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Still trucking…

I walked to work today, but my camera ran out of juice, so I wasn’t able to take any photos. I recharged my camera when I got home and messed around with it, taking some funky portrait shots of myself. See? Even without my glasses, I’ve got four eyes… Yeah, it’s a slow day on the comedy front… but don’t you like the curlers? C’mon…


Gabriel’s music recital was this evening, and I only found out about it two hours prior. Good thing we were able to borrow a button up shirt from one of our neighbours. The fourth grade class played pretty well. As the teacher said when she introduced the kids… at the beginning of the year, they didn’t even know how to hold their instruments. Next year he’s decided that he wants to play a woodwind instrument. What he really wants to play is the guitar or drums, but they don’t have those as part of the instruments he can select from.

Walking L.A.

Fountain at Union Station
Pencil and Watercolor

My friend Bonnie, Gabriel and I decided to train it into L.A. and do a walking tour. I picked up the book Walking L.A. and we selected walk 19: Whitley Heights & Hollywood Boulevard.

We took the metro to Highland & Hollywood Blvd. and grabbed lunch at Mel’s Diner prior to setting off on our trek, but not before we took in the multiple floors’ worth of memorabilia at the Hollywood Museum right next door. I especially liked the creepy basement, which had old horror and Egyptian set memorabilia (and the costumes worn, including Claudette Colbert’s Cleopatra dress), and Hannibal Lecter’s cell.

The walk was great, though the “moderate” difficulty rating *cough, cough* was designated by a much younger and fitter person. I think this walk would have been just as challenging to me twenty years ago as it was now, because of the pretty extreme uphill portions. My poor little heart, even without two of the extra three nerve impulses, was getting a good workout, but I’m glad it didn’t wig out like it would have prior to my surgery.

There were some pretty spectacular homes up there, all tucked around these steep, narrow streets. There was a cute little English looking cottage, replete with an little garden and fountain out by the front door, that had a Sotheby’s for-sale sign outside. Bonnie and I decide that we would gladly sign up for some house-sitting assignments throughout the neighborhood, and just shift from house to house as the occupants came and went.

Greeted by Fido as I was taking the photo
(see the yellow/brown spot just over the hedge?)
If you squint real hard, you can see the
Hollywood sign through the clearing

I shot quite a few photos with the intention of using them for reference for drawings and/or watercolor paintings. Many of the homes had historic landmark plaques on them, which I thought was really cool. We live in such a ‘disposable’ culture that I think it’s great that folks are recognizing the value of retaining the ‘old’.

While waiting for our train at Union Station, I sketched a fountain in one of their outer courtyards, and we plotted our next walk, probably middle of next month. Stay tuned…

Another day walked…

Leaf imprint on sidewalk

My second day walking to the office. My more sensible selection of footwear avoided any additional blisters, but I’m sure starting to feel the walking in my legs. Hello muscles I forgot I had! My flexor digitorum longus on my right leg is giving me some trouble. I’ve been trying to stretch my calves but it still feels like it’s worked a little too hard and wants out.

I always wonder why folks just chose to use the outdoors as one big garbage bin. Is it the wind just carrying stuff out of the trash bins, or is it too hard to get to the closest trash bin to chuck our garbage out?

Steve treated us to dinner at The Crab Cooker in Newport Beach. Gabriel spent dinner marveling at the gigantic great white shark hanging from the ceiling.

Hoofing it to the office… and back

View onto freeway

After vacilating back and forth this morning on whether I would walk to work, I finally set off on foot in my Spicoli knock-off sneakers at 6:38AM. The photo above was shot not all that much later, as I was crossing the freeway overpass. I made it to work in just under 40 minutes, and when I im’ed my husband to tell him I’d walked, in my Spicoli’s, he said “those aren’t walking shoes… those are shoes to get stoned in.” Go figure… I did manage to cultivate two new blisters… one on my right heel and one on my left pinkie toe. Guess I’ll be wearing better “walking” shoes tomorrow for the trek, and I can cultivate a whole new crop of blisters. Lucky me.

On my walk home this afternoon I took the bike path for part of the way. It never ceases to amaze me that within inches of the bumper-to-bumper freeway traffic there is a little slice of nature, replete with plants and creatures. California is a wonderous place.

A mile walked…

Bike Path
Pencl & watersoluble colored pencils in Moleskine

I decided to take Hashi’s lead and start walking daily a distance of at least one mile from home, and then stop to sketch my surroundings before heading back. I’d purchased a pedometer many months ago and had yet to use it. So duly clipped on (it fell off during my trek; slipped right out from my waistband), and plugged in to an iPod, off I went. My legs were still sore from yesterday’s jaunt to the zoo, but I figured if I didn’t get back on the horse, I’d decide not to ride at all. I walked to my son’s school and then down a bike path in the neighbourhood. There were plenty of doggie poo-bag dispensers, but no benches to sit down on, so I stood while I sketched and then colored in my drawing. I only realized, once there, that I left my larger Moleskine at home on my scanner, so I ended up using my mini Moleskine. Though I’m not impressed with my sketch, the walk was good and I got to capture some photos of Mr. Crow.

L.A. Zoo Sketchcrawl

Zebra, L.A. Zoo
Copic pen in Moleskine

What great fun we had today. Gabriel and I went to the L.A. Zoo to meet up with a group of folks from our Yahoo So. Cal. sketch crawl board. Gabriel managed to sketch one drawing (but he won’t share it here because he thinks that instead of looking like a koala bear, it looks like a sloth). The critters were moving around a whole bunch, so by the time I’d scope out a layout and start drawing, my ‘models’ would move. Therefore, I have many partially drawn animals, but I definitely became much more adept at hurrying up to draw them while they stayed in position. Remember those two-minute gesture drawings done in art class when a live model would come to pose? Yup… I’d forgotten them, too… a good lesson on not getting attached to the outcome, but just to ‘see’ and draw. I did take a camera and was able to capture a lot, so I’ll get to revisit the animals later.

Speaking of seeing… ugh…! I’ve determined that I really, really, need a new pair of glasses. I’m squinting to see any kind of detail these days, from (not so far of a) distance, and must remove my glasses, position small printed items about two inches from my nose and squint (once again) to read the text. Very disconcerting. Hello? Lasik fairy? Please wave your magic wand…

Giraffes, L.A. Zoo
Copic pen in Moleskine

I invested in a cap with this fabric flap that covers the neck before getting started. Good thing, too. As usual, I was not lubed up with sunscreen (you know… is it just me who can’t stand the smell of the stuff?!) and so thanks to the 3/4 length sleeves I had on, only a quarter of my arms (hands up to half way to my elbows) got crispy… that and the left side of my neck. I thought I was doing relatively well in keeping myself in the shade of my cap. Ah well… c’mon aloe vera gel…

Ibex, L.A. Zoo
Copic pen in Moleskine

I also am really tired from all of the walking we did. I can feel it in my legs and calves. I should get out and do it more often. I suppose if the incentive is to get to stop every little while and sketch some, I might actually do it. Gabriel and I concluded the afternoon with dinner at Palermo’s on Vermont St. in Hollywood. The food was fabulous. We ate and then made the trek back to “the O.C.” It’s quite amazing that I managed to make my way over from the zoo to the restaurant without Mapquest directions or a Thomas Guide. It’s equally amazing that I figured out how to get to the 405 (I drove aaaalllll the way down La Cienega; scenic route, anyone?).

Sheee-it, I’ve been tagged…

Kelly’s tagged me…

In my fridge:
Brita Ultramax water purifier
Every conceivable condiment known (or available at your local Trader Joe’s)
Kosher Dills
Reduced Sugar French Vanilla creamer from International Delights (though I’ll get the other brand; whichever is on sale)
Withering veges, intended for home-made dinners, but since we end up eating out more than in, they mold or shrivel before I make use of them

In my closet:
Shoes, shoes and more shoes… though I’ve been wearing a select few for several years now, and I’ve even pared down my “collection” from what it was originally, I’ve heard the misnomer “Imelda Jr.” my way
Big box of memories… photos, postcards, my dad’s old “Tarzan” bikini bottoms (which he used to use as swim trunks)… don’t ask…
Bag of fabrics and needlework stuff
Duffle bags
My husband’s massive t-shirt collection (swag from every MX manufacturer in business today)

In my purse:
My wallet
My cell phone
My digital camera
My bundle of Copic pens, Niji brushes and water soluble colored pencils
My Moleskine journal

In My (crappy-ass) Car:
Empty boxes I brought home from work, because we’re moving next month
My access badge for work
Hand sanitizer
My son’s booster seat (which he hates “I’m not a baby anymore”)
Stuff in the trunk that I can’t even begin to list… pillows, a box of stuff I’d cleared out of my desk from a previous job and stashed in my trunk, beach/sand toys, an extra quart of oil

(I’m adding this one)-
On my Nighstand:
Bird by Bird-Anne Lamott
A Writer’s Book of Days-Judy Reeves
The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard)-Jill Badonsky
John Constantine Hellblazer/Rare Cuts, a graphic novel
Altered Words-Journals, Winter ’05-published by ISABA (International Society of Altered Book Artists)
Blick Studio art supply catalog
Process Recess-James Jean
Recidivist-Zak Sally
Tales from the Bed-Jenifer Estess
Blink-Malcolm Gladwell
A pen, a spiral notebook, a glass bowl filled with paint chips, a photo of my dad as a young man (taken in a Siberian prison camp, no less), my alarm clock, box of tissues, more magazines…

I tag…

A Self-Portrait

Watersoluble Colored Pencils in Moleskine

I don’t know what it is about pencils that I like so much. I’ve drawn with pens, pastels, charcoal… but I always revert to pencils in the end. I like that I can build layers of line to solidify and define a shape. It’s difficult to do that with ink without making it look messy (or botching it altogether). My process of reproducing what I see involves massaging, caressing a line with my eyes until I get it right. The added benefit of color and watersolubility brings it right over the top for me. It doesn’t get much better than this.