Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas Carts

Sung to the tune of 'O Christmas Tree':

O Shopping Carts! O Christmas Carts!
Thy branches are so sparkly;

O Shopping Carts! O Christmas Carts!
Thy branches are so sparkly;

Not only used when shopping here,
But also when the season's near.

O Shopping Carts! O Christmas Carts!
Thy branches are so sparkly;

Main Street in Venice, CA.

A towering stack of shopping carts.

Wrapped in lights and ornaments.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Abbot Kinney

On Small Business Saturday (urging consumers to shop local), we were in Venice, CA.

What a treat. 

Abbot Kinney Boulevard is a mixture of old brick buildings and bold-colored modern shops.

Unique gifts to be found in a relaxed environment.

My favorite item in this shop - the hanging lamp.

Leather - wallets, bags, belts.

Clever idea! Fitted hats for bicycle helmets - would you wear one?

Chocolate tasting inside.

Modern Scandinavian Living

And so much more fun than Cyber Monday...

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Bubblegum Alley in SLO

Freshman orientation at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo included a nighttime foray in the creek that runs through town and a stop at bubblegum alley to stick a wad on the wall.

At least that is what I remember.

It was creepy and muddy and dank along the creek but the alley was all fun and whimsy.

Well, times have changed. The creek sparkles. It is now lined with upscale eateries and walking bridges.

The alley is another story.

Yes, they did put in a bubblegum machine nearby, in case you forgot to bring your own chew.

But the smell and sight of Bubblegum Alley is ewwwwwwwwwwwwww.

The concept is still amusing, but all the flies, not so much.

And I wasn't able to identify my petrified gum from years ago.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

There is so much going on along the coast, the pier and State Street that it is easy to neglect the inland beauty of Santa Barbara.

Most visitors stop by the Mission.

But it is not much further to get to the Botanic Garden.

All natural, all nature, holiday garland.

Inspiration Point in the distance.

Shady spots along the way.

Coast Redwood - Sequoia sempervirens

In addition to the trails, there is a tea house, gift shop and succulents for sale.

Before you leave, walk across the parking lot, cross the street, hike up the short trail and take one last look --- at the city and Pacific Ocean spread out below.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Homeowner Association

There are rules in our neighborhood.

Related to the upkeep of house and yard.

Months ago, it was apparent that half the block received the same form letter as residents gave their garage doors a fresh coat of paint and fertilized their lawns en masse.

It is nice that the entire street looks decent but wouldn't it be fun to live outside those confines.

Over the holidays, we drove around Summerland and came upon this house.

Which probably does not have an HOA.

Or perhaps it is a freewheeling live-and-let-live HOA. 

The 'collection' is amazing in both size and diversity and were it not for our HOA, I would have liked to bring home a treasure or two...

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Levitated Mass at LACMA

When I lived in Massachusetts, I found Plymouth Rock to be, well, quite small. Rather disappointing. At least as a rock.

Great, in terms of historical significance.

So when all the hoopla was going on in Los Angeles to get a big rock from a quarry near Riverside to its final destination at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, I was hoping it really was a BIG rock.

At 340-tons, it surely should be grand.

And it is....up close.

North of the Resnick Pavilion is a large expanse of gravel.

A concrete channel holds up the mass and allows visitors to walk towards and under the Levitated Mass.

Because the museum itself is large and sprawling and it sits inside a city that is also large and sprawling surrounded by enormously tall palm trees, the rock only seems mammoth when you get quite close.

And then it truly is impressive.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

What's New at UTC

A massive renovation took place at UTC in La Jolla.

Completed in time for the holidays.

Here is a look, in case you weren't able to find a parking spot this weekend.