

oaks and lizard 005

oaks and lizard 006

September 8, 2011

The sun also sets

september dusk

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.

september dusk

That's the Pacific at the very bottom of the shot, and the tip of Palos Verdes. Above it, last light.

September 7, 2011

A mid-week bouquet

happy birthday Miss. A!

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.

September 6, 2011

Finally -- it's summer!

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.

south from Point Dume

beach path

prints of tides

September 5, 2011

The last days of summer

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.


labor day

September 4, 2011


Driving down Kanan the other day I saw about a dozen National Park Service cars and jeeps and trucks parked along the shoulder.

And then this helicopter rose up above the roadway:
pot bust in the canyon

The day before, I had seen a helicopter combing the hills south of the barn, flying what seemed mere feet above the flora. So I figured, hmmm, rescue training exercise?
pot bust in the canyon

I figured wrong.

For two hours, the helicopter flew back and forth, deep into the canyon, each time ferrying out enormous bales of green stuff.
pot bust in the canyon

I imagine some pot growers somewhere are having a rather heated chat.

September 3, 2011

Signs of Saturday: Chili Cook-off this weekend

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:Even more boring sign

Here's the one before that, still with a bit of whimsy:new sign

And here's the long-vanished sign, a quirky and wonderful feat of home-grown signage, which announced the cook-off when it was held on the swath of land that has since become a much-loved park.sign

September 2, 2011

Big surf

big surf

big surf

big surf

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.

September 1, 2011

Parrots in the canyon




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.)

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