is was, the last vestige of my 1973 Meteor mobile home which, and I love saying this because for a journalist, it's akin to living in one of Elvis' old houses, once belonged to Otis Chandler. Check out that linoleum. How about that red formica vanity?
And here it is right now, the stripped-down bathroom, which could be why I'm having a teensy anxiety attack, what with all the ripping and tearing sounds, and the huge chunks of wall and bathroom vanity and paneling being hauled through the house.
And do you see that crazy '70s wallpaper? And the shiny, silvery, 1973 Meteor mobile home skin? And holy crap, the wall is gone and you can see right through to the outdoors.
I know, I know, that's a crow we saw perched on the blooming agave during a walk this morning, but oh what a view.
Sometimes you buy flowers for their scent, other times for shape or texture. Yesterday, who knows why, the only flowers I had the faintest interest in were this rich, deep, buttery yellow.
This is one of my favorite signs at the Saturday farmer's market in Santa Monica, proof we're not in Kansas any more, Toto.
Coming soon in this space -- DIsney! Ground squirrels! The Great Remodel of '09! Plus, more pix of Maisie, the Teacup Lab®.
It's cloudy and cool at the beach today, and while I have something to say about ground squirrels and being raised on Disney movies where cute animals talk, I'm posting instead a vintage Johnny Carson clip in which Ed McMahon (RIP) is drunk off his ass.
And if you're wondering about the Malibu connection, well, Johnny Carson lived here. We'd see him all the time at the late and much-lamented restaurant, Granita, holding court in his favorite booth. Those were the days.
(h/t to I Am Bossy.)
We're in the home stretch of redoing the deck which means my mind is mush so here's a shot of Maisie the Teacup Lab®, flying high despite her freakishly small size.
Remember the lovely egrets nesting in the trees in the Cross Creek
ghost town shopping center?
Yes, it's Father's Day, but it's also the summer solstice, which means these are the most daylight-filled 24 hours of the year. (I confess I slept in this morning so this shot of the solstice sunrise is from last year.)
The New York Times, which has had a bunch of LA-based stories all week long, focuses its "36 Hours In..." feature in the Travel section today on our own little slice of heaven, Malibu. It's a nice piece, hits the high points -- including a shout-out to Terra, one of Malibu's best restaurants -- and skips some still-secret spots, and manages to ignore the major fact of Malibu summer life:
So I see this license plate and think yes, Malibu zen. And my friend sees the same plate and comes up with a round of margaritas.
Remember the garden, right after I planted it in May?
Well, here it is, almost exactly a month later:
how well the plants are growing and how tall and green and sturdy everything looks ...stuff, but I'm afraid it'll somehow get translated into a dinner party Evite for the bugs and gophers and bunnies so I'll just say hmmm, the garden, and leave it at that.
So, how about them Dodgers?
There is a bit of the Zen master in Jake, who shrugs off the dust and noise of construction and finds himself a spot on the hillside where he can contemplate the mysteries of the universe, and how he'd grill his burger if he had thumbs.
Right now, this very second, there is sawing and hammering and thumping and shaking and the shrieking crash of huge chunks of wood falling from the deck. And even though it's all for the best in that the deck will be stronger and comfier and cozier, and these men are here because I asked them and am, in fact, paying them, the chaos and the change and the noise and the change and the disruption (and did I mention change?) make me feel like this:
We had a pretty little swell in the Cove this morning, good-sized sets curving around the point, a sweet breeze, even a bit of sunlight.
turning around, and just as effortlessly, paddling back out.
More pix of Laird here.
For the most part, stuff is safe here in the Cove. We're a small and close-knit community and people look out for one another. But every once in a while, what with all the traffic from the nearby restaurant and the high turnover of homes in the park, stuff goes missing, a bike or a kayak or, this time, a surfboard on the beach.
As this sign says, though, someone knows something about that stolen board. My favorite part is whoever wrote this note also knows about Paradise Cove's darker, seamier past as a smuggling site, which gave it its earlier name, Pirate's Cove. Tres cool.
And speaking of dark and seamy, here's the latest from Mark Gold of Heal the Bay, writing in his excellent blog, Spouting Off, about sewage in Paradise Cove.
Phone number in sign smudged via Photoshop.
The other morning, when the hulking chunk of fog that shrouds our stretch of the coast was playing nice, there was a ray of sunlight.
See? Color, and texture and even shadow. (And a very nice f-stop.)
It's lavender season at the Farmer's Market in Santa Monica, with half a dozen stands offering up sprays of one of my favorite (hey, I'm French) flowers. And of all the displays, this was the most interesting, the cool gray metal tub, the soft sprays of fragrant blooms, a small sweet symphony of contrasts.
We get antsy here in Malibu at this time of year, ready for the persistent morning overcast of May and June to end. We're near the tipping point, though, a mere 11 days away -- the summer solstice,
So here's another shot from the archives, a brilliantly sunny day at the Point Dume headlands, one of the prettiest places on earth and, as it happens, one of the favorite spots of today's birthday girl, expat Californian, Melissa Lion.
Happy Birthday, Melissa! We miss you!
Yes, this is a view of Paradise Cove, famed trailer park that Jim Rockford (and Otis Chandler) once called home. But it's also a reminder of how much fun drawing on jpegs can be.
Maisie had one of those chasing dreams this morning, one in which her feet made contact with the baseboards and that's how we woke up here in our little slice of Malibu, to the crazed sound of a tiny Labrador running sideways across the wall.
So here's the sunrise, barely 5:30 a.m. which, when you adjust for the fibs Daylight Savings Time tells us, means it was actually 4:30 a.m. Amazing.
Here's what's left of the Woolworth's in Glendale -- a kind of deco-ish (or is it more moderne?) mosaic on the threshold.
Talk to those who remember and they'll tell you about the toy section and the candy counter, the lunch counter (here's a menu from the '50s) and the photo booth, and the way the whole place had that hard to pinpoint but impossible to forget scent of hometown commerce. (Or was it popcorn?)
And here's another reason the Woolworth's lunch counter is famous.
Woke to one of my favorite sounds -- rain on the roof. Hard rain, the kind that puts the dogs into a coma and makes even Evinrude, Crankiest Cat in History®,
pleasant tolerant. It's enough of a rarity in this part of the world, this spring rain, that even as you pull the covers a little higher, you wonder if somewhere, a baby polar bear is going hungry. (And if you've seen "Earth", you already know the answer to that one.)
So here's a shot of Santa Monica, right as the rain rolled through. And below is our beach, the camera canted artfully to avoid the frothy greenish sludge pouring from the creek bed and into the sea. (Hmmm, Evinrude appears to have company in Cranky Town today.)
Going outside will cure that. The air is sweet and tender, the birds are going nuts, and there's a swell coming from the southwest, so lots of happy guys in wet suits are running toward the beach.
You can learn a lot about the local birds by watching this raft in the Cove. Someone left it here a few years back, maybe as a spot to swim to, maybe as a dock, but whatever the original idea, it belongs to the pelicans now.
At any given time, birds are sitting on it, flying over it, swimming to it, from it, or around it. Alphas get the best spots. Lesser birds risk perching on the edges, easily tipped into the sea if an argument gets rowdy.
Watch long enough and there's always a wise guy, some bird brain who buzzes the bunch of them, fast and low, like he's going to clear the decks. There's flapping and splashing and squawking and, once the troublemaker is gone, a lot of brisk waddling about. Once the raft stops bobbing, though, the birds all wind up back in their assigned spaces. Until the next time.
Crazy weather today here in Malibu, with rolling thunder and stabs of lightning and the unsteady stutter of rain. Clouds are moving in from the northwest, roiling, the birds unsettled.
The sky's a steely gray. It quenches sound, highlights colors on the ground where neighborhood gardens glow, the pinks, the greens, the golden yellows so bright, it all looks a little eerie.
Gray. Then gray, gray and a teensy bit more gray. Which means it's gray out today, the sky and the sea, as it was yesterday. 'K? (Sorry.)
But look, here's a shot from last Saturday afternoon and -- sun! It was warm! And the birds were singing! (OK, they're singing now, but it all sounds gray somehow.)
Which is just another way to let you know there's more June Gloom here in Malibu. It's springtime, and that's how we roll.
Welcome to the first day of June, when the gray of May gives way to even more mornings of grim and shivery overcast. Inversion, marine layer, coastal fog, whatever you want to call it, it's here, SoCal's coastal version of spring rain.