new years hike

Flowering plant that looks a bit like Pacific Wax Myrtle

At first, he said he didn’t want to go anywhere too steep. But then he urged me to the summit, when I might have turned back earlier. We got a great workout and the view was lovely. A perfect way to start the year.

steely dan sang it


Here come those Santa Ana winds again. Now that I live in a fire-prone area, they bring more than chapped lips; they evince some real anxiety. They’re not called the devil winds for nothing.



Sometimes I just need a day alone in my treehouse. I’m lucky I can work from home every now and then.







Saturday had some difficult moments, as others made their surprising expectations known. Yesterday we climbed a big hill and talked about it all: dreams and plans, us and them, the life we could possibly craft together. In a world of unknowns and uncertainties, one thing is feeling more and more sure: I want to be with him.

sometimes i just can’t help it

Working from home #wfh #topanga #treehouse
Working from home in my Topanga treehouse.

Back in January, when I suddenly and unexpectedly needed to find a new home, the easiest thing would have been back to my friend’s house in Inglewood. But that place was no longer available, so I made the decision to move to Topanga, a place my heart had long been telling me was home.

I’ve now been here nine months, and have not for one second regretted the move to a ‘bohemian enclave’.

Except maybe for a few minutes the day I was eating at Abuelita’s. At the next table, young hippie parents were asking their 4- or 5-yr-old son to describe his life before birth, before he chose them as his parents. Behind their backs, I was rolling my eyes.

He didn’t get the question. They pressed him.
“When you were in mommy’s tummy, what was it like?”
“Um, dark?” he ventured as a possibly acceptable answer, and I almost laughed aloud, happy that he was too young and honest to just make up crap to assuage his parents.

Question: Do you eavesdrop on people in public places? Sometimes it’s so amusing!

sunrise, sunset

Equinox sunrise

Equinox sunset

Equinox. The seasons change again.

It’s been a great summer. It’s been a great year. When I think about the way it started, I am truly amazed at how wonderfully things have changed for the better. Maybe in some small way I can bring hope to others who are despairing. Because truly:

It will be all right in the end. And if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.

the women of lockerbie


Theatricum Botanicum is a union house, so photography is prohibited. I snuck this extremely ininspired pic before this afternoon’s show; it does nothing to convey the thrill I get from seeing their performances.

On Wednesday, 21 December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew members. Eleven people in Lockerbie, in southern Scotland, were also killed as large sections of the plane fell in the town and destroyed several houses, bringing total fatalities to 270.

I remember that day. Do you? My daughter Rhea was about to celebrate her first Christmas.

The Women of Lockerbie is set seven years later, and deals with the grief of both the Lockerbie women (who, in some cases, lost family members or who had body parts in their houses and yards) and the parents of a young American passenger on Flight 103.

It’s a powerful play, embracing concepts of rage, love, grief, hatred, forgiveness, relinquishment, honesty, duty, craziness, and blame.

All in 90 minutes.

Strong writing, but even stronger performances. I’m loving everything I’m seeing at the Theatricum.

It was hot. Over 100° in this outdoor amphitheatre. I felt for the actors, rugged up for a Scottish December, in coats and boots and scarves.

I mopped my brow. But I also wiped away tears. Because this play is moving.


soccer + beer + rattlesnakes

Since meeting Keifer, I’ve been sallying forth most evenings in a desire to connect with more of my neighbours.

The other night I met Charles Accardi, who let his icecream melt while we chatted by his car. He wants to see my art. Um, OK.

I’ve also been picking up hitchhikers in the canyon. That’s how I met Kai and Nathan.

Tonight I followed sounds of youthful joy to a game of “double football”, played on a side street by three generations. A round ball was being kicked, while an ovoid ball was simultaneously thrown. I joined in for a few minutes (not sure of the rules) until the patriarch ushered me up the adjacent stairs to meet his wife and give me a beer.

Sylvia and John

Meet Sylvia (from Guatemala) and John (from Malta), Topanga residents for 35 years. We talked about geography and bridges and World War II and rattlesnakes.

The snakes seem to be a recurring theme.

The view from John and Sylvia's

But then, so is the happiness for living in this awesome place. Have I mentioned lately how much I love it here?

on meeting the locals


I spent all day — nearly nine hours — making the dress you see above. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get some good photos and do a post about it. But tonight, I really needed to stretch my legs.

So at dusk, barefoot, I headed up the hill. I wasn’t looking for a workout, as much as for some interaction. I thought that maybe I was meant to connect with one of my neighbours.

I took a previously unexplored side street, and noted the vehicles, the dogs, the outdoor settings. But no humans. I kept climbing as dark descended. I reached the end of the cul-de-sac, and finally a voice.

“Hello there!”

“Hi,” I replied in the dark. “I’m your neighbour”.

“Are you into motorsports?” came the unexpected response from the shirtless elderly man.

Um … no … but let’s talk about it anyway.

So Keifer showed me his motorcycles, and his house, and we sat in his living room and chatted for a half hour. He was incredulous that an Australian was not into motorsports, because apparently we have won all sorts of records. (Who knew? not me!)

He was impressed that I could take a photo with my phone. He warned me to watch out for rattlesnakes on the road on the way home (did I mention I was barefoot?) and was then even more amazed to see that my phone was also a flashlight.

Big smiles, from both of us.

I freakin’ LOVE living in Topanga. I don’t think I can ever live in the city or suburbs again.

reminder: pay attention

This little #rattlesnake was lying across the narrow path on our late afternoon #hike.

I don’t want to live in the city (though I like to live near it). I’ve chosen Topanga because it’s not full of shopping malls and chlorinated swimming pools and neatly trimmed shrubs and regular visits from the pest control guy. There’s no Starbucks here. Not one.

I like me a bit of wildness. A jungoidal garden. Coyotes howling at the moon. Waking to birdsong not traffic noise.

But it’s not all butterflies and hummingbirds and double rainbows (so intense) out here. Sometimes it’s venomous snakes.

I’m no Steve Irwin: I’m not going to wrestle a python. But I’m happy to co-exist with the natives who belong in these mountains too.

So I’m grateful to this young rattler, camouflaged in the shadows across my narrow trail, for reminding me that I’m part of an ecosystem.

And further: for reminding me to pay attention. To watch where I put my feet. To be present, here and now.

Or I might step on something I’d much prefer not to.