California

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

 

 

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

The Trip That Almost Wasn’t Starts Wiith a Soak

Flowers, Desert Hot Springs, Two Bunch PalmsSome trips are a sure thing and even as they are they may not be.  Isn’t that the way life is?  The journey is never a straight line from point A to point B.  Sometimes there are so many sidetracks that you almost feel your destination wasn’t meant to be.   That is the way this trip was.

Baby Blue (aka: my Prius) is all ready to go.  I and he are at our best and happiest heading out into the horizon.   Our little family unit of  Baby Blue, Daisy (the sexy GPS), and I head to the airport where we will pick up the fourth component of the family.  Tutu stayed home due to a lack of planning on my part and having forgotten to put him in the car.

Hot Mineral Springs, Desert Hot Springs, Two Bunch Palms

We are headed to a soak in the most  mentally and physically healing waters close to Los Angeles.   Desert Hot Springs is a 2 hour drive from Los Angeles Airport (LAX), where I pick up Dean, and a world away.  Our destination is Two Bunch Palms Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springsand its hot mineral springs.   I did a program on this resort almost 13 years ago and I am curious as to how it holds up to the amazingly Zen feeling it provided me even in the midst of production and scheduling woes.

Two Bunch Palms

Villa #17 Entrance

I have checked in the night before, not willing to hassle through check-in early in the morning.   A full report/review can be found on my blog: Life Lived and Reviewed.

Our backyard:   Villa#17Backyard

The resort is at capacity.  Not exactly what I wanted or expected but it will do.  It still gives me a good feeling to see a baby elephant (albeit in statue form) in the tranquil grounds.  Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot SpringsTwo Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs And frankly a late night immersion and float in the hot mineral springs grotto releases all my tense muscles and hesitations.  This was for sure a good way to start our venture to Europe.

Breakfast Eggs Florentine, Two Bunch Palms, Breakfast(in our robes) with a beautiful view of the mountains Two Bunch Palms, Desert Hot Springs makes us feel a bit  more gelatinous than the solid mass of bones and muscles we actually are.   We top it off with another long soak before we head back to Los Angeles and to packing for our London, Paris, Berlin and wherever-else-our-heart-points-us-to jaunt.

Categories: California, Desert Hot Springs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On The Road Again…

We head out today.  Once again on the road.  Am excited.  I almost feel like I’m relocating.  The car is packed and I compartmentalized everything knowing full well that along the way the interior will turn into a chaotic mess where I will not be able to find the most essential necessities.  But I’m okay with that.

It’s early in the morning and we have about 8 hours, 545 miles to reach Redding where we are staying on our way to Seattle.   Never been past San Francisco so I am all revved up to go and explore.  As usual, I only know what Daisy, my GPS, chooses to share with me.  Though I have sort of mapped out through http://www.roadtrippers.com our route, I basically am ignorant of what terrain we are crossing -something that later on in the trip I will learn to regret.

So far, the 5 North has proven itself to be exactly what I thought it would be.  Lots of traffic and with stretches which are absolutely, hypnotically boring. But I like driving and it doesn’t phase me.  There is good music on the stereo and I can go on forever. When I was in OZ and NZ my guy did all the driving.  I was not to keen (an Aussie expression) on driving on the wrong side of the road or, as in New Zealand, having the stick shift on the left.  Too much to concentrate on!  So while he was in the West Coast I was intent on doing all the driving.  Good intentions.  Not so good on the execution of it.

About 4 hours in more or less, we pass Gustine, CA.  Actually, we don’t pass it since I see a big sign that says Andersen’s Pea Soup Company 20121227_120207 and Baby Blue (aka: my Prius) perks up and suggests that my Aussie passenger should experience a bit of Americana. Now in its 75th year of existence it is more an experience than excellent dining. Baby Blue goes in.  I have pea soup and chicken salad.  Pea SoupAussie has steak and eggs. Both on the mediocre side but heck, we are experiencing part of American history!

And the trip continues with not much more excitement.   We use airbnb often when we travel.  Staying in a local person’s home who guide you as to where to go and what to do is so much more welcoming and holds more warmth than staying at a hotel and usually paying more.  It also comes with some perks.  Our hosts in Redding, where we arrive 4 hours after our coma-inducing ingestion of food, have a Miniature Australian Shepherd puppy (Is there an Aussie theme here?) of about 3 months that is so fun to play with!  She is the size of a chihuahua for now and will grow to only about 10 pounds.   Jamma (which I am sure is spelled wrong) was such a happy little girl that she would not stay still for a photo.

Morning wakes us up to a dreary rainy, cold day (34º F).  But off we go!  On our way to Portland, where we have decided to head straight for.   The drizzle is constant but I am unconcerned.  But less than an hour in we are heading up and it’s starting to get colder and now the raindrops have turned into snowflakes and they are swirling on my windshield. We are about 3,000 ft up the mountain. I’m not liking that this is combined with mountains and curves.  Oh my!  Then the windshield wipers aren’t wiping as well and I’m noticing Baby Blue’s windshield is icing up.  My legs start trembling.  Remembering my friend Dani Kehm who has a blog about panic attacks. (I’ve linked her name to her blog.) Haven’t had one in eons but my heart is beating way too fast… Dean asks me if I’ve driven in snow before.  The answer is no.  Do you want me to drive? Yes. Yes. Yes. Please! I am surprised as to how scared I am. Feeling like a wus but that doesn’t stop my legs from shaking.  So I pulled into Dunsmuir.  A lovely town.  If I weren’t so nervous I’d notice how the area is so incredibly beautiful under snow.  The exit ramp is icy and snowed in.

It looks so peaceful... though still shaking I take out my camera and take this photo.

It looks so peaceful… though still shaking I take out my camera and take this photo.

Dean is guiding me as to what to do.  We pull at a gas station and I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful for not being alone.  We still have 5 hours to Portland.   He drives for a few hours while it’s still snowing and icy and yucky.  Eventually we go down the mountain and it stops snowing.

The HouseWe arrive in Portland mercifully after rush hour.  It’s about 8:30.  The city surprises me as to how huge it is.  It’s a maze of intersecting freeways.  I’m at the wheel now, tired, cranky, and missing most of my turns and exits (which is not that unusual with me).   We once again have booked through airbnb.  This time I had communication with the host on the road.  We arrive at a charming craftsman-style house.  It’s chilly and it’s still drizzling but as soon as we come in we are greeted by the most welcoming human host and two of the sweetest and cutest cats ever.

These photos were taken in the morning.

PiperPiper, a gray beauty that I knicknamed “burpee” ’cause she loves to be held and patted like when you burp a newborn.

Ready for a petting session.

Ready for a petting session.

P1140223   Her tags match the season. :)

Her tags match the season. 🙂

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Phineas, her brother, a shiny black cat that wears a bow tie with grace and pride.  The house is warm, our room is perfect and I am extremely content to be here.

He's totally owning that couch!

He’s totally owning that couch!

A side “bow tie” view.P1140219

A front bowtie view.

A front bow tie view.

Our bed is super comfy and it doesn’t take long to be in the arms of Morpheus.  I dream of flat terrain and no snow and a day when I can transport myself with no other means of transportation than my mind.

Categories: Alberta Arts District, California, Dunsmuir, Gustine, Oregon, Portland, Redding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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