Month: March 2008

…and so salty and…

…and so salty and sweet and fragrant, like a totally satisfying lunch. (Flowers on the bluff and that’s the bike path and the beach out there.)

It happened! I…

March 7

It happened! I bought an air ticket. Looking for pictures on the internet to ‘use’ of Fez, a UNESCO World Heritage city in Morocco…I think there are pictures to be had there!

Here is what I’m thinking now: Dusseldorf (help pack up the kids and check out a lived-in German city); Barcelona (Betsy used to live there and really reeally wants to go back before they leave Europe); then I go on by myself to Granada-Gibraltar-Fez-Seville-the Algarve-Lisbon.

In this itinerary I’ve only ever been to Barcelona so I’m dang excited!

We decided to have…

March 30

We decided to have a little break and take advantage of the temporary appearance of the sun, to enjoy a quick picnic lunch out in the park.

I’d been hoping to visit this Clock Forest ever since driving by on the first day.

, with our In-Utero…

March 6

Look! It’s Angela, my daughter-in-law, the mother of my grandbaies, with our In-Utero on his/her way(!) and Kaitlin(!). Lucky lucky ME!!

We’re at The Grove…

We’re at The Grove to hear a concert of children’s music. Maybe you’ll recognize the playgroup gang, from the top, Katie and Nora, Angela and Kaitlin, Emily and Zoe. Such good sweet friends!

Check out the singer’s toes-ies.

Another of the many…

Another of the many entertaining features of the park are these three dragons. It’s a huge park and one of the aspects of their stay here that the Kings will miss most.

Then I met Bonnie…

Then I met Bonnie for lunch at the classic original before there were any others, Farmers Market. It is So Cool, Bonnie rides her bike to meet for lunch.

What a nice day!

Kaitlin doing her Very…

March 4

Kaitlin doing her Very Own Drawing of a Happy Face! Happy Face Kaitlin!!

That aqua-doodle bit is dang cool. Remember how in the summer you could take the kids outside with sponges so you could draw on the cement and then it would dry and you could draw again? This thing is just like that only you don’t have to sit on sizzling cement, you don’t have to wait until summer, and you don’t have to use a sponge!

Today is my last…

March 31

Today is my last day in Düsseldorf – tomorrow we’re all off to spend a week in Barcelona after which the Kings come back to complete their move and I travel on myself to Granada and destinations south.

Here we are doing a last grocery shopping at another of the local markets looking out onto another of the innumerable urban parks.

There’s a seating area…

There’s a seating area just like this one on the other side of the pool.

Nancy Donald wrote to…

Nancy Donald wrote to say she thought Düsseldorf seemed like a rather benign place. I think so too, despite this bit of graffiti…benign and modest.

There’s a street they call ‘our Rodeo Drive’ with all the big name shops and there are plenty of elegant homes but still the overriding feeling is one of a small, modest, hard working and prosperous town.

‘Hey Granny, look, I…

‘Hey Granny, look, I put them on myself!’ Then we sang These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ about 138 times.

I took a couple…

I took a couple hours by myself for a sightseeing jaunt to what they call the Media Harbour, a refurbishment of the Rhine port area including these buildings…

…looking at these pictures…

…looking at these pictures from the Blacks in Texas.

me: ‘Who’s that?’
Kaitlin: ‘Cousin Cali-May and Baby Jack!’

tb

We were nuts for…

We were nuts for these flowers. Notice how the big perfectly formed bloom sits all perky on top of its skinny little stem.

Mostly I was driven…

Mostly I was driven to take this outing since I wanted to have a nice local home-made beer before leaving Germany.

Lucas and Betsy had mentioned how the smoke is so thick in restaurants and pubs you can hardly breathe, making it simply not enjoyable to eat out.

So in searching for a venue in which to drink my beer I looked for a family-type place, went when it was early enough for the windows to be open and before the crowds, and still it was true, I could hardly breathe. Bummer! The beer was deeelishous though – tapped from a keg, cold, dark amber, with a nice creamy head. Yum!

Sandy and I had…

March 2

Sandy and I had a nice walk around the neighborhood. Walk-Walk-Walk. Hurray! Sandy is doing SO much better. Hurray!

This is a building with reflective sides and some stairs and a railing. Really, we are not imprisoned.

The original plan. …

March 25

The original plan. Let’s see how close we get, shall we?!

Düsseldorf and Barcelona with the Kings; them I’m off on my own to Granada; Algeciras/Gibraltar; Fez; Tangiers; Seville; Tavira; Evore; Lisbon/Sintra.

Next posting…from Düsseldorf…where it is Snowing at the moment. I’m stopping off on the way to the airport to buy some warm Socks.

We’re off this morning…

March 21, 2008 with Cynthia

We’re off this morning to enjoy the dramatic sights of Joshua Tree National Park. But first we goofed around, ate breakfast, stopped off at some stores, drove, drove, ate lunch, drove, drove, and then checked in, and stopped off at the Visitor’s Center for maps.

We ate dinner at a Mexican place down by the Marine base where ‘Marine Haircut’ joints dominate the strip malls. I grabbed just a few shots towards evening for something to do tonight. It’s blooming season in the desert!

Sunset out the back…

Sunset out the back door of our motel. Most unfortunately, there were no Joshua Trees in view. Fortunately there were palm trees…and photoshop…and ‘color burn’.

Here’s the National Park…

March 22

Here’s the National Park Service (www.NPS.gov) summary:

“Viewed from the road, this desert park only hints at its vitality. Closer examination reveals a fascinating variety of plants and animals that make their home in this land shaped by strong winds, unpredictable torrents of rain, and climatic extremes.

“Dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features add to the attraction of this place. Come see for yourself!”

Joshua Tree is a…

Joshua Tree is a renowned destination for rock climbers and you’ll see more of them coming up. This climber is in the middle in the upper third of the photo.

Don’t miss the woman’s backpack. Awww.

Joshua Tree Hydra….

Joshua Tree Hydra.

Here’s an Internet comment speaking of the different eco-systems in Joshua Tree: “The higher, slightly cooler, and wetter Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the undisciplined Joshua tree, extensive stands of which occur throughout the western half of the park.

“According to legend, Mormon pioneers considered the limbs of the Joshua trees to resemble the upstretched arms of Joshua leading them to the promised land. Others were not as visionary. Early explorer John Fremont described them as “…the most repulsive tree in the vegetable Kingdom.””

At this level in…

At this level in the desert the wild flowers are soo small and nestle themselves against some protection. The Rangers told us to take the long drive down to Cottonwood Springs to see more, and we’ll be doing that tomorrow.

That’s Cynthia enjoying a…

That’s Cynthia enjoying a quiet time on the rock in the center of this photo.

All the campsites in the park were totally full and all the motel and hotel signs said ‘no vacancy’, and it’s the weekend with perfect weather for daytripping, and yet except for having to wait to park, we didn’t feel crowded at all, and it was Quiet.

If you want to…

If you want to climb these rocks all you have to do is show up with your ropes and you’re on. I really was surprised that they don’t take reservations and you don’t need any kind of qualification.

These guys will help you. I’ll watch.

From the Black Rock…

From the Black Rock Visitor’s Center, here was one long steep walk! You can’t even see the car it’s such a speck down there by the road. We think we must have taken a wrong turn!

Here’s the courtyard of…

March 23

Here’s the courtyard of our motel, The Circle C, with its lovely pool we never used and its lovely jacuzzi we never used and at the far end is the breakfast room we used every morning.

The rooms are gigantic with super high ceilings, plenty of windows, a big couch, two big puffy chairs, a kitchen and kitchen table and chairs, so despite that all these items were a bit ramshackle, we were entirely comfortable.

We’re headed down now…

We’re headed down now on the winding 30 mile drive to Cottonwood Springs. Here’s a great pull-out to enjoy the Cholla Cactus Garden.

You can see some people on the far right edge to get an idea of how big these babies are.

I wonder if those…

I wonder if those nubs will be/have been flowers?!

Joshua Tree National Park varies in elevation from around 6000 feet down to around 1200. Here’s some paragraphs I basically copied from the Magic of the Internet:

“Two deserts, two large ecosystems primarily determined by elevation, come together in the park. Few areas more vividly illustrate the contrast between “high” and “low” desert. Below 3000 feet (910 m), the Colorado Desert, occupying the eastern half of the park, is dominated by the abundant creosote bush. Adding interest to this arid land are small stands of spidery ocotillo and cholla cactus.”

More from the Internet:…

More from the Internet:

“Standing like islands in a desolate sea, oases, a third ecosystem, provide dramatic contrast to their arid surroundings. Six fan palm oases dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally at or near the surface…”

We walked just about one city block into the trail at Cottonwood Springs and found…

On the way down…

March 20

On the way down to the OC, to stay the night with Cynthia before our birthday outing to Joshua Tree, I got to spend a few hours with Susie!

We ate lunch at a lovely Hermosa Beach beach front cafe and then walked along the boardwalk, chatting away. What FUN.

Yes, this picture is an honest reflect-o shot. And I didn’t put those two sides together, Yes, it was just like this. I had to have it.

Following are details of…

Following are details of the studio space/storage unit for rent in Venice.

Your needs may match this opportunity!!
Use – Variable: studio, storage, etc.
Location – Ideal: Near Abbot Kinney and California Ave. in Venice
Cost – a bargin!: $100 – $400 depending on how much space you want as it is possible to partitian or expand (a little!).
LET’S TALK!

Please take special note: this is NOT a residence and CANNOT be occupied as a living space.

I arrived in Düsseldorf…

March 27

I arrived in Düsseldorf yesterday late afternoon and spent the rest of the day in a vegetative state.

Bright and early this morning we are making plans, organizing, distributing tasks, to get this moving show on the road. The kids were anxious to help and did participate to the extent of their ability and interest but soon enough, well…

Finally the TIBET news…

March 19

Finally the TIBET news is hitting the news wires and not just the travel sites that have been obsessed for the last week. This ‘occupation’ has gone on for 49 years…

Click here if you want to look at my May 2005 pictures from Tibet. You can see the streets of Lhasa as this shows (I snuck this shot from out a bus window) and get a feeling for the Chinese occupation and the religious fervor that engulfs the city.

…let’s set-up a nice…

…let’s set-up a nice long movie!

Then we had lunch, Anya took a nap and Xander helped for a solid two hours while we packed up the books. Good job X!

The plan was to take a break for walking and to see the park that surrounds their home. But no. It was raining, and since we have several days ahead I decided to wait and hope for dry skies. No point at all in wishing for blue skies though.

Be glad if it isn’t raining and be extra glad if it isn’t snowing. That’s the remnants of a snowman from two days ago out there in the yard!

I’m going to be…

March 18

I’m going to be gone for Darryl’s birthday again. What’s with That?! I guess April is just too good for traveling. You’ve got your Spring weather (or Fall on the other side of the world), and kids are mostly still in school if you can avoid the dreaded Spring Break hot spots.

Darryl’s camera was on the fritz. Can’t have that! Kaitlin just loooves to see pictures of Kaitlin. ‘Let’s look at pictures of Kaitlin’ she says when catching sight of my computer.

Sharon and I were…

March 17

Sharon and I were out for a walk and Brigitte was working at the Fairmont so we stopped by to say ‘hi’ and got treated to a yummy breakfast buffet Feast. How fun and unexpected!

Wow, Fancy Hotel Breakfast food, and a nice visit too.

Hi Kaitlin! Anya…

March 28

Hi Kaitlin! Anya and Xander are going to be home in LA before I get back and you’ll get to play together soon. That’ll be f.u.n!

(I was changing Anya’s shirt and I sang her one of the songs I sing with Kaitlin when I change her shirt and now whenever I do something for her (like give her a bath or brush her teeth) she wants me to sing the song I sing with Kaitlin. Isn’t that Irresistibly CUTE.)

Holy-ca-moly, what a DAY….

Holy-ca-moly, what a DAY. What you see out there is of course Palos Verdes Estates and Catalina(!)further on behind the oil tankers and the coast so clear, maybe like I’ve never seen it before.

We had a pretty…

We had a pretty long list of outside chores to do today so I got to catch a few shots of downtown Düsseldorf. I went along to drive because L&B don’t have valid drivers licenses and have been using public transportation for months(!). I like those trees.

Windy and I made…

March 16

Windy and I made a little birthday outing for our big sister Lona and Hartley and Geraldine came too.

The Getty Villa has a lovely picnic area.

He also told me…

He also told me to take this picture because the lion is a symbol of Düsseldorf and Then we saw this statue of a stick figure doing a somersault and that Too is a symbol of Dusseldorf!

We went around for…

We went around for the first hour, Windy mostly, carrying this sign behind Lona’s head. SOOoo many Happy Birthday! wishes ensued. It was a stone cold riot.

We could all hear our mother chortling away with delight and pride that we made a birthday party that included outrageous and inappropriate public displays of foolishness.

These are open air…

These are open air cafes along the Rhine. It was cold and windy so not surprising that few were hanging out here but Lucas says Düsseldorf-ians have a huge tolerance for bad weather and fill up the places on weekends.

In the distance is the Rhine Tower (another symbol of Dusseldorf!). An explanation from a tourist website:

“The port holes on the tower form the world’s largest decimal clock. From top to bottom, vertically arranged yellow lights – separated by horizontal red ones – show decades of hours, single hours, decades of minutes, single minutes, decades of seconds and single seconds.”

Then I went to…

Then I went to D&A’s to watch Kaitlin so they could have a night out before I go. Yes, Big Fun. Rub-a-dub-dub and Rubber Ducky!

Here’s a pano at…

Here’s a pano at an intersection in the historic downtown, bearing in mind that most of the city was destroyed in WWII and hence most of these buildings are post-war.

Note the pedestrians only streets which was very nice. There are big underground parking structures just on the outside of this district filled with shops, restaurants, and pubs.

Wind! Whoo. …

March 15

Wind! Whoo. It was blowing a gust-er on Saturday down here on Venice Beach where I joined Merlin and Hilda and her mom for a stroll and lunch.

Hilda’s mom was awed, really, totally awed. She simply could not believe here eyes. She doesn’t speak English so even though she couldn’t understand all the ‘shows’, she wanted to watch everything from start to finish.

You know how you always see something new when looking at what you know so well through someone else’s eyes. Yes, it is weird down there.

Ken and I had…

Ken and I had a last-dance before I’m gone for six weeks and we invited Ann and Bill to join us. Dancing! What a blessing.

And this is the…

And this is the view looking through the tram stop enclosure.

It’s SO easy to get around the town but not so much into the suburbs. Also, it’s not cheap. I don’t know if there’s any income based subsidy for the high cost of transportation.

Here are the second…

Here are the second set of new siblings among my near and dear. First Cali-May got her baby brother Jack and then this is Charlie who got his baby brother Henry. Awww.

xd

Then I went to…

Then I went to the local market by myself. (I think it’s a chain though because I saw another one or two just like it.)

Going to the market was fun…even though I bought the wrong kind of sugar and took it back to get the right kind.

It would have been easier for everyone if I could have said ‘I’d like to return this sugar for this other sugar’ but like usual, pointing, encouraging charades, and local English speakers got the job done.

I’m going to Europe…

March 13

I’m going to Europe for the first time in more than a decade and what have we here. A dollar sooo weak$*&% I can Not believe what a cheap$*&% little room is going to cost. Sigh! But it’s a good chance to go, so I’m going, and excited about it too! Now if I could just stop counting.

It’s March all right,…

March 12

It’s March all right, and that means Wisteria! Just like always, from bottom right-up-up then bottom-left starts in and on up around. It must be about the sun. Right?

This is one style…

This is one style of the electric trams that criss-cross the city. There are many types of varying eras which is entertaining for me, the tourista.

One thing we Angelenos can remember when we beat ourselves up about getting rid of our electric system, is that the dense web of overhead cables and the maze of tracks on the ground is a price to pay for this quiet, clean transportation.

In the afternoon we…

In the afternoon we went to a little girl’s birthday party out in the suburbs which is 20 minutes away by driving and is surrounded by fields, growing what, they did not know.

Their living room was given over to playground mode. At one point everyone decided to go outside so…

At the very end…

March 9

At the very end of Palisades Park, the flattest walk in town. What a gorgeously magnificent day. Warm and bright and fresh…

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