Laying Down on the Job

Laying Down on the Job
The Santa Monica Easy

Friday, March 11, 2011

Birthday in Santa Monica

My birthday snuck up on me again.  It always does.  One minute it's all "Happy New Year!  Who brought the champaign" and the next it's early morning Facebook chirps from my iPhone, delivering birthday greetings  to my FB wall. I have to say thank you to Facebook -- I had friends from all over the U.S. leaving delightful and appreciated birthday greetings.  And not one of them ask my age.  Good people.

I worked half a day opening trouble tickets for DSL behaving badly, answering questions about billing, and incorrectly answering questions about email behaving badly.  I love email but I still can't quite get a grip on all the variations and configuration algorithms (see previous post). I've been doing this for nearly 11 years.  It's pathetic -- inexcusable really -- that I still tell customers email is based wizardry and fairy dust.  Thank the internet Krakens for web email -- I don't have to deal with that.

Around noonish, I tidied up my little office, donned my Asics, wobbled off with my baseball cap and camera to take pics of what ever I saw.  My self-imposed mission: create a picture essay of my birthday. 

No many how many times I walk to the beach, I never tire of photographing the sparkling water, the track-stained sand and rippling waves and everything along the way.
What the?
Just beyond the barrier along Pacific Palisades park, I noticed more of he cliff had collapsed or eroded and now revealed what appears to be stone stairs.  In the early Twentieth Century, there was a long, steep wooden stairway leading from the cliff top to the beach.  However, that stairway was further north (where a high rise luxury condo building now stands guard) near Adelaide Drive and they're long gone, victim, as I recall, to a harsh storm.  These may not be steps -- they may be reinforcement from some earlier decade.  This is much further south, closer to Broadway Street.
The pathway between the white wooden fence (above) and the cliff drop-off, used to be part of the original walkway along Pacific Palisades. 
Ocean Blvd. circa 1950s (?)

I've seen a number of postcards circa early 1900's depicting Pacific Palisades near Broadway and it's astonishing how much of the cliff has fallen away. Some members of City Hall blame the erosion squarely on squirrels (I kid you not), but I'm not convinced.  I think it's just cliffside giving up its battle with gravity.

Lazy Wednesday day on Santa Monica's beach
On Sunday's this part of the beach, just north of the Santa Monica Pier, is where Veteran's for Peace create a vivid reminder of the cost of war, with Arlington West.
End of the Road
This is at the end of the Santa Monica Pier, a display of Route 66 maps and trinkets. 

Santa Monica Feathered Sentinal
Penguin or Photographer's Shadow?
Making Friends.
On Second Street with a Downtown Ambassador
 On the way home, I saw a member of Santa Monica's "Downtown Ambassador" team wheeling along alone on a Segway on Second Street.  I asked if I could take a photo of him but was told he was not allowed to have his photo taken unless he was posing with someone.  Just then an obliging young man exited the adjacent building and cheerfully allowed himself to be photographed with the Ambassador.  Unfortunately, I did not ask either man for his name!  What's the matter with me?  Anyway, they're a fine example of the pleasant and helpful people in Santa Monica.  Despite the traffic, we know we live in paradise.
Groovy Wheels
I love this bike.  It was locked to a parking meeter in front of Real Food Daily on Santa Monica Blvd., a casual restaurant with a vegetarian menu.  Hallalujah!
End of a Beautiful Day
The final delight was to meet Steve and Taylor for dinner and a long awaited get together at Bistro of Santa Monica -- which accommodates the vegan in me and my friend's taste for wild salmon.  The other attractive thing about Bistro of Santa Monica, is that they don't pump loud music at the dinners.  I love me some rock and roll but not when I'm trying to hear my friends talk.  Instead they have a pianist who tinkled quiet arrangements of pop music with an easy listening twist.  Sean was our delightful and handsome young waiter who tended to our every need flawlessly although we constantly teased him.  At one point we all were laughing so loud the gentle and pleasant owner ambled back to our table.  He was smiling but I had the sneaking suspicion he was about to make us eat at separate tables.  We must have quieted down enough so he didn't make us move. I had Insalata Contadina (tomatoes, roasted bell pepper, baby onion, grilled eggplant, celery heart and fresh basil) that was huge and perfectly delicious.  For dessert I had a luscious Raspberry sorbet, Taylor had the warm bread pudding and Steve had an sinful chocolate item. I don't know about them but my food was great.

It was a beautiful day. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Be Careful What Your Children Know That You Don't

Here's this year's birthday card from my beloved and generous daughter.  

Seems like a nice offer....
Until the card is opened...
Surprising sinister turn...

I laughed and laughed and laughed as I began to imagine several embarrassing scenarios where I could do nothing but fumble with my cell phone, make feeble excuses and pathetically try to turn off the several electronic choruses of "Happy Birthday".  

I wasn't prepared for the "tee hee hee!" It makes me laugh every time I read it but I can't help but wonder what else she's been up to.  

It's a beautiful thing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cooking Always Gets Me Into Trouble.

I hate to cook.  It always gets me into trouble but I accidently made an ain't-no-diet-today delicious pot of vegan spaghetti sauce.  I don't know how it happened since I made it from scratch with no recipe.  Of course, I am one-quarter Italian. Maybe that explains it.  

I rarely cook but yesterday was an exception since I was out of boxes that say, "just add water" so I was forced to actually make a meal. If I could settle for a life time of oatmeal and Pop Tarts, I wouldn't have to cook.  Cooking involves dangerously long and sharp knives, garlic aromas that linger longer on the finger tips than skunk stink on a cat, onion tears and fresh luminous vegetables -- the kind of fresh vegetables I impulse-buy at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market on Arizona and Second Street.  In the midst of all those lovely vegetables, I'm dazzled by their vegan beauty and I forget that I always manage to slice off a tip of fingernail along with the mushrooms or slice myself while vivisecting the bell peppers.  All I can remember is how delicious the vegetables are and I kind of disregard my distaste for the process it takes to make a pot or pan of anything. My relationship with cooking is something of a metaphor to the wisdom of a one-night stand. But I digress.

Ohhhhhhhh the temptation!
Today the sauce was in its better-the-second-day stage and simmers on the stove.  At some point, it turned into a kind of magic elixir that requires repeated "does it need anything?" taste tests. I seem to have no ability to stop myself from visiting the pot for just one more 4 ounce ladle of sauce (no pasta)  -- just in case it suddenly got better or worse or needs some additional herb.  Since I live alone, there's no one to shame me into some form of self-discipline or to block my way to the kitchen.  Therefore, the only way to stop me is to put locks on the kitchen doors that slam shut between 8pm and 9am. Of course, locked doors would block the only indoor path to the bathroom.  An unavoidable midnight piddle would require a furtive, nightgown-clad trip out the front door, along the length of the bungalow to the brightly lit back door. Odds are, I'd lock myself out. I don't even want to think about the humiliation of being reported by the resident homeless guy in the alley for disturbing the peace, then being booked and printed for attempted breaking and entry while still in my nightgown.  Cooking always gets me into trouble.  

Santa Monica Farmer's Market's Tempting Items

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Birds Are Back!

I have a special fondness for Birds of Paradise and I seem compelled to photograph them where ever and when ever I can.  Santa Monica is a great place for Birds of Paradise.  They're everywhere and I never tire of them.

Taken with my iPhone.

Santa Monica all a GLOW

I am extremely delinquent, nearly 5 months, in posting this but here goes GLOW anyway. 

Santa Monica hosted a half-day art event on Saturday, September 25, 2010 from 7pm to 3am or dawn, which ever showed up first.  This is the second bi-annual Santa Monica GLOW art event and is located along Pacific Avenue (pier adjacent), the Santa Monica Pier and along beach path areas to the north and south of the pier. I had missed the first GLOW but was determined to be part of the 2010 variation.  

Due to my inability to comprehend and explain "GLOW", beyond, "I'm not sure what it is but it'll be cool, `cause, trust me, everything in Santa Monica is cool except the impenetrable traffic" surprisingly, all of my friends had to either a) wash their cat/budgie/neighbor's gerbil, b) go visit their great grand-daddy's Civil War era untended grave site or c) paint the carport and would not be available to penetrate the traffic, battle for a parking spot or walk around at night to view something that sounds like a candy bar.  I invited friends to see "GLOW" with me, sweetening the invite with an offer of my free parking via my guest parking permit and got no takers. Nevertheless, I walked the nine-tenths of a mile to the installation solo -- observing and chortling at the horrific traffic jam of cars along Broadway, Lincoln, and every cross street all the way to the beach. 

SUV running the red light at the corner of 4th and Broadway.
Maybe it's just me but this event should be seen with a companion (preferably a friend, family member with whom you're on speaking terms or a crowd-friendly pet).  
Soft and fuzzy companion -- apparently I couldn't be bothered to photograph the leash-holding human. 
I happen to think Santa Monica always glows -- at night -- particularly between 4th St. and the Santa Monica Pier. 

View from the bluffs along Pacific Ave., overlooking the pier all dressed up by the GLOW event
here was a nearly full moon that night which served to heighten the FX glow. 

The "1" globe tries to compete with the moon.
Moon in the upper left.
Holiday Inn sign reads "TASTE"

Then is changes to "HEAT"

Sitting, dancing and/or drinking in the street.

Strangers with iPhones

I realized I was standing next to 6 or 7 other visitors also iPhone-photo-ing the same installation I was, at the intersection of Colorado and Pacific Ave. (entrance to the Santa Monica Pier).  I thought it'd be ironic and or funny if we all took iPhotos of each other with our iPhones and made the spontaneous request.  I thought I caught sight of a quizzical look on each of their faces as the entire iPhone group vaporized in my iPhone iPhoto view finder.  

I know.  My inner child often scares young adults when she comes out to play. 

More of the changing, glowing views projected on the Holiday Inn:
Green Giant says, "Think"
Multiple blue Marilyn Monroes
Full moon over the Santa Monica Pier
Yalla Truck offers healthy vegetarian food
 Unfortunately, doesn't work any more, but you can follow their daily schedule on Twitter and Facebook.
Tunnel under the Pier
The Georgian Hotel 
 Thought to be haunted, The elegant Georgian Hotel  alit in blue on Pacific Ave.

I just like this sign (hanging in the information kiosk)
Just enjoy - I have no idea what it is (other than art).
Pretty Blue glowy octopus-like light art.
Teenagers with Glow headgear.
The walk home along Broadway
Glow was just glowing.  I loved walking around the Santa Monica Pier, the beach, Pacific Palisades, and Broadway at night -- and I didn't have to worry about parking!

Sunday in Santa Monica

I love Sundays -- especially when I'm in Santa Monica.  It's quiet, little traffic noise, I walk to the local grocery store to get my copy of the Los Angeles Times, and often walk around the neighborhood for a few pictures.  There's always something to photograph in Santa Monica. 

Happy Poppies

Under the Vons sign at Lincoln Blvd. and Broadway, the poppies bloom.  One poppy has a green wriggly guest lounging in the warm sunshine.
Shimmering Calla Lily
Along Broadway, east of Lincoln Blvd. there are quietly stunning flowers and greenery.

Sunday afternoon in the park.
 Pacific Palisades park overlooks the beach. 
Spring starts early in Santa Monica


Catalina from Santa Monica beach. 
Catalina Island, where so many movies have been filmed (especially in the early decades of cinema), is usually only visible from Santa Monica in December when there's no marine layer to shroud it from view.  It was a delight to see the island (just a background shadow behind the roller coaster) especially on the same day as the Academy Awards ceremony this year.  Seemed appropriate.