Monday, August 31, 2009

Twilight, Last Night

It was quiet last evening, just before twilight. Looking southwest across our street, the sky was a dull gray, while out the living room window, the setting sun saturated the sky with sherbet bands.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

20th Century Barbershops ~ #5 In A Series

Jack Vachon was another Depression era photographer who found employment through Franklin Delano Roosevelt's WPA make-work program documenting American life for the Farm Service Administration. The above picture was made in March, 1943, of a barber shop proprietor standing in front of his establishment on the streets of Lynchburg, Virginia. Another barber, shown below, posed for him in November, 1938, in front of his shop in South Omaha, Nebraska.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

In The Garden

The plumerias are blooming sweetly, with a scent so divine it can transport one mentally to more tropical climes.

And although the hibiscus are unscented, they evoke thoughts of the tropics as well.

But the ginkgo tree knows the truth, as its leaves are tinged ever slightly with autumn's gold - summer is drawing to a close.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Another German Expressionist

Born in 1887, August Macke was raised in Germany but spent most of his creative life in Switzerland. His travels took him to Italy, Paris, Tunisia and Holland. Exposure to the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists in Paris influenced his work, which became more avant garde when he became a pivotal member, along with Gabriele Munter and Kandinsky, of Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider).

His wife, who was his frequent model, posed for the painting above, titled "Elisabeth At The Desk".

Some of his later paintings are thought to be masterpieces. August Macke was killed at the front, two months after the start of World War I at the age of 27.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Johnny Nash Sings Bob Marley

One of our local FM radio stations plays 3 hours of Bob Marley every Sunday and to my ear, his music has held up as well as Bob Dylan's. One of my favorite Marley songs is "I Can See Clearly Now", and although it was written by Bob Marley, it is mostly identified with Johnny Nash.

Nash was born in Houston, Texas and was the first non-Jamaican to record reggae music in Kingston, Jamaica. He recorded "I Can See Clearly Now" in 1972 and performed it in the video above in 1973. Perhaps if the song had been written 100 years earlier, it would be considered a Spiritual, not a pop song, as it sounds more about the afterlife than the weather.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Up On The Roof

Atlantic City was holding a Summer Carnival in 1922, down on the boardwalk and out on the pier. The four girls in swimsuits had come down from New York City for the festivities, but chose to be up on a roof instead. You can see the pier where the action is behind them, in the distance.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Abodes That Abide

Some of my blog friends, Tracy in Norway, Pat in the Yorkshire Dales and Steven in Canada, have expressed an interest in seeing more pictures of our town. With that in mind, today my daughter Amanda will be posting some local pictures on her blog, as well. It will be fun for me to see what caught her eye! Here's what caught mine.

The picture above is one of the oldest houses in town. It's called the Derby House and was built entirely of redwood in 1887. It's situated downtown, directly across the street from the railroad tracks (where the old station once stood) and was a boarding house for weary travelers making the dusty journey between San Diego and Los Angeles. My great grandparents ran the Derby House in the late 1800s and my grandpa lived there for a good part of his childhood.

Everyone's heard of houseboats, but what about Boat Houses? These two are local landmarks, built in 1925, three blocks west of the Derby House. Of course they've never been to sea, but were built side by side as homes, one block due east of the Pacific Ocean. They're relatively authentic, with map rooms, wheel houses and port holes.

The Derby House and the Boast Houses are probably the most photographed homes in town, and have been occupied continuously since they were built.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Appreciating Clouds

The top picture was taken by Merrick Davies in Hammer Springs on the South Island of New Zealand. The photograph below was made in Schiehallion, Scotland by Ken Prior.

If you appreciate the beauty of clouds, you may want to check out Extraordinary Clouds by Richard Hamblyn, or the book below, from the Cloud Appreciation Society.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

20th Century Barbershops ~ #4 In A Series

The picture above was taken in Bayamon, Puerto Rico in December, 1941, the same month Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese. Jack Delano was there, documenting Puerto Rican life for the Farm Services Administration's Office of War Information.

Below, Walker Evan's February, 1936 photograph captures a "pressing club", also known as a laundry, next door to the local barbershop in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our Brightest Star

In case you missed seeing them in May, here's another look at one of the incredible photographs of the space shuttle on its mission to rendezvous with the Hubble Telescope. It was to be the last time humans would have contact with the space telescope that has provided so many fantastic images of our universe and beyond. Thanks to Thierry Legault for sharing his remarkable photograph.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Walking Around Town

During my childhood, this building was the county library. Within walking distance of the elementary school, it was a quiet oasis with a devoted librarian who was a widowed mother of six. After being a print shop for years, it's now a Hawaiian style plate lunch take out spot. Hopefully they cook better than they garden.

This is one of two remaining neighborhood churches downtown. As property values rose, the churches were either demolished for condominiums or became private homes. All the other churches have moved inland.

Downtown is mostly tourist oriented, with lots of restaurants and small shops that sell curiosities, such as this metal figure made of spatulas, which could be yours for a mere $650.00

A stern Frida Kahlo glares at passersby from a tile trash can.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Come Dancing

Of all the bands of the British Invasion of the early 1960s, the Kinks, fronted by brothers Ray and Dave Davies, were one of my favorites. This is my favorite song of theirs, besides "Lola". It's next to impossible to not tap your foot.

In 1964, one of my best friends was in a Coronado based band, The New Britains, shown above. They played gigs from the Officers' Club at North Island Naval Air Station, Coronado, to high school proms as far away as El Centro. The band broke up in 1966 when their drummer graduated from high school and took a student ship from New York City to Southampton, England to join a British band.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Transformed By A Gift

Steven at The Golden Fish has invited his readers to write about a transformational event in their lives.

Mine was motherhood. Responsibility for someone beyond myself, ongoing lessons in patience, acceptance, humility, forgiveness and gratitude, love beyond description, a sense of purpose and seeing the world through a fresh set of eyes only begin to describe the changes a baby can bring. Becoming a mother made me want to try to be worthy of such a gift.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Where My Readers Are

Unless you blog, you may not know that Google has a function that allows bloggers to see where their readers are: the country where they live, what city or town in the country, how long they stay, what they read, how they arrived and how often they visit.

Besides the United States, the ten top countries my readers come from (this month) are the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Norway, Brazil, Germany, Austria, Peru and Sweden. Here at home, the top 10 states (besides California) are Florida, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Pennsylvania and Nebraska.

If you're a reader and have your own blog, please feel free to let me know in the comments. Thanks for stopping by. It would be a pleasure to visit your blog, as well.

Thanks to NASA for the picture.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Impressionist Eva Gonzales

In 1869, the age of 20, Paris native Eva Gonzales was the one and only formal student of Edouard Manet. She modeled for many of the Impressionists.

Eva Gonzales died during childbirth at the age of 34, just 6 days after the death of her teacher, Manet.

She painted the oil on canvas above, called "Morning Awakening" in 1876, when she was 25. It currently hangs in Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany.

Eva Gonzales painted "On The Terrace" in 1875. It is in a private collection.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

20th Century Barbershops ~ #3 In A Series

Edwin Rosskam captured the photograph of a dapper young man passing a barbershop on the streets of Chicago in 1941. The photograph was made for the Office of War Information, under the auspices of the Farm Services Administration, to document life across the country during the Great Depression.

Out West, in 1936, a wooden half barrel sufficed as a booster seat in the makeshift community barbershop of a migrant workers' camp in Kern County, California. This photograph was made that November by the celebrated Dorothea Lange.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What Yesterday Looked LIke

My mom joins me once a week for a walk on the beach. Yesterday the tide was low and due to the large swells we had last week, a lot of kelp had washed in. The waves push and pull the strands into clumps and piles and some they drape artfully across the sand.

Our beaches are at the bottom of 60 foot cliffs. Some are bare sandstone, rugged and wind carved, while in other places the vegetation has taken hold and plants with a high tolerance for salt grow wild.

Summer is winding down and even the flowers are taking on the colors of autumn.

Thomas came by. He came in the back door, had a bowl of cream, exited via the living room window, and once he'd checked the bird bath, made his way down the front path, heading home.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Faces from The Past

These images are from a collection of old photographic postcards The first is a young Native American woman named Moon Beam, posing in her finest gown in 1909. None of the cards indicate locations or to what tribe the people belong.

This group photograph is of Hunting Horse and his seven daughters. It is dated 1908 and the photograph was made by J.V. Dedrick.

Photographed in 1912, Arthur Iron Nest chose to pose in front of his home with his rifle in one hand and his peace pipe in the other.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Walking Around The Neighborhood

You may have read here before about my friend Susan. She stopped by yesterday afternoon and we walked a couple miles through the neighborhood and chatted the whole way. We stopped by my daughter's to see if she could join us, but as you can see in the first picture, she was engrossed in her garden, standing in maidenhair ferns, trimming varigated ginger and cannas.

Once we got to the top of the hill behind the house, a pair of angry geese rushed the fence along the road and commenced with some serious honking.

Along the same fence where the honking geese live, we found the most beautiful, juicy fruit. Clusters of grapes hanging outside the fence, ripe for the picking. We sampled a few of the darkest purple - delicious!

This fern and palm lined driveway gives the neighborhood a rural feel.

This hibiscus was the brightest flower of the day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Silver Screen

In case you missed this over at Sippican Cottage, if you've got an extra 3 minutes, this finely crafted video is well worth a look.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We found a box of sparklers from the 1940s in some estate goods and could hardly wait for dark to set them off. Some fizzled right out, but much to our delight, a few burnt cleanly and sparkled all the way down.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Foolproof Flower Gardening ~ #17

The allium is the ultimate foolproof bulb. The blossoms make excellent cut flowers, garden pests avoid them, they bloom year after year and multiple and naturalize on their own, with no help from you.

The allium family has 1,250 species, and includes garlic, onions and chives. The bulbs run the gammet from very small to very large, and the flowers are interesting at all points during their bloom, from the time the shoot sends up a bud to when they're fully open.

These work best clustered together. After several years you can lift the bulbs and transplant the pups. Although they prefer full sun, they'll tolerate some shade along the California coast.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

20th Century Barbershops ~ #2 In A Series

Both of these photographs were taken in 1938 by Arthur Rothstein for the Farm Services Administration's Office of War Information. Key West, above, looked quiet that January. The barber pole shown at the curb has been a symbol of barbering since medieval times, when barbers also performed surgery and dentistry. The rags used during procedures (both bloodied and clean) were hung on a pole outside and were often entwined by the wind, represented on more contemporary poles as the helixing red and white stripes. The photograph below was made that October in Bivalve, New Jersey.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Late Afternoon Surf

Getting a new surfboard means a trip to the beach whether the waves are any good or not. My daughter stopped by yesterday afternoon and took me along for a walk while she tried out her new board. For however briefly, the water is now 73 degrees.

This fisherman had just pulled in a calico bass. He was working three lines and using sand crabs for bait, hoping to catch corbina.

The tide was low enough to expose some of the reefs.

Upon closer look, you find sea life in each small pool.