Here in Malibu
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June 30, 2012

Signs of Saturday: Watts Towers

The Watts Towers:

Watts Towers

And the "S.R." for Simon Rodia, the beloved eccentric from Ribotolli, Italy who, in 1921, began construction of the seven sculptures that make up the neighborhood landmark.

Watts Towers

Interesting that if you started a similar project today, an alphabet soup of enforcement agencies would have you shut down and paying fines before you could say buon giorno.

Watts Towers

June 29, 2012

You're grounded

test flight

We were at Bluffs Park the other day when suddenly, this parasail bloomed from behind a hill. We haven't seen any since one crashed and, literally, burned (the sport involves a motor-driven turbine) which prompted the then-new owner of the land, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, to ban all manned flight.

Turns out the guys were just using the gusty day to catch a bit of air for photographs, so no laws were broken. I wish I could say the same of the tiny flying Labrador.

flying maisie

June 28, 2012

The beach here this morning


thursday morning sunrise in malibu


thursday morning in paradise cove

June 27, 2012

Cold-blooded sentinel at the barn


It's lizard country up at the barn, where dozens of the tiny reptiles set up fiefdoms, then defend them to the death. The wood pile, the rock pile, the straw bale in the garden, the tractor wheels, the shovels and rakes leaned up against the fence, they're all meticulously mapped out in Lizardworld.

A few feet from my office door there's this little guy, who has laid claim to a rock and a drain pipe in the spot where the nastrutriums grow. He's athletic and vigilant and fearless, and he's very, very good at catching bugs.

June 26, 2012

Oh but the ocean is blue

blue blue blue

It's not just the contrast to days upon days of the grinding gray of the marine layer -- the ocean has been bluer than blue this week, deep and bright in that giddy, summery, put-the-Beach-Boys-on-repeat kind of way.

June 25, 2012

Sleeping beauty

She's very busy in her dreams, maintaining order in the universe, getting first crack at the coyote poop.

June 24, 2012

Blizzard of white

blizzard of white

The mountains here have cycled through the color wheel, settled into white, shrubs and yucca and wildflowers blooming one last time before the hot summer days settle in and end the party.

June 23, 2012

Signs of Saturday: Tick tock


This gentle reminder comes from the home of Billy Vasquez (have you watched his great "Cheap Eats" video about food along the new Expo Line yet?) and screenwriter Amy Dawes (that's just one section of her intriguing book shelf) and because of it, I'm headed to the Farmer's Market, and the beach, and Watts Towers, and the Getty, and the Central Library, and Dante's Rest, and Dodger Stadium, and...well, you get the picture.

June 22, 2012

Another flotilla of ducklings

They appeared on Wednesday, five tiny ducklings, freshly hatched.


That first day, they stuck as close to mom as possible:


Well, most of the time.


Last night, things seemed a bit more relaxed:


June 21, 2012

It's the first day of summer!

maisie daisy

I still feel like a little kid about summer, like I'm getting away with something as I stay outside until every last photon of sunset light is spent, and only the need for a sweater (and Jon Stewart) finally make it OK to come indoors.

June 20, 2012

Summer solstice!

cute van

Delivered to your SoCal door at 4:09 p.m. today, the June solstice, the longest (by one second) day of the year.

Wake up in spring, go to sleep in summer.

Neat trick.

June 19, 2012

Heron on the lake

heron on the lake

He never lets you get too close, which is a shame because he can eat a frog in a single swallow and believe me, the sight of that is unforgettable.

June 18, 2012



Sunny yesterday from dawn until dusk, the Pacific doing its deep blue thing, the calendar edging closer to official summer (or Summer, if we want to be formal), as the marine layer, biding its time, took a rest on the far side of the horizon.

June 17, 2012

Sunday on the lake


A whirlwind of activity on the lake this morning (he yawned!) where the sun is actually shining.

June 16, 2012

Signs of Saturday: Fifty shades of grey

malibu news stand

The Malibu News Stand -- no place like it.

June 15, 2012

This did not happen today


So, this glowing, rosy sunrise? Didn't happen today. The sun came up, of course, and the pier was there, but the colors and warmth were a no-show, on hold for a few more weeks while the annual marine layer kicks our asses.

June 14, 2012

Refusing delivery


It's another relentlessly gray day and we here in Malibu say no thanks. No, we won't admit that the sky is dragging on the pavement, that the windshield is wet with fog, or that the birds are so depressed they're in their nests streaming Hulu.

Instead, here's a sunny morning on one of the pathways in the hills where, if you walk far enough, you come to the knoll from which you can hear a neurotic rooster crowing from dawn to dusk, or the bells from Mel Gibson's church, or, sometimes (God does have a sense of humor) both at the same time.

June 13, 2012

At last, the jacaranda

We here in Malibu live in a late-bloomer microclimate, so while the rest of LA has seen the jacaranda's purple flowers come and go, ours are just beginning.

purple and blue

June 12, 2012

Gloom and gloomier

Because the beach here today looks like this:


We'll dip into the archives for a reminder that in just a few weeks, it'll be this:

summertime blues

June 11, 2012

June gloomy

A few sunny days and we're spoiled. So here comes the real June weather -- clouded in (not that the Muffinhead notices) from the beach:


...all the way into the mountains.

foggy here

June 10, 2012

Over the rainbow

paradise cove rainbow

This one's for Jeremy.

Rest in peace.

June 9, 2012

Signs of Saturday: Be love


The driver liked this sentiment so much, she (he?) posted it twice.

June 8, 2012

Sea grass waves hello

sea grass

It's a quiet wave in this spot on the beach, sheltered by an underwater shelf, almost always glassy, and, as it turns out, grassy.

June 7, 2012

Kiss kiss


Did it work yet?

June 6, 2012

A Monet moment at the lake

misty morning

Morning + mist = expressionism.

June 5, 2012

Topknot of the morning

covey of California quail

We rounded a bend on the morning walk and for a moment, got to watch a covey of quail who hadn't yet noticed us. I love these little birds, the disparity between their rounded bodies and that upright plume rendering them slightly goofy.

But don't be fooled -- they're valiant and brave, watchful thanks to their ground-dwelling ways. Adults fleeing predators fly away from the flock, distract the source of danger, make that pip-pip-piping alarm cry, just one in an aresenal of sounds that puts community first.

June 4, 2012

Le chien

Jake knoll

jake and maisie bluffs park

jake and maisie knoll

We miss him.

June 3, 2012

Layers of green and wet


Close up is the brush, now tinder-dry, grasses that quickly grew and quickly died in that spate of late spring rains.

In the middle distance, in a deeper shade, trees and shrubs with roots in rain channels, in sudden creeks and secret springs, still greening as the weather warms.

And then the mountain, coastal sage and chaparral, decades old. If you know how to look you see the swell and ebb, the greys and greens that brighten, then withdraw, a quiet sign of the seasons here on the Southern California coast.

June 2, 2012

Signs of Saturday: Falling rocks

Falling rocks?

falling rocks

Ohhh -- falling rocks.
falling rocks

June 1, 2012

Flights of pelicans

It's the time of year that the pelicans mass together, float by in formation, the older and stronger ones taking a turn at the point of the V.pelicans


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