Come near this guy on the shoreline and whoosh! he's gone.
But on the dock he's fearless, holds his ground as residents stroll by, the humans drinking in the sight of him, the four-legged contingent, safely in check at the end of a leash, equally enthralled.
And just for a bit of perspective on his marvelous size, the railing there is waist-high.
We're headed out for a day of errands so even though we met someone photo-worthy at the lake this morning, it'll have to wait until tomorrow.
Yes, the sunrise this morning was spectacular, and no, we didn't get out early enough to share it with you.
Yes, the Little Dog had a great time running on the beach, and no, that photo is not even close to being in focus.
Yes, the Muffin Head is a purebred Lab, and yes, she's close to doing a handstand here, all because the ball rolled perilously close to the waves and no (oh no no no no) this water dog's feet don't willingly touch cold H2O.
All over the Santa Monica mountains you'll see water tanks, set beside a house, tucked high into a canyon, some shiny and brand new, others cracked and rusting, reminders (and remainders) of wind and fire, constants in this landscape.
There's something prehistoric about the giant coreopsis on the Point Dume headlands, most of the year a field of fleshy trunks wrapped in last year's leaves.
Visit in winter, though, during the brief but spectacular bloom, and it's Cinderella sprung from the ashes, Snow White all dressed up for the ball.
Here's one of my favorite shots of the tiny Labrador, making sure all is well on a rainy January morning last year.
"Is the lens cap off? Did you focus? Did you take your vitamins?"
I didn't even realize she was in the frame until I downloaded the images later that day.
Lita Albuquerque says "please" and invites everyone to join in on Sunday as the stairs and trails of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook are closed for a few hours for Spine of the Earth, a public art project.
Whenever I fly, I always, always get the window seat. This approach to LAX, over the Santa Monicas with the Pacific in view and the city still hidden is one of my favorite moments.
Wasn't sure whether the camera could capture the layers of light and color this morning, but it did.
You could be all oooh and ahhh and 'oh but it's magical' about the mist rising from the lake this morning, unless, of course, you were the one on the front porch at dawn, chopping a skim of ice (ice!) from the dog's water dish in your bare I'm-a-California-beach-girl feet.
Gorgeous sunset skies all over LA last night. This shot is on Point Dume where we parked illegally because, thanks to the NIMBY residents and the wimpy Malibu City Council, there are but six (that's right, SIX) legal parking places within a mile walk of the headlands.
Anyway, the cops were absent and dozens of cars flouted the rules and we all stood and watched and oohed and aahed and oh my, it was lovely.
The little dog is having a bit of a rough time right now. She's always been sure she's Maisie, but (and those of you with multiple pet households will understand this next part) she's also been pretty sure she's Jake. This post from April 2008 says it best:
She's always in the lead, little Maisie. She's smaller than Jake so she's faster and more nimble. But other than when she's chasing the ball, a moment in time I'm convinced she thinks she's a wolf running down some helpless prey (though this particular wolf has short tiny legs, big puppy eyes and has developed a bit of a belly) she makes sure she never gets too far ahead.
It's like she's got some calibrated graph in her head, she's X, I'm Y and Jake is the axis on which Maisie sets us. She nudges and herds him and, when she can't stand for one more minute that he's NOT OBEYING, she just grabs him.
So here, though you maybe can't tell, she's keeping a precise distance. Jake never gets too far behind and, most important to Maisie, he's positioned so she can whirl around and clamp her tiny jaws around his neck at a moment's notice.
It's Jake and Maisie, in a blog post made just shy of four years ago. Even now, it makes me laugh:
If I could turn this into a flipbook, I would. Instead, here are the highlights of a moment between pushy little Maisie and her beloved Jake. (Scroll)
Sit under the oaks long enough and the birds, who either forget you're there or simply can't spare any time getting on with their day, fly and hop and bicker and sing and generally act out a Disney fantasy, only without those syrupy lyrics.
I'd love to hear the when and why of how this truck -- and I'm thinking the out-of-state plates had something to do with it -- got branded with surf slang for wanna-be outsider.
No photoshop here, I swear, just the fleeting moment when this outcropping deep in the magical, mystical Santa Monica mountains turns red in the rising sun.
Icy mornings here in the mountains, frost on the neighbor's roof, the cat glued to the warm spot in the bed. The new thermometer on the front porch reads in the low 30s in the pre-dawn dark.
But we're in the midst of a freakish streak of hot weather -- it was in the 80s at the beach yesterday, on its way to being even warmer today.
Either way, the sky has been beautifully blue, so is this shot of winter trees in Paradise Cove from the frigid or from the torrid part of the day?
Surprise -- another sunrise! (Yes, that's sarcasm.)
Here's the Cove before:
And the pier, a bit closer and a teensy bit later:
And the sky, oh my, that sky:
The bliss factor for Jake is off the charts in this moment. Not only is he in a convertible Mini with the back seat all to himself but he's with his beloved NICK! and about to go to NICK!'s house where there are two tiny six-pound dogs, who are Jake's people because, though to our eyes he's a very very large 110-pound Labrador, in Jake's mind he's no bigger than a Yorkie. And way nicer.
As for the perpetually gleeful Miss Maisie, you can see the party never stops.
Where's Malibu on this first day of 2012?
Right there, muffled in clouds, waiting for hangover remedies to kick in.