No! Not the Last, Please!

I write to remember. I remember because I write and revisit memories with my writing. Words and images. In uniting they offer me moments and emotions that would have sadly perished from my mind. So the name of one of my favorite bookstores in Los Angeles brings me a nostalgic feeling: The Last Bookstore. Joy that there is one and sadness that bookstores are probably on the endangered list.

After a quick snap of my shutter, I skip up to the second floor (I am childishly giddy right now). Each step proposing more sections to explore.

I get a grand view of the cavernous, old space, filled with books which I have just combed through.

How exciting… I am entering a labyrinth! Here I will find Science, Fiction & Fantasy. Then Mystery, Thrillers, Tru Crime, and Horror.

I have recently formed part of the jury at a film festival: the Festival Montevideo Fantástico, so Horror is a genre I am partial to.

Many of the genres in the back room are also of my liking: History, Cultural Studies, New Age, Religion, Foreign Language, Business, Travel, and Sports.

You know the Travel section is the one I spent considerable time in.

I love how the books are so artfully displayed, becoming more sculptural than reading material.

I’m not really wondering how they made this tunnel of books but which one I can pluck out without making it all come crumbling down.

Is the spotlight on me right now?

I have no idea of what these are but they seem at home in the horror section.

Art merges with the printed word here. It holds an art collective as well. Am on my way to it now.

As in The Broad, you may not touch the art.

Though you can sit on it.

Photography is an art and I’m happy to see the cameras themselves become one.

Music is an art as well and here, sculpture and music unite.

Art is often political.

Art makes a statement. It was January when I visited but this Christmas tree made out of prescription bottles was not brought down yet. I don’t think this was due to sentimentality; it had a message to relay.

Art makes me contemplative. I’m not into cuss words being used but it seems to be the go-to thing now, to provoke an emotion.

As is the use of animals to elicit emotions.

As I leave the focus goes back to words. The editor in me can’t help but question the “Nuestra Señora la Reina de la Librería Última de Los Angeles” translation from English to Spanish, under this sculpture on the wall.

I say goodbye to this bookstore. I thank it for entertaining me and I’m off to my next adventure.

Down the stairs that run alongside the Angels Flight railway (the shortest railway in the world). Technically it’s a funicular.

And into The Grand Central Market to fill my belly up with German currywurst at Berlin Currywurst remembering having had some in a lounge chair from a vendor on the side of a park in Berlin that had the area covered in sand resembling a beach. Happy memory. It tasted the same!

What next? Follow me!

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The “Broad” is not a Female

Definition by online Your Dictionary (yes, there is such a thing): slanga woman: sometimes considered offensive. So this Broad is not female and it is The Broad: a contemporary art museum in Los Angles, California.

I confess: though I thoroughly enjoy contemporary art, I am not quite well-versed in it. This homage to it comes to us free of charge (all you have to do is get a ticket online –gratis) thanks to Mr. and Mrs. philanthropists and collectors, the Broads, – pronounced in a completely different way than the female kind. I did not take pictures of the Broad’s exterior (criticized and exalted – striking nonetheless) so I take some of the entrance and windows from the inside. The windows in the building designed to let light in, yet not damage the art.

Visiting the most famous works first.  You certainly can’t avoid Jeff Koons’ -the world’s most expensive living artist- Tulips. I believe this is the same one I once saw in Steve Wynn’s Bellagio in Vegas, who bought the sculpture in 2013 for a cool $33.7 million.

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I photograph away as usual but this time I bring you me doing so, acquiescing to requests from readers that I include myself in photos.

Just as impressive as his Tulips is his Balloon Dog.  Koons is a master craftsman for sure.  An orange balloon dog sold for a record $58.4 Million in 2013. It was the first of a litter of five. I wonder how much this blue puppy fetched.

P1480343  In case you are thinking that he only has dogs in his menagerie, he also has bunnies.

Another of Koons’ favorite, most well-known works (part of his Banality series) is his life-sized Michael Jackson and Bubbles sculpture.

Before we leave Jeff (we’re on a first-name basis) I bring you Koons’ Jim Beam, J.B. Turner train (part of his Luxury and Degradation series) which has a super interesting story (it’s a decanter, so it involves liquor) of how it came to be. Click here. Worth the watch. It reminds me of a friend that not only loves trains but makes miniature ones. His, however, I am sure don’t cost near the $33.8 this one sold for in 2014.

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Oh no! Honey, did I shrink the tourists? What I like about contemporary art is the humor classical art lacks. The way it makes us look at common things in a new way. Robert Therrien presents us with everyday objects offering a different perspective.

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To prove that there is humor (even though I’m sure there is other intent in the work) here is something from a conceptual, performance, German artist. (His is the name on the plaque.)

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The above is probably the only lifting that I don’t need! I sometimes feel like this monumental painting by English painter Jenny Saville, Strategy.

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I am in downtown Los Angeles but whenever you mention my city Hollywood is the first thing that comes to people’s mind. Did you know that Hollywood is a verb? The artist Ruscha says so.

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A bit narcissistically, I like what I can connect with in some way.  A few months ago, I came back from five months in Spain, a country that I hold a passport to, so this collage from the above-mentioned artist, had my eye.

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Though I don’t quite understand what one has to do with the other, I like that this one (same artist) includes a flashback to my childhood with Cracker Jack. P1480378

To continue let me get rid of the paparazzi…P1480388

So kind of Barbara Kruger to tell me I’m a very special person (photographic silkscreen on vinyl). She’s an American artist that works with pictures, which automatically makes me like her.

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The next piece seems just right for this town.  From the Broad’s website: Untitled (If you’re so successful, why do you feel like a fake?), 1987, is a direct interrogation of the motivations of contemporary society—career building, money, and the appearance of success and good living. Kruger’s assertive display demands an answer from viewers. Unlike in advertising, which may ask a question to compel a purchase, Kruger’s work uses the same techniques to compel ethical change and reflection.  Getting to understand this type of art better thanks to it. Will not delve why I like the”Hug Me” piece further than that that hugging is one of my favorite things. 🙂

I’m a Taurus so I connected with this collage Beef Ribs Longhorn by Jean-Michel Basquiat.P1480404

Before I even read the caption, this mixed media collage reminded me of Manhattan, a city I called home for over 11 years. Good work by Mark Bradford. Per the sign on its side: “Across 110th Street gets its title from the eponymous 1072 Blaxploitation film as well as from the social and physical dividing line between Harlem and the rest of Manhattan.”

America (the U.S.A. in this case) is represented in a grand way.  Firstly by Jasper John, known for this oversized, gigantic flag. P1480393

And in duplicate by Glenn Ligon.P1480336

Also represented, curiously, with a tribute by Jeff Koons to actor/film director Buster Keaton.P1480344

A good segue to an Andy Warhol silkscreen P1480397 (this a self-portrait) and of his Two Marilyn Monroes that impressed me, even more, when I read that this one was number #27 in the silkscreening process. “The silkscreened image deteriorates with each printing, acting as a physical metaphor for the waning of fame and the fading of memory. Warhol’s diptych of Monroe is of an icon losing her essence, becoming distorted by time and saturated retelling.” Per the Broad as well: “Marilyn Monroe died in the early hours of August 5, 1962. A few weeks later, Andy Warhol began silkscreening Monroe’s face onto canvases. Using a portrait of the celebrated star taken from a publicity still, Warhol cropped tight around the edges of Monroe’s face and hair with a grease pencil. Warhol had only learned how to silkscreen a few months earlier, but already he was able to achieve his desired effect with the medium.”

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I reached a painting so big, in five panels, that I could not photograph it complete so I do it in pieces. Initially, I thought that it was by a female painter for some reason; the painter, Lari Pittman, has said he is gay and a feminist so I guess I wasn’t too far off.

I have a wish, a P1480371 (Desire, painting by Edward Ruscha), that I have not bored you. That you have learned something and that you will want to return to the museum by my hand or without me.

If you have not enjoyed visiting with me,  P1480365 (I’m Sorry by Roy Lichtenstein).

We are going to get literary on our next trip.

Categories: Los Angeles, The Broad, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Road to Hollywood Forever is a Lifetime

I walk, drawn to side streets by colors of street art. I have stopped often but as Bill Murray’s character would say “It just doesn’t matter!” I am in Hollywood.  p1480001

Continuing on the color theme (not for long, I promise) there’s a building that just can’t help but catch my attention. It’s pink and garish and pretentious to call itself Hollywood Dream Suites. I suspect that they are not. I later find out that it’s a hotel and from the reviews I read, I may have been right.

I pass Raleigh Studios where I once filmed an episode of Castle.

Across the street is Paramount Studios.

I wasn’t specifically meaning to go to where it all ends for some, but the end of the year was approaching and there was some poetry into visiting a cemetery.  I had visited before but it was at night and my attention was held by a projection of an old movie on one of its mausoleums. A bit heretical perhaps but in Hollywood there is little that seems inappropriate.

I am greeted by a creature that is very much alive and quite interested in the chips I’m chomping down on.

 

p1480004 Near the entrance here is a little section that seems straight out of Southeast Asia. Possibly Thailand. I reminisce and long to be back.

p1480005  The niches of some are still decorated for Christmas. Very much a Latino/Mexican culture tradition.

I walk into some mausoleums. It is peaceful but cold inside. They draw you to whisper rather than hear your voice bounce back to you in an loud echo.

It is in one of them, a smaller one, where Judy Garland rests.

I go outside and enjoy the day and the greenery and flowers which abound.

This cemetery, dare I say, amuses me. There are people with sense of humor recorded forever in the engravings they commission on their tombs.

A graphic artist has his tomb shaped as a rocket. I believed that it was his way to ensure a direct flight to heaven. But engraved is “The atlas, pioneer in space, symbolizes the lifetime activities of Carl Morgan Bigsby, a recognized leader in many phases of the graphic arts, he too was a pioneer.”  The atlas, an exact scale of the original missile The Pioneer Atlas.  His tomb reads Carl Morgan Bigsby 1898 – 1959… RETIRED BY GOD.  Sad that he would not be able to see the smiles generated from that line.

And of course, it’s Hollywood so a film camera portrayed in granite adorns the tomb of a foreign director. p1480016

And what is film without music? Johnny Ramone still plays on his grave next to the film director.

Hatie McDaniels has a surprisingly humble tombstone. She was the “mammy” figure in the film Gone with the Wind.  In 1940 she got an Academy Award for best supporting actress. She was the first African American to receive an Oscar. p1480020

The grave of Irene Guadagno “Mama Irene” caught my attention because she had my middle name -which I never liked so please forget I mentioned it- and because it was pretty cool to me the posture with raised arms with which she was immortalized. Since then I learned that was an Italian entrepreneur mother of Pasquale Rotella (who was married to Holly Madison of Playboy fame). p1480022

Anton Yelchin, an actor, who was killed at 27, in a freak accident when his car crushed him against a security fence is looking on to the cemetery lake. His grave is marked 3-11-89 – Forever. p1480025

And then there’s Toto, who is not buried here but has a granite statue of him in remembrance.

Mickey Rooney is here.

Entering another mausoleum before they close all at 5:00 pm. It almost feels like going into a European museum hall.

More smiles as I exit and encounter another tombstone of an English actor that only has the date of death and not of birth. So like an actor to never reveal his/her age.p1480039

Marzie Harris was a Loving Mother, Sister, Daughter… and occasional wife. I wonder if that engraving was her idea. p1480052

There’s a lake that has a small island with a huge mausoleum. It belongs to William Andrews Clark Jr. a philanthropist and a lawyer who founded the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

The lake is tranquil and full of life.

On the peripheral of the cemetery there is more life. There’s a group of cats, all white and black, that consider this their home as well as some peacocks that make any visiting car wait for long minutes until they cross the path.

On the way out an angel makes me sad. p1480059

I leave and roam the streets some more, searching for color. I don’t walk long before encountering it.

Can’t resist the urge to end the day with a sweet treat. A YumYum Donut with fresh icing on it. Life continues. p1480072

 

 

Categories: Hollywood Forever, Los Angeles, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

On my way to Forever

There are runners and there are walkers. I am a walker. Always thought that runners may be burning more calories but miss out on so much that observant walkers do not. So I walk. A lot.

I’m in Silver Lake and though the neighborhood lures you into just enjoying the camaraderie inherent in a barrio-like environment (not in the bad connotation the word barrio may have for some) p1470955 I put on my walking shoes and out I go. There is so much to see and enjoy along the way.  What seems a community garden populated by a giant spider that once must have been covered in flowers and a Love sign with ball and chain attached (quite appropriate I thought).

An old door sports my 2nd favorite color. 20181230_162153  I truly like these oldies, even the decrepit ones.  Then a church in white and blue bathed in light.

The opening act to an alley that seems to have come alive out of a postcard from the island of Mykonos. p1470959

After a quick glance at a mural, p1470953 a climb up graffiti lined stairs as I huff and puff up. Don’t know to where it leads. Don’t much care. A bit the way I’ve been leading my life lately.

The climb was worth it ’cause it offers a fine view of downtown Los Angeles.

And now for a mural fix. One advertising one of my favorite guilty fixes: donuts.

One from a culture I am connected to. 20181230_163938

Another on the wall of a Floyd’s Barbershop (a chain that has been popping up in all the hipster gentrified areas) painted by Jonas Never a baseball player turned muralist that has gained much notoriety. I liked the snippet of daily life being held in front of it as the one with the older woman in a bright color next to one of the few public telephones left.

At the back of a gas station a very detailed mural which I would think was done by a woman but have not found any information on.

Everywhere you look, be it on the ground or on the side, there is a mural waiting to amuse you, impress you or prompt you to reflect. Seems like in Los Angeles eyes are everywhere, Rolls Royce’s have wings, koi fishes don’t need water or food, alien characters like balloons, we love Annie, clowns are sad, and kitties are happy…

This one impressed me.  p1470972

This one with a quote of: “I am a reflection of my community” in the form of a butterfly, touched me.p1470969  Lest we not believe so, LA welcomes you.

I love buddhas. I am drawn in by the buddhist way of life. I left a huge part of my heart in the region of Southeast Asia where it is practiced so this wall of a meditation studio, Insight LA, attracts me. Its mission a laudable one and I here quote it:

“Here is our commitment: In this world, with its great beauty and many difficulties, we will train our hearts in peace and kindness and courageously take a stand against all forms of greed, hatred, delusion, and cruelty.  

We acknowledge the implicit and overt violence that has been done to individuals based on race, gender sexual orientation, immigration status, gender identity, religion, body size, ability, age and class. We recognize the violence that has been done to our planet and to the first nations peoples who have stewardess this land before us.

We pledge to undo the forces of ill-will and isolation in ourselves and in our world. We will offer to all who come practices of mindfulness, compassion and wisdom. And inwardly and in our actions, we pledge to hold all beings in a circle of mutual respect, love and unity. May our resolve and our practice together benefit all.”

You might think that my walk was only about murals but I’m actually headed somewhere but even though I did get there on this day, I will have to take you in the next blog.  Come along, won’t you?

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No Canals Today

I’m in Venice but it’s not Italy. It has canals but I won’t visit today.  It’s around 8:30 and I hurry to put my warm-ups on and head out to the beach before the Saturday crowds arrive. VeniceBeach  I like encountering people along the way that take it as a fact that only a local could be out and about early morn. A commonality, real or assumed, that brings out the most cordial in people. I get many good mornings along the way.

I love the vibe and the creativity this town emanates. Apparent even on the sidewalk. I stop so often, my walk may be sabotaged by it.

A brief look up to be puzzled by people forming a line for an Adidas sale at a local store: 9

Then there are the murals which are everywhere and unavoidable. 

On empty lots: 10

On a house’s fence:   11

I found it of note that the wall chosen by a homeless was one devote of any: 12

Another with a burst of color: 13

As I walk by, a memory comes of a meal at a restaurant I like, The Butcher’s Daughter, where I said goodbye to a friend heading north. 14

Venice makes me smile, even with its requests: 15

Back to the murals. This one always makes me stop and ponder a bit. She looks so sad and introspective. 16

And very apropos, the next thing that catches my eye is this one of  TrustyScribe of a subject that is so misunderstood and so few of those affected (the one with it and those around them) know how to handle. 17

More murals, this one with French. 18

Oh, and if your breakfast wasn’t dope… here’s a food truck (their proliferation competing with the murals) who is “making breakfast dope again”. 🙂 19

Some murals are pretty intricate. 20

Art is everywhere. Some exulting your civic duty along with your emotional one. 21

I love the beach cottage/bungalow construction but I really like Victorian houses as well and this one stands out. 22

I’m getting hungry… yes, I’d love some but am on this Keto diet (a very low carb thing) and still have pounds to go. A confession… I’ve been off it so mayyyybe…

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I pass the Ellison Suites  24 with its super cool murals. 24A It amuses me that they also had to write on it: “This is not a hotel.” probably from the myriad of inquiries they get. 25

I think this quote by Lana del Rey defines Los Angeles… “Singing in the old bars, swinging with the old stars, living for the fame…”

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And then there’s Jim.

Instructing us to “Try to set the night on fire” 29

Murals with depth and little stencil animals abound.

I am now on the beach. A VW bus bursting in color and nostalgia… and merchandising. 32

The people in this town as colorful as the murals.

 

I LOVE hugging and what this mural means.    35

Mural competing with the architecture. 36

This time, it’s mosaic tiles: 37

Can’t walk my bike (I don’t have one and never learned to ride!). 

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Did I mention it was Christmas?  

I think this mural confused even the birds. 40

This mannequin fits right in with the crowd. I think it had on too many. 41

I put my feet on the beach just in case you doubt that there any water and sand in my walk.  I take the obligatory shots. 

The sea is rough today attracting many surfers.

 

Who said you can’t stand on water?  

 

Californians can do it all because Cali is gold…  P1470796

I remind myself that I am still on a diet and manage to avoid two of my favorite things: funnel cakes and soft ice cream. 

It helps to remind myself that I am in Venice a town where most are a size 2 (though I’ll never be that again). And those that aren’t, are working at getting as buff and in shape as possible. The guy playing paddle had only one arm and was playing harder than the others. Gives me little excuse. Muscle Beach is deserted probably because it is a bit too early for them to show off. 

Not too early for a photo shoot.

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But I digress, so back to the murals where I am a voyeur as bunnies get some action. 🙂 P1470813

I have to detour because the alley I took was blocked off and I encounter so many more murals. Some advertising stores, food trucks, restaurants, some on private homes, some just as adornment. All pretty cool, coloring my path.

A bit of colorful history.: when Mr. Abbot Kinney built Venice of America, Main Street was a canal. Guess that technically means I can walk on water. 

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Nearing home I realize that I really am a Venice fan. 

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Knock, knock… where will I go next? 

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A Very Strange Unillustrated Morning

As I make my way on the side streets towards the freeway, I have to avoid going over a tabby cat that must have been killed last night. (Yes, it was definitely dead when I saw him). Not a good start to the day.

I could of taken it as an omen. It is Friday the 13th after all, but I choose to see life’s fragility and nurture a determination to live every moment well.

As I crank up my music, I ease myself into the “fast” lane of the freeway, which is bumper to bumper. A Prius catches my attention, a dark electric blue I had wanted mine to be. And I smile because the driver shakes with laughter, covering her mouth with her arm raised in a “v”. I am almost side-by-side to her now. Though she is in fact shaking she’s not laughing, but crying. She brushes the tears forcefully from her eyes. I almost hit the car in front of me. She is oblivious of anything around her . Her signal light goes on. She can’t possibly do this safely in her condition so I slow down significantly, giving her space. She is now in front of me. Her signal light still on. So I help her maneuver lanes by opening some space changing lanes along with her. She’s getting off. Without knowing why, I follow as she exits.

She parks, as do I behind her. I get out of my car and approach hers. I startle her. She lowers her window about an inch, an inquisitive look on her tear-streaked face. She’s a mix, as am I, I don’t much know of what. A thought that everyone should have their DNA test done to possibly eliminate discrimination pops into my head. Her hair, long and semi-straight is not combed. “Are you alright?” What a stupid question I pose. Of course she is not. Her already small eyes recede into her face, her mouth quivers and shapes itself into a grimace. She sobs. I wonder what I’m doing here. “I have a bottle of water in my car. Wait here.” I bring it back and hand it over as she brings the window down. Her naked left hand is placed on my wrist as she grabs the bottle with her right hand, which I notice has huge rings on every finger making her physically as unbalanced as she probably is emotionally. I don’t know what to say. She is looking ahead now, still crying. Stupidly I blurt: “Promise me you won’t drive until you are better”, knowing that it may take a long time and that, in fact, it may never be so. I hold the hand that had held my wrist. I pat it. I ask if she wants me to stay. She briefly and fastly shakes her head no. I go back to my car. I realize that she has not said a word.

I drive two blocks, take a turn and park on a side street. I take a deep breath. I think of how completely useless I have been. I haven’t comforted her, resolved any of her issues, angst, or even know what brought on her crying. I only know that she was in enough pain that she didn’t care that a total stranger saw her breakdown. And though clueless as to the whys of her wallowing in so much sorrow I believe she had a broken heart. Being young, she may not realize there are many more ahead. I drive on.

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I have decided to end my blogs with a song or two. Sometimes related to the blog, sometimes not. For this one, two songs come to mind from an Irish singer, songwriter, musician who displays much empathy and understanding of life. Jamie Lawson was the first act signed to Ed Sheeran’s recording label, Gigerbread Man Records. He became well known by a song that related a lifelong love story: “Wasn’t Expecting That“.

I wish I could have shared “A Little Mercy” and “Sometimes It’s Hard” with the girl:

A Little Mercy

“…There’s no shame in sharing how you’re feeling
There’s no gain in keeping your pain inside

If your sorrows have been left unspoken
Like broken bells, they no longer chime
If you’re coming undone
You won’t be the only one
We all need a little mercy sometimes

Hold on, you’re only a heartbeat away
From turning your world around
Hold on, nothing’s ever over
No matter how far you fall down
All that once was lost can be found…”

Sometimes It’s Hard

“Sometimes it’s hard to get through your working day
And find the words to say
Everything’s okay
When you feel differently inside
You feel you’re gonna break…

“Rest assured this will not last,
Rain that falls it has to pass,
And the sun, it will shine again…”

 

 

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A Day Late of the Day of Thanks

P1400031 (1)I am grateful for, as Violeta Parra’s song “Gracias a La Vida” says: Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto. Me dio dos luceros que cuando los abro perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco. (Thanks to life, which has given me so much. It gave me two beams of light, that when opened, can perfectly distinguish black from white). P1090656

20171123_113241   I am grateful for my legs with which I have walked, gotten lost, discovered and have found my way again.

I am grateful to have led a life that has been enriched by many cultures.

I am fortunate to have traveled to many corners of our globe and been able to immerse myself in other people’s worlds.P1170385

So fortunate to have never lost that child in me that marvels at everything she encounters.   20170608_083434

P1000255To have the ability to link words to relay what I feel and see, has given me such joy, for it creates an avenue in which others can share in my experiences. I wish that with them I’ve been able to weave a shawl in which my readers can cocoon themselves, if only for a brief time, from anything that may ail them.

I am grateful that with the passage of time I have learned to accept myself with all flaws and that though I don’t always like them -seldom in fact- I have learned that if you wish me to be better or different, you should not accompany me in this journey called life. That if you cannot accept my dark days you then don’t deserve to share my good ones. Guess that means that I have learned to love myself and am extremely fortunate, that when I did not, I have had friends that have loved me more than I was capable of at the time.

I so very much treasure that hug, that call, that post, the shared coffee/drink/meal which has saved me in more ways than one. LoveHence I am grateful for your presence in my life, no matter how brief. It has left a mark and taught me much. No real way to thank those who lent me their hand, their ear, their warmth on a more permanent way.

I am grateful to have accepted and dealt with the storms along the way and to have been able to enjoy the clarity that inevitably follows.  P1260629 (2)

I am grateful that I am having a hard time condensing the list of that which I am grateful for and that they far outweigh the bad.

I am grateful to be. I hope that I have, even in the slightest of ways, graced your list of what you are thankful for.20171123_112505

What are you grateful for?

 

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About last night…

I get home and play with Viola and Falstaff, my fur-babies niece and nephew, for a while. I stop, make sure their cat flap is on lockdown, put on the alarm and head out. Nothing out of the ordinary. Going to get a bite to eat and come back.

I have a bloody mary and fries at Zinqué which satisfies my nostalgia for France since I think the owner is French and it is spoken all around me, but it leaves me feeling guilty for the calories I inhaled. So I walk for a bit.

I am walking away from the house towards the beach, where I walk every day, with no intention of actually reaching the beach. Ah, but I look up and the allure of a sky that predicts a truly glorious sunset cannot be ignored. 20170801_195348

So I go, already feeling the sand between my toes.

There is some hesitation in my step for I won’t be able to share this one with anyone. 20170801_194918All hesitation vanishes when I direct my sight to this sky with its fading light, and color show. 20170801_195601   20170801_195135_001Tonight the sky is all mine. And the embrace I receive is from life itself reassuring me that all will be alright. 20170801_195408

My mind and body slow down and I take it all in. Though I’ll never be a beach bum, a beach girl I am. Fitting, for it is Yemanyá, the goddess of the sea and moon, who is my mother orishá.

A reminder to write along the way.  20170801_200152  20170801_200139

 

 

And another that my gender rocks.

 

And another…. 20170801_200237 (1)

 

And I reach home content.

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A Face in a Pasadena Hop

I have learned to live with myself and my aloneness. I even like it. Yet, on this Sunday brunch day –my ears on sound overload with the cacophony of adult laughter and little kids’ high pitched voices infused with an enthusiasm only they can muster in whine and wonder– the word “alone” acquires a connotation I dislike.

I sense a weird stillness next to me. I turn my head as much as I can, trying to not be too conspicuous. Her head is bent slightly. Her short, jet-black hair pulled back with a slickness no gel could possibly achieve. A headband placed there for pure adornment, for no strand moves. She looks sprung out of one of those Japanese anime. Her food is lined up in front of her: brioche toast floating in a lake of maple syrup, followed by a plate of scrambled eggs, and a little further a bowl of fresh fruit, and coffee, on the far edge of the table, too far for her to reach. She picks up her fork and starts playing with her scrambled eggs. Not a bit of it reaching her mouth. She shakes her head slightly and turns it towards me. Though fascinated, I turn mine away.

From the corner of my eye I see her shove the brioche plate away from her, placing it to facilitate its removal by the waitress. She brings the scrambled eggs plate closer to her, still playing with it. She takes a bite.

My food arrives and I salt it, spilling some of it on the table. I gather the spillage in a little mound, take a pinch of it and, in a move I hope nobody notices, I flick it over my left shoulder. The myth is that if you spill salt it’s bad luck and if you throw it over your left shoulder, where the devil supposedly waits, you will blind him and thwart his evil ways. I’m not superstitious but just in case… I feel a stare and meet her eyes. My behavior probably as strange to her as hers is to mine. She is blazingly staring at me but there is no life in her eyes. I doubt she actually even sees me.

She returns to her eggs and moves it to where she had left her now gone brioche plate. Seems like it all is perfectly choreographed. She brings the fruit bowl closer. Lowering her head she lets it meet her hands and cups it for a moment. I’m not sure if she’s praying or mourning. Picking up her fork she puts piece by piece into her mouth in an almost frenzied pace. And then she stops. Breathes. Lifts herself up a bit from her chair, reaches for her probably now cold coffee and holding it in two hands she takes little sips until there is no more.

At this point I make no attempt to make believe I’m not staring. She doesn’t seem to mind, care or acknowledge me.

Our checks arrive at the same time. I asked for mine. Hers just seemed to magically appear. Our change came in unison as well and I become part of this dance she has choreographed. Fitting that the only two lone diners were placed side by side.

As I am mentally thanking her for entertaining me through my breakfast she looks up as we exit and gives me one of the most disconsolate smiles that I have ever seen. It seems that her alone is not as welcomed or accepted as mine. It saddens me.

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Journeying and journaling on…

As those who have read me before know, I write because I love to share or, perhaps, I share simply because I love to write. However, I have been going through a bout of writer’s block. An article that I have promised my editor of www.better-lemons.com and the people I interviewed for it, remains unfinished. I grew tired of my computer screen mocking me with its blankness and decided, camera in hand, to take a walk. I am hoping this will guide me back to my keyboard and to getting things written.P1380796

Today I don’t feel like driving (unusual for me), so Baby Bright, aka: my Prius will remain parked in front of the house. Besides, I do not want to deal with having to find a parking spot.P1380685 Not that I ever do, but neither do I want to take a bus P1380681 and since I am lucky enough to temporarily reside in Venice, where the best way to really get around is on foot, I head out.

I would have missed a lot of fun images this neighborhood has to offer if I were not walking, like these circus-worthy bikes parked in front of a nondescript house.P1380683

Right from the start a smile finds its way to my face as I read a few license plates.

The first one also gives me a pang of nostalgia, reminding me of my Baby Blue, my previous Prius and a bond with it that I will never have with another. But back to Venice… This is a town of unabashed self-promotion, self-confidence and righteousness. Where most are a size 2 (or 4, at the most) which I will never be again which takes me, as I walk, on to the edge of that badland of doubtful self-esteem.

It is also a giving town,  P1380686 (So polite as well, the small sign says “Hello and Good Day! Please…) inclusive of all, P1380687 artful P1380693(There are hardly any blank walls, most have murals on it, some advertising something, others just leading you to a zen place and others expressing social justice.),

P1380788  P1380791  20170104_150015

with a real sense of humor P1380698and one that cares for its fauna. P1380697  P1380725 P1380726

P1380774 I have entered the Venice Canals,  P1380715 an area of Venice that I love. P1380732I am very much aware that due to my lack of sense of orientation, it is also an area that I may get lost in. I won’t mind though, for there’s a tranquility here that takes me to my quiet place. Quite an accomplishment since I tend to be a chatterbox.

Right off the bat there’s a “Yes indeed!” in my head as I read a sign.  P1380696

More than focusing on the canals themselves,

where swans become boats on steroids, P1380700 P1380735or just a canvas for reflections of palm tress,

I delight myself on the pop of color provided by the fact that it’s spring and flowers are blooming P1380705 P1380722 P1380716 P1380729 P1380721

Even the boats are trying to match them. P1380704

This little plant would be a perfect little Christmas tree P1380741 that would go really well with this deck that seems to have a bit of seasonal identity problem. P1380723

I love that on the canals an open space becomes a place to advertise creatively your art. This one certainly managed to catch my attention and I did go to this artists’ sites once home. P1380733 An abandoned post on the same lot also an opportunity to display art. P1380734

I enjoy the quirkiness of some canal facing decks. P1380702

Here, minimalist modern architecture and make-believe old new construction still live side by side with the old bungalows though there are fewer and fewer around since it’s an area where houses for sale start at 1.5 million and where one sold last year for 5.5 million.

All display some sort of art and my eyes stop at each façade searching for it.

This bridge reminds me that I live in a city where sets are common for this one IS a facade that in true LA mode sports an inspirational/positive quote of “No regrets. No bad days.”

Two hours later I manage to leave heading towards the busier part of Venice. First a walk on the pier. I really enjoy piers.

A brief look at the sea. P1380770 How does the saying go? A couple that surfs together stays together?  P1380758 Maybe not.P1380767

And then off to find a place to eat as I get more inspiration from store windows.P1380745 Reminders that, yes, I’m still in LA.  P1380772

Reflections that further remind me that I am in Venice.

And then… Thailand. P1380779 P1380781

I find a place that has an outdoor patio, a cheap lunch and that makes me want to be back in Asia even after this most enjoyable morning.

P1380777 P1380782 P1380784

On my way back home my eyes don’t rest and fill my brain with images I can’t disregard. I love blue.

I again smile for in this town the garbage cans/bins are not only multi-lingual but a perfect place for art. P1380744 P1380789

Where a convenience stores looks like it’s still in construction from afar until you get closer and see that’s the way it was painted. P1380798 And where a lone street sunflower reminds me that one should always look up and you will shine.

At the door… thanks for coming along.

P1380793

 

 

Categories: California, Venice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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