Christmas Morning and a Camera

Through the Pier

Creative Inkwell, is a new site dedicated to “making your blog great” and was created by Sean Platt and David Wright. It’s currently hosting a creative writing contest.


I thought participating would be fun, plus a great chance to help Sean and David launch their new business endeavor. When you have time, spend a few minutes from your busy day there, and read some great new fiction that’s been submitted from other talented and diverse bloggers from very different genres. While you’re there, make sure you check out the new services that Sean and David are offering other bloggers to make their websites noticed and top-notch.

So, in the spirit of Travelin’ Local, here’s my entry:

Christmas Morning and a Camera

How could she have known that simply crossing the street would mean so much?

The Bird

With her children grown and beginning their adult lives at college or with new careers, Christmas become just another symbol and routine: a time off from work. Her ennui did not engulf and enmesh her into anything worse than what happens to most—an acceptance of the way things are, not what they could be.

She wasn’t depressed for sure, because long ago she knew that she was a survivor and a warrior. Life had taken on more of the pitter-patter of which many get used to, or make believe they do—full time job, a card carrying member of the rat race.

So for her, as this Christmas portended another year almost gone, a footnote in history, however, new potentialities were approaching from around the bend.


You see, her gift this year was a new camera. She was always interested in the arts, especially photography and writing, but she had foregone her career in lieu of her former husband’s, as did many women who thought that was the right thing to do. A person’s right to happiness, she later recognized was an elusive goal. But one she was determined to achieve, though, without sacrificing her moral underpinnings.

At night, she frequently loved to look at the city’s panoramic and pulsating neon lights. To her they were an art-form of translucent beauty, a swirling of momentary magic to be captured through pictures as their affects are dreams, reflections, transfixions between the day and night, between original and man-made, and the creativity of commercial use for personal art.

Sunset on the Freeway

She has a firecracker personality, disarming to many, but treasured by those who really know her. Time waits for no one to be sure. She always knew the phrase and its implications but this day was different because she was about to cross the Rubicon she always dreamt of and knew that she was capable of. How could she have known that simply crossing the street would mean so much?

With her camera hanging around her neck, and her bag full of camera paraphernalia, she was ready.

As she crossed the street, she looked at a scene that had presented itself many times to her, the Pacific Ocean beach’s of Southern California. As usual, it was brisk and fog-laden.


But not as usual, she knew things this time were indeed different. Armed with her new weapon, she knew right there, right then at that moment that her new camera would spring life back into her morning and her life. It didn’t matter what the weather was, or how many people were out and about.

Of course, most people were home, enjoying opening presents, eating Christmas cookies, watching the parades and Bowl games.

She looked out over the beach, held the camera to her eye, and starting taking pictures. One, then another, then another, time was irrelevant. Her art was.

The Beach

Looking right, left, up, and down, she took picture after picture, trying to visualize each shot in her mind before she’d shoot. Like a director concocting a scene, or a writer visualizing his plot, her mind enjoyed the new found joy of being able to compose mis-en-scene and capture the moment.

The moment is that characteristically misunderstood things that most people take for granted and now, with her new Nikon, she was able to find tremendous satisfaction in having the capacity to steal those things and seal their fate onto the palette of her memory using the photograph as a means to suspend time and beauty forever.

Deadwood and Flowers

Unsure of all of her camera settings, for this first photo shoot, she kept her camera on “auto.” After all, the brave new world she had entered even though now fully digitized, was also the same form and reference point that the greats worked with—hand on camera, eye to the mood and environment, and senses all tuned in and on by the light, many much more famous than she’ll ever be turned photography and photographs into a cultural phenomenon, a denouement of the senses, a moment of time never to be repeated but captured onto the silver gelatin. So she’d figure out, over time, all of those “whatcha ma call its” and “thing a majigs.”

It suddenly dawned on her that she had started seeing common everyday things in a new way. The portrait of an Artist was now her new calling card as she now knew and understood that by crossing the street she had changed her life forever.


Her personality and love of people, art, writing, and technology would allow here to pursue her life-long dreams of becoming a photojournalist and the vista of her dreams were multi-colored, multifaceted and didn’t have an ending or any restrictions that she could see.

The clearer she was going to be about her destination, the easier it was going to communicate why others should pay attention.

How could she have known that simply crossing the street would mean so much?

She couldn’t have, but by and because of that fact the rest of the world was soon to find out, her personal zeitgeist of what her interpretations of her environment is.

Today was the First Day of the Beginning of the Rest of Her Life

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Travelin’ Local visits the City of Brotherly Love

It is both my pleasure and joy to introduce today’s featured article, by D. Travis North.

By way of further introduction, Travis’ own biography and background is provided by him as:

"D. Travis North is a photography enthusiast with a strong interest in the photography of landscapes and architecture (among other things). His website, Shutter Photo, is dedicated to the sharing of his works, wisdom, experiments and anything that seems relevant."

Today, Travis takes us Travelin’ Local to his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Through his words, photographs, and passion, it’s not hard to quickly realize just how beautiful Philadelphia is, and exactly why it’s an urban genome and testimony to the celebration of Cultural ethnography, geography, development, ethnicity, eclecticism, infrastructure management, and prudent and wise understanding of how people and their neighborhoods and cities interact with each other. Although quietly understated, Travis also takes us on a journey to understand the types and kinds of things that we should expect–and need–from the cities where we live.

Travis’ professional background in landscape architecture and photography, provide a grounded reality check as to how we can better appreciate and visit our own neighborhoods when Travelin’ Local:

The shape of a building, the lines of a park, the beauty of a store, or the portraiture of people.

After reading this, who wouldn’t want to move to Philadelphia?

Philadelphia’s Cultural Infrastructure

Philadelphia City View

Philadelphia is best known as the birthplace of the United States. This historic city has seen the document that started the American Revolution and served as a temporary home to a young new government. It is host to many firsts including the first public grammar school, the nation’s first public library, the nation’s first hospital, the first American public bank, the first American Stock Exchange, the first municipal water system and first Zoo in the United States. And let’s not forget all of the National Parks assets including, but not limited to, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and Carpenter’s Hall. Unfortunately for its 1.5 million residents, all this history overshadows one of the city’s greatest assets: its cultural infrastructure.

Fairmount Park


Cited as one of the largest urban park systems in the country, the Fairmount Park system - named after the largest of its parks - is made up of 63 regional and neighborhood parks spanning nearly 9,200 acres - nearly 10% of all city land (To give you a rough idea, New York’s Central Park is 843 acres). The park system is, in my opinion, the backbone of the city’s cultural infrastructure. East Park, along with the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, literally cuts a thin wedge of green through the city, terminating at Love Park just short of City Hall. All along the parkway and all throughout the Fairmount Park system are literally hundreds of sculptures and fountains. Most are classic sculptures of famous Philadelphians, but modern art is well represented as well. Fairmount Park, as a whole, serves as a place for activity and socializing and utility. Many picnic, exercise or play games in the Philadelphia parks. But in Center City, where you won’t have to travel more than a few blocks to find a park, most of the city’s museums and cultural centers front on the parks, squares and boulevards.


Art Museum

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, with architecture that resembles a Greek temple, is recognizable even to outsiders. It sits atop a hill that overlooks the city and its many museums. Unknown to many, however, the Griffin Society - the non-profit organization that runs the museum - has one of the largest art collections in the United States: Over 225,000 pieces. Believe it or not, The Griffin Society owns one of the largest collections of Rodin’s works as well as Monet’s works. In fact, the collection is so large that The Philadelphia Museum of Art built a separate Rodin Museum dedicated exclusively to Rodin’s work. But Philadelphia’s cultural exhibitions aren’t limited to art. Also calling the city home are the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology, The Please Touch Museum (an activity center for kids that also exhibits the collections of classic toys), The Museum of Archeology and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania (home to an exceptional Egyptian collection), and The National Constitution Center. Probably one of the most unique museums is the Mütter Museum, a medical museum that hosts medical oddities, pathological specimens - dissected brains, still-born babies in jars and tripinnated skulls - and some of the most bizarre tools you’ll ever see.

Performing Arts


Broad Street is the main north-south route through center city, and the several blocks south of City Hall is referred to as the Avenue of the Arts. Probably the Avenue’s most notable building is the classic Academy of Music, the former home to the world renowned Philadelphia Orchestra. While the Academy is still in use today, the Orchestra now has a new home: The Kimmel Center. The Kimmel Center, a large multi-theatre complex, was a much needed upgrade for the city. Not only can the state-of-the-art facility host multiple events at once, but it has smaller theaters for more intimate performances. Traveling stage shows are not uncommon to both the Kimmel Center and the Academy of Music, but many of the Off-Broadway performances will be found at one of the city’s many theaters. But not all performances are limited to buildings built specifically for such purposes. One of the most extraordinary experiences will be found at the Macy’s on Market and Broad Streets (formerly The John Wanamaker’s Department Store): The world’s largest playable pipe organ. As legend would have it, The Wanamaker Organ was built to appease Mr. Wanamaker’s obsession, and it is played twice every day (or every hour during the holiday season) for all to appreciate. This picture does it little justice, however, as the pipes nearly completely fill all four walls and three floors of the main plaza in the store. Just to see it is awe-inspiring. To hear it played…that’s indescribable. But to carry out Wanamaker’s tradition, performances are absolutely free.

Cultural Melting Pot

Reading Terminal Market

While racial harmony is still many years off, I like to think of Philadelphia as a place where we are at least moving in the right direction. Culturally diversified neighborhoods like Mount Airy or Manayunk, where several cultures collided without prejudice, are not entirely uncommon in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is a place where you can live in the same skyscrapers that are home to world renowned businesses or you can own a townhouse just across the street from a museum (though admittedly, they aren’t cheap).Mixed use is all the rave in the land development these days, but Philadelphia and other historical cities have been doing it for centuries. The overlap of uses allows many great things. Easy access to public transportation, environmentally friendly lifestyles and inner-city farmers markets like the great Reading Terminal Market. Here you will find products from all sorts of cultures including Amish food stuffs, Italian and Jewish Delis, Chinese and Japanese cuisines and clothing and other products from Africa and South America.

Elfreth's Alley

In fact, Elfreth’s Alley, is the oldest continuously residential street in the USA. All this is just barely outside the shadow of City Hall. I admit that I may have a bit of a bias having grown up in Philadelphia, but when it comes to historical cities in North America, The City of Brotherly Love is the cultural role model.

“Fishing in the City”

Have you ever thought about fishing in Los Angeles?

Until I went to the Santa Monica Pier and saw all the people fishing, it didn’t even occur to me, but then again, I’m not a fisherman.

But, a lot of people are:

Did you catch anything yet?

The California Department of Fishing and Game has a special program to get kids interested in fishing called, “Fishing in the City.” Since its inception in 1993, Fishing in the City has introduced fishing to more than 50,000 children and family members in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

Why fishing? Well, I’m sure if you’re a fisherman, you already know; but for us novices, the benefits of fishing can be:

1. Fun: I can only imagine how much fun it is to land your first big one.

2. Family oriented: An entire family can go fishing, making it a Travelin’ Local day trip. Just pack a lunch basket, go to a nearby park, lake, or ocean access, have your bait, poles and other various fishing paraphernalia, and you’re ready to go.

Let's go fishing

3. Fairly inexpensive: Depending on the fishing rod and tackle, you can start with the economy version and if you want, purchase more expensive equipment that more experienced pros use. Plus, you get to eat what you catch.

4. Outdoor fun: What’s better than spending a peaceful day on the water, looking over the ocean, enjoying the fresh air, with the anticipation of catching dinner?

Personally, my only reference point to fishing is when my brother used to do a little fishing with his friends on Lake Erie, as we were growing up. He used to come home and regal us with stories of putting bait on his hooks and then eat lunch (Of course, there was no handwashing), or going to the bathroom over the edge of the boat. (Which is why girls were not invited, but I think times have changed.)

Bait and Hook

But I digress.

If you’d like to “try out” fishing, without having the minimum expense of getting a license– which here in Californina is required for anyone fishing over the age of 16–the California Department of Fish and Game offers two free annual fishing days, July 4th and September 7th.

Fishing clinics are also available for the general public. Staffed by learned volunteers who are passionate about fishing, you can check here for the calendar of events in your area.

Are you into fishing? Do you take your kids fishing? What’s your big fish story? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below.

While Travelin’ Local, you can always hear a “Whopper of a Story.” More frequently than not, because California is a coastal State, the chances are that you’ll want to keep fishing until you catch “The Big One.”

But that’s a Travelin’ Local story for another time.

The Ocean is My Mom

El océano es mi mamá

Le digo –asústame!- y cuando estoy caminando

Me avienta unas olas que me lastiman y unos

Tiburoncitos chiquitos.

Le digo hazme guapo y me viste con conchas,

alga marinas, estrellas de mar, y perlas brillantes.

Mi mamá es el océanoSeashell and Sand

Con la arena me abraza,

Con el agua me acaricia,

Y con el aire me da un beso.



The ocean is my mom.

I say to her, “Give me catfish to eat!”

I say, “Scare me”

And when I’m walking

She throws big waves and tiny sharks at

Me that hurt me.

I tell her, “Make me look handsome”

And she dresses me with sea shells,

Seaweeds, star fish, and shiny pearls.

My mom is the ocean,

With the sand she hugs me,

With the water she caresses me,

And with the air she kisses me.

By Fernando, 1st grade

This poem is featured as part of the 2009 A Poem A Day campaign, a National Poetry Month celebration by WITS that features a different poem by a WITS student every day during April.

Don’t forget today is the second and final day of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books being held at the UCLA campus. It’s an extraordinary literary event for book lovers of all ages and is featuring:

  • 50+ book and poetry readings
  • 300 booksellers
  • Hundreds of book signings
  • Dozens of live presentation and performances
  • If you’re Travelin’ Local today, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is family friendly. With events including storytelling, crafts, and costumed characters, it promises to be a fun filled day of celebration and surprise.

    Hope all of you were able to enjoy your weekend wherever else you may live.

    “Postcards from Ballona”

    Postcards From Ballona

    On Earth Day, April 22, 2009, a group of artists and volunteers gathered to revamp the “Postcards from Ballona” mural which has graced the Ballona Creek Bike Path access ramp on the west side of Overland Avenue in Culver City since 1997.

    Over the years, the mural had become a victim of both vandalism and graffiti; but now it’s bright, glossy and shiny.

    Let's Protect our Treasure

    The Postcards from Ballona mural was totally restored by both volunteers and its original student artists. The updated painting was completed on Earth Day, at about 8:15pm. Its final touch, a layer of graffiti-proof polyurethane was literally applied today.

    According to the volunteer pictured above, the newly overhauled Postcards from Ballona even out do the original.

    Ballona Creek

    The mural was originally designed and painted by the students at Culver City Middle School–which is located right next to the Ballona Creek bike path. The Postcards from Ballona mural features film strip scenes and photos, depicting scenes of the Ballona Creek past and present; alongside other icons and memories of people and places which hail from Culver City.

    Small Hands

    Aided with additional financial support from the Splash Water Company, Trader Joe’s, and Albert Vera & Sorrento’s Italian Market, the project took place from Sunday to Thursday. Considering the heat wave (100⁰ temperatures) we had here on Sunday and Monday, I have a great appreciation for the volunteers who endured the heat to celebrate this tribute.

    Old and New

    I’d like to thank each and every volunteer who took time from their busy schedules to help my ride and everyone else’s ride along the Ballona Creek Bike Path to make it more enjoyable. It looks great.

    As Marc over at the Welsh Scribe suggests, “No matter what topic you blog about; writing, spirituality, motivation - use Earth Day as a launch pad for your next post.”

    The Mural project was just one of many such Earth Day events that went on in Los Angeles over the course of the last week. What events were going on in your neighborhood?

    I can’t wait to share more of my Travelin’ Local bike ride alongside the Ballona Creek Bike Path today, to add to my Californian’s Want Wetlands, series about this ecological miracle inside our busy metropolis.

    Oh, and don’t forget, today is the last Friday of the month, which means it’s Car-Free Friday.

    The Third Street Promenade by Day


    Third Street Promenade is an all pedestrian street in Santa Monica, and is considered one of the premier shopping destinations in Los Angeles.

    Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean–coupled with Los Angeles’s Mediterranean climate—the Third Street Promenade draws crowds from all over the Los Angeles basin.

    The Third Street Promenade is a great example of what government, business, and a community can accomplish while working together. Until recently, the Promenade was a rather shabby part of town, filled with vacant, dilapidated storefronts.

    Third Street has been a center of business in Santa Monica since the town’s inception in the late 1800s. The Promenade’s roots date back to the 1960s, when the Santa Monica Mall was developed as an outdoor shopping promenade similar to the one known today, though less upscale in nature. By the late 1970s, it was in serious decline.

    But that all changed, in the late 80s into the 90s, when the area went through a rejuvenation that’s continuing until the present.

    After a two-year planning process to develop a new approach to the area, a 1986 bond issue to fund the project and a 1988 groundbreaking, a new and revitalized Third Street Promenade launched in September, 1989. A key driver for the economic vitality of Santa Monica, the Third Street Promenade continues to thrive 20 years after its redevelopment.

    Look Mom

    The former asphalt of old Third Street has been overlaid with hexagon-shaped tile and both ends of the avenue are now guarded by large, topiary dinosaur fountains.

    The Third Street Promenade

    Here on The Promenade you can always find a crowd of people enjoying the sunshine while visiting its upscale boutiques, trendy sidewalk cafés, and shops.

    Let's park here

    Although biking on the Promenade isn’t allowed, biking to the Promenade is the perfect way to get there. In fact, to help increase the ease of biking to and in Santa Monica, new bike racks have been installed on Second Street and the Promenade.

    Pink Ice

    Although we’re spoiled in Los Angeles because of our temperate and bountiful sunny weather, not everything in life is free—so with April’s spring showers and cleaning almost over, if you need to purchase a few items to enhance your summer, the Third Street Promenade is the perfect place to get ready and prepared to enjoy the soon upcoming summer season.

    Along with stores and restaurants including Starbucks, Pink Ice, the Gap, and several movie theaters, here’s a complete list of all the stores, eateries, and business’.

    Great Street Performers

    What I found—and everybody else–interesting and alluring about the Promenade, is that not only can I enjoy a day of shopping and walking, but on any given weekend, the streets are lined with performers; singers, musicians, dancers, and acrobats.

    After a day of walking, window shopping, and taking pictures, I’m feeling good knowing that I’m saving money, time, energy and being green, by both shopping and having a chill day vacation by Travelin’ Local.

    Torrey Pines Beach – Up Close and Personal

    This is last story from my Torrey Pines series, featuring its ocean shore.

    Although Torrey Pines was named for the pines trees that have prevailed for centuries, a major part of the park is the ocean and it’s view from the ground level.

    I’ve shown it to you from afar, but not up close and personal.

    Grandma and the Boogie Boarders

    The day I was Travelin’ Local to Torrey Pines, it was Spring Break, so the beach was busier than most normal non-summer weekdays.

    Under the careful eagle eyes of the lifeguards, this family was boogie boarding on the waves. The Grandmother, who came prepared with her big beach umbrella and snacks, was also keeping a watchful eye, as the children played in the surf.

    Cliff and Wildflowers

    In full spring blossom, the cliffs surrounding the beach presented quite a contrast between the flowers blooming against the natural color of the cliff walls. It’s amazing how much color just a simple cliff can have.

    If you look closely, you can see the “holes” in the cliff wall. I’m sure that over the centuries, the ebb and flow of the ocean waves caused these holes. I found myself wondering what they will look like in the next thousand years.

    Sand and Rock

    I took my shoes off, and made a foray into the shoreline water. Watching the play of waves, sand, and rocks has always been a fascination of mine.

    What causes the rocks to be the colors they are? What events have taken place that placed pink, black, and white to appear on this rock?

    Young Love

    The old adage that every picture tells a story, so as I wrap up this series chronicling my visit to Torrey Pines, I’ll leave you with a picture that moved me.

    These young lovers are acknowledging and appreciating the majesty of the ocean, its power and all-encompassing strength.

    Growing up in Ohio, I was very far removed from the ocean.

    And then after high school, even though I lived for the next 20+ years on the East Coast, the ocean was somewhere I went for a few vacations, only able to enjoy and appreciate it for snippets of time, but never really understanding its grace and elegance.

    Now I live only a heartbeat away from the magnificent Pacific Ocean, which I’m able to visit whenever I want. It’s become a part of me, the sound, the beat, and the rhythm. I can’t see it without being moved.

    Do you have a place of seclusion, a place of relaxation, a place of enjoyment that makes you feel this way?

    No matter whether it’s sojourning to Torrey Pines, walking high at Coldwater Canyon, going for a bicycle ride at Ballona Creek, or checking out the latest scene downtown, by Travelin’ Local the joy of visiting my “sweet spots” only make them sweeter, because I don’t have to go far, or spend a lot of money to appreciate what others around the world come here for every single day of the year.

    Please take me to the Playground


    As of 2002, two-thirds of children, 18 and under, who live in Los Angeles do not live within walking distance (which is defined as ¼ mile) of a public park, according to the study, No Place to Play, by the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation organization.

    "From a public health perspective, the benefits of parks are clear," added Dr. Linda Rosenstock, Dean of the UCLA School of Public Health. "Children who live near parks are more likely to exercise, and kids who exercise are less likely to develop a wide range of preventable diseases. More parks help create healthier kids and a healthier community." Source: California, Report Highlights LA Park Needs (CA)

    Prop 40, a Bond Issuance which passed in 2002, was enacted to build new parks, and to enhance our current park system through improvements, rehabilitation and services.

    Proposition 40 raised $1.3 billion for state and local parks and historical/cultural resources, including $70 million for the City of Los Angeles, of which, $5 million is allocated for the Hansen Dam and Sepulveda Basin recreation areas in the San Fernando Valley, with the remaining funds to be distributed for parks throughout the city on a per-capita basis.

    One particular beneficiary of the government’s funding is a park close to my home:

    Stoner Recreation Center

    I have passed by this park many times, and had seen the recent construction. However, until today, I hadn’t seen the new playground. And what a playground it is:

    Stoner Recreation Center Playground

    Put in the category of “Universal Access Playground,” Stoner Recreation Center ’s playground was designed with all children in mind.

    I wish I had a local park like this when my kids were toddlers:

    Great access

    With nice wide elevated walkways and extremely stable railings, children of all ages, and physical challenges, can access the recreation areas and equipment. There’s even a wheelchair ramp at the other end of the playground.

    What a great shovel

    Access to this cool digging shovel was from the sidewalk, so even the youngest toddlers can play and fill their truck with sand.

    I'm filling up my truck

    This little boy spent a long time first digging up the sand with the shovel on the left, raising it up the pole, dumping it on the surface, and then watched his truck being filled via the sand slide.


    These three children were enjoying the shade while digging in the sand.

    I love a good slide

    If you have children, it’s easy to picture them enjoying every minute of their time sliding down the slide or jumping on this sea horse.

    Sand and sidewalk aren’t the only types of surfaces that surround the playground—they also use a soft, cushiony material designed to keep bumps and bruises to a minimum.

    I was surprised—and very happy–to see the improvements at the Stoner Recreation Center; but even before, it was pretty good.

    More on that in an upcoming blog post…………………..:)

    I had a great time watching the kids, talking to a few of them and their parents; and enjoying a day at the park.

    Will you be heading to the park with your kids? Or maybe your kids are grown like mine, and you just enjoy the park without the worries of watching your kids. Maybe you don’t have any but dig the outdoors.

    Either way, Travelin’ Local continues to amaze and surprise me.

    Los Angeles is the Entertainment Capital of the World

    One of the great things about Los Angeles is that you never know when you’re going to literally encounter or find fantastic entertainment.

    On any given day, also, there’s a plethora of creative things to do, go, and to see.

    For example, on Wednesday, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were at the Los Angeles Sports Arena, and on Friday, I could have gone to a Andy Warhol Exhibit at the USC campus, or rocked out with Britney Spears at the Staples Center.

    For instance, the day I was at MacArthur Park, I got to check out an exciting scene of Dennis Haysbert shooting his way out of a tricky situation, during a film shoot of The Unit.

    A few days ago, I was downtown taking some pictures for an upcoming article, when I decided to do a little exploring.

    As I was walking on Figueroa Street, I suddenly heard music—the exciting mellow drawl of a proper drum downbeat, along with funky bass played along with an eclectic and electric piano.

    Of course, I stumbled upon live Jazz.

    The kind of music which lures and begs you to sit down, listen, and be entertained.

    Following my ears, I entered the 7+Fig.

    As I approached, I had no idea what this place was, however, the first thing I discovered was a local farmer’s market.

    In the heart of the city, lining one street block was several farmers, who were selling their wares to the local lunch crowd. Fruits and vegetables of all kinds were available, and lots of people were carrying bags of goodies to take home.

    The strawberries looked great, and as I was rather hungry, I bought a basket and proceeded to continue my mission, to find the source of the music.

    I didn’t have to go too far, because right around the corner from the Farmer’s Market was an escalator beckoning me toward the sound that was enchanting me.

    From there, I found an open air food court with live lunch time music.

    So I went down for a closer look, grabbed a nice table to sit and enjoy my strawberries, and listened to the band. Then I leaned back, and let the music do its work. Although, I wasn’t the only one enjoying the jazz lunch entertainment, I think I was the only one that had a camera.

    The percussionist is Mr. Phil Beale. He’s not only a drummer, but also an instructor, arranger, and clinician.

    The group’s keyboardist is, Mr. Edell Shepherd, who is also a producer and arranger.

    Although surrounded by Los Angeles’ iconic skylines, I was in a world all its own–with 3 floors of shops, restaurants, and several other businesses–7+Fig is a great place for a relaxing lunch no matter where you work, or where you live.

    When Travelin’ Local, there’s always somewhere to go, or something do. Whether you want to go to Malibu for lunch, or enjoy an Espresso at a quiet café in West Hollywood, the world is your oyster, or in Los Angeles, the city is your pearl.

    Here, in the Entertainment Capital of the world, I can listen to some cool jazz, finish my workday, and head home all within a few hours of time.

    Just another day in paradise, what else can I say, expect for my next story!

    City Center Rocks Los Angeles

    What was once only a dream not too long ago is now reshaping downtown Los Angeles–culturally, physically, musically, economically, and communally.

    On May 15th, 2002, the LA City Council established the City Center Redevelopment Project Area, and with each new building completed, it’s becoming a major destination point for entertainment, sports, industry, hotel, office, music, television, recording arts and sciences, and commerce for greater Los Angeles.

    The 879 acre City Center Project incorporates three major sub-areas within the downtown Los Angeles area:  the Historic Downtown, South Park, and the City Markets

    The City Center is just one part of a multi-faceted master plan to revitalize, redevelop, and reclaim the vibrancy of Los Angeles’ urban landscape and life.

    In fact, the downtown Los Angeles grand plan not only includes the City Center, but also Bunker Hill, Central Business District, Central Industrial, Chinatown, Council District 9 Corridors, and Little Tokyo areas, for a total of 5474 acres.

    5,474 acres? That’s a lot of real estate!

    Part of the City Center Project, the Staples Center Arena plays host to about 250 events per year, with at least 4,000,000 attendees.

    It’s currently the home of two NBA teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, and the National Hockey League team, the Los Angeles Kings.

    Next to the Staples Center is the Los Angeles Convention Center, one of the largest convention centers in the United States with over 720,000 sq ft of exhibition space, 147,000 sq ft of meeting space, and a 299 seat theater.

    I determined just how large it was after walking around for awhile.

    Across the street from both the Staples Center and the Los Angeles Convention Center is the newest addition to these few city blocks:

    LA Live

    The Nokia Theatre, an indoor venue, was the first part of LA Live to be completed.

    Below is the Nokia Plaza, a 40,000-square-foot open-air plaza, which serves as the main core for L.A. Live, which recently hosted LA’s Earth Hour.

    An additional part of the total complex which was recently completed is the ESPN studios, which officially opened on April 6th, 2009.

    Around the corner is the Grammy Museum–which specializes in Grammy history.

    The Grammy Walk of Fame is located on the sidewalks surrounding the building.

    Under construction is the 54–story, 1,001 room Ritz-Carlton two-hotel hybrid, directly north of the Staples Center.

    Being an advocate of Mass Transit, I took the Metro Rapid 728 bus both ways today.

    It was smooth sailing.

    My visit still has more to tell, but I thoroughly enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Staples Center and LA Live, and can’t wait to go back to watch an upcoming concert and Lakers Game.

    Until then, I’ll be smiling knowing how many more years of fun I’ll be having while Travelin’ Local, and bringing my slice of paradise in Southern California to the wider world.

    A Solar powered Ferris Wheel?

    After researching the history of the Santa Monica Pier, I was fascinated by its history, in particular, its Ferris Wheel.

    Since my days of growing up in the shadow of Cedar Point, I have long been a fan of amusement parks, and Ferris Wheels in particular.

    With the slow ride to the top, riders are afforded unique sights and scenes like no other, and the Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier is no exception.

    In May of 2008, Pacific Park revitalized the Ferris Wheel at the park. They removed the old one that since 1996, had provided over 3 million rides, and was seen in hundreds of movies, TV shows, photographs, and commercials.

    Santa Monica’s new Ferris Wheel, appropriately named the Pacific Wheel, is the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel.

    Its 85ft high, contains over 6,000 multi-colored bulbs, and can produce 16 special effect light shows.

    Interesting fact:

    When Pacific Park decided to revamp the old Ferris Wheel, they didn’t just throw the old Ferris Wheel away–instead, they auctioned it off on eBay, with the bids starting at $50,000, and half of the sale proceeds given to the Special Olympics.

    In its last 10 minutes of bidding, the price jumped $50,000, with a final price of $132,400.

    As summer approaches, many families will be heading to their local amusement park for a day of fun, rides, food, and Travelin’ Local.

    Do you like riding Ferris wheel’s? It’s a time honored American tradition. Many families have a favorite local amusement park.

    Of course, when Travelin’ Local in Southern California, we have Six Flags Magic Mountain, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farms, Legoland, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, and a myriad of other places to go and things to do.

    I love seeing kid’s faces as they ride a Ferris Wheel for the first time; or when older people relive memories and create new ones, doing the same.

    Do you have a favorite Ferris Wheel in your area? Do you have plans this summer to visit a local amusement park?

    Torrey Pines, Dolphins, and another day in San Diego

    When we last left Torrey Pines, I was at the top, looking in all directions.

    A few yards down from the trail, I saw that several people were looking out at the ocean; so of course, being the naturally curious person I am, I stopped to see what they were looking at.

    Low and behold, as you can see here, dolphins were frolicking in the midday ocean’s sun and were having a swim. Although, they were pretty far from the shore, you can clearly see one of the dolphin’s fins peaking out. Needless to say, I was very excited because I had never seen one in its natural habitat.

    The coastal strip of San Diego is more than a hundred miles long, and with its Mediterranean climate of mild wet winters, and warm dry summers, results in a long growing season, and probably the best weather anywhere in the world.

    San Diego’s average temperatures, range from a January minimum of 45F, to an August maximum of 80F, with a yearly average of 62F!

    Hey, Life’s a Beach.

    The majority of rainfall comes during the winter and early spring, with a seasonal average of less than 10 inches.

    The salt marsh, pictured above on the right, is a highly productive ecosystem—,creating an extremely important wildlife habitat. It serves as both a nursery for fish and shellfish and a feeding and nesting ground for resident and migratory birds.

    BTW, my car is parked in the little strip located to the left of North Torrey Pines Road, so my walk was literally onto Torrey Pines, which is seen from this mountaintop looking north.

    Located to the south are Blacks beach and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography pier.

    This woman and her companions were using one of the most interesting “Wheelchairs” I had ever seen.

    I talked to Susan for a few minutes, and she told me that she was a “Guinea Pig” for this particular model, and loved it. And it’s obvious why:

    As you can see from the picture–it’s a beach wheelchair. Amazingly, although it took a little bit of effort to get it onto the hill, once there, I was very impressed with its ability to move on the trail.

    Its maneuverability was fantastic as opposed to a traditional wheelchair; which for all intents and purposes, would’ve been near impossible to navigate here; it didn’t get stuck in the sand, and easily afforded her the ability to go where she couldn’t have gone in a normal chair.

    I love this idea and I know that Susan did, too; because she told me!

    As I turned and reached the final corner facing the beach, I suddenly found myself enclosed in a harbor of pines—, glorious and stunning.

    Torrey Pines

    This pine is probably the remnant of an ancient coastal forest which has been reduced during the drying period of the last ten thousand years to the sandy soils of the sandstone bluffs and ravines of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Santa Rosa Island. Extensive root systems and blankets of summer fog help the Torrey pine survive and thrive. The continuous winds cause the pines to grow twisted and gnarled creating a blanket of shade for the travelers on the trail.

    As my Travelin’ Local sojourn takes me back to Los Angeles, I’ll leave you with this picture. The mixture of deadwood and new wildflowers fascinated me.

    Buried in the sand together–the visual contrast between the dead pines and the new yellow flowers is quite striking.

    For another look at Torrey Pines, be sure to check out Kevin’s recent visit over at his blog, Kevin Oke Photography. He took ordinary sights and converted them to artwork. It’s definitely worth a look.

    San Diego, Torrey Pines, and the next place to Travelin’ Local, will always be etched into my memory. But as for reminiscing, I’m already plottin’ and plannin’ my next local cool spot to visit.

    Veterans for Peace, Arlington West, and their Tribute for our Troops

    Every Sunday for the last five years, Veterans for Peace have created the stunning tribute for our troops entitled, “Arlington West.”

    It’s physically located on the north side of the Santa Monica Pier.

    Quoting directly from the Veterans for Peace Statement of Purpose, the Arlington West Mission Statement is:

    • to honor the fallen and wounded
    • to provide a place to grieve
    • to acknowledge the human cost of war
    • to encourage dialogue among people with varied points of view
    • to educate the public about the needs of those returning from war.

    It’s overwhelming to see the crosses lined up:

    The myriad of personal messages left by individuals here put into perspective just how many soldiers have given their lives for the cause of freedom, which we too often take for granted.

    While I was under the white tent pictured above, I talked with one of the members of the Veterans for Peace. I asked him what the symbolism and significance of the red crosses were.

    He schooled me real good:

    As the number of our American serviceman casualties increases daily, each red cross represents 10 deaths.

    The flag draped coffins with the blue crosses in the first picture, represent those who’ve lost their life just in the last week.

    As you recall, I when I visited Westwood not too long ago, I encountered a Military Funeral at the Los Angeles National Cemetery.

    Because I lived in the Washington, D.C. area for many years, I’ve been to Arlington Cemetery numerous times.

    Seeing the rows and columns of the headstones of our fallen soldiers, graphically puts into both visual and symbolic form the reality of the cost of war.

    Arlington West left an even larger impression on me because of the simplicity of the crosses in the sand. The idea and act of human hands, each implanting a cross, all lined up in perfect rows, sent a shiver of reality down my spine.

    So even while I was at the Santa Monica Pier, for fun in the sun, Travelin’ Local, frequently, can also mean finding remembrance in my heart.

    How about your neighborhood? When you’re Travelin’ Local do you encounter things that “bring a tinge of sorrow?”

    Travelin’ Local visits The Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona

    Tess Marshall, of The Bold Life, was gracious to share one of the favorite spots in her neighborhood for today’s Guest Post—the Desert Botanical Garden. Tess is a remarkable and accomplished businesswoman, life coach, psychologist, author, mother, wife, grandmother, and natural bon-vivant.

    She embodies exactly the motto that she lives by and promotes:

    “Take Action and Make Things Happen”

    By all means I encourage everybody to check out Tess’ blog, her services, and her expertise in the field of life-coaching.

    Without further adieu, I give the online floor to Tess:

    One of my favorite places to "be" in Arizona is The Desert Botanical Garden where you will find 139, rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the world, exquisitely exhibited on 50 acres.

    Currently the DBG is hosting an exhibition by Dale Chihuly, featuring 15 new and unique works of glass sculpture. Dale’s work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide and has been referred to as "liquid light."

    The colors and shapes of the glass entwined with the plant material and the play of light make the Garden’s trail a magical place to meander.

    I found the exhibit to be mesmerizing, spectacular and breath taking.

    My first visit was with my good friend Pat Wallace and later with my grandchildren, pictured above, who were visiting from Michigan on their spring break.

    Chihuly’s signature "Sun" sculpture wows and welcomes visitors at the entrance to the Desert Botanical Garden.

    "Red Chandelier" from Chihuly’s chandelier collection. Personally I find his sculpture "fun and happy."

    Chihuly says his work is really "play." I believe it.

    "Blue and Purple Float Boat," a study in cobalt blue and violet anchored in the sand guarded by a dessert tree."

    Glass Yuccas tower over the agaves, shining by day and sparkling at night. My final visit to the exhibit will be with my husband in the evening. I’ve heard some of the glass is even more spectacular then.

    Prickly pear cacti stand watch over "Mirrored Hornets".

    Chihuly’s exhibit runs through May 31, 2009 so visit soon and you will not only be enchanted by the incredible beauty and peaceful nature of the gardens but by the colorful joys of the glass exhibit as well. Located in Phoenix, The Desert Botanical Garden is nationally and internationally renowned for its educational programs, research and plant collections. Reservations to view the exhibit are necessary.

    San Diego, Torrey Pines, and a Trail

    A friend invited me to share Passover Seder at their house in beautiful San Diego.

    Of course, I brought myself, my appetite, and my Nikon.

    So I graciously accepted her invitation, and after the evening sunset, when the Seder began, and dinner had been served, I was already contemplating my next sojourn for Travelin’ Local.

    Although I’ve been to San Diego a couple of times, I haven’t explored the city that much. However, I soon found myself high upon the mountain bluffs of the Torrey Pines State Reserve, with its splendorous views of both the ocean and the city.

    And what a find it was–starting at the bottom:

    I climbed up the hill to the

    And around the first bend:

    This picture is representative of the majestic and grandeur of the unblemished Pacific Ocean at Torrey Pines.

    The Torrey Pines are trees that were planted over a hundred years ago and are prevalent and plentiful in this area—aptly named Torrey Pines.

    The US Open Golf Tour also holds an annual world famous Golf Tournament.

    As I stood on the trail on the right, overlooking the sights and sounds of the Pacific Ocean, I was anticipatory of what was coming next–but that still didn’t prepare me the new sights yet to come my way.

    As this path wound around the hill, nature had its way of reminding me of who’s boss:

    After passing under this deadwood archway, I encountered this sight to behold:

    La Jolla may be the Jewel of the World—literally—but Torrey Pines is a friend for life—every moment there was joyous and wondrous, and by the time I was finished with my visit, I snapped at least 200 pictures.

    Again, my destination is foretold by the people standing on the platform above, but before we get to the peak, I thought that this was an interesting part of the area’s history and folklore:

    “Dead Pines: The tree skeletons are all that remains from a severe drought and bark beetle outbreak in the mid 1960’s.” Even in death, life begins anew.

    Once I reached the vantage point, I took pictures in all different directions:

    Looking to my left

    Looking straight down

    Off to my right.

    As it’s literally impossible to capture all of Torrey Pines in one story, I’ll share the rest with you later this week.

    I encountered dolphins, wildflowers, the Salt Marsh, and as mentioned above, the Torrey Pine trees–the most restricted and rarest pines in North America.

    Do you have plans for Easter Sunday? No matter what your celebration may be, every day is special and a holiday, with new and exciting places to go and see while Travelin’ Local.

    Wishing all of you a Happy Holiday.

    Sun and Fun at the Santa Monica Pier

    Millions of people from all around the world have enjoyed one of California’s most famous landmarks, the Santa Monica Pier.

    Although it was slated for demolition in 1973, the community rallied to save it, only to have Mother Nature destroy about ⅓ of its length in 1983 during a huge ocean storm.

    And, just like before, the community “rallied around the Santa Monica Pier” to garner and to ensure that it would be a testament to Santa Monica, and it was rejuvenated again–as a result, the Pier was rebuilt, bigger and better than ever before.

    With the addition of the Pacific Park in 1996, the Santa Monica Pier, as it now stands today, is host to over 4 million visitors annually. And get ready, on September 9th, 2009, the Pier will be celebrating its 100thAnniversary with its fist large-scale fireworks spectacular in 18 years!

    For a free day of fun in the sun, these are some activities that people perennially enjoy while at the Santa Monica Pier–let’s check it out:

    As you can see, the Pier is definately a crowd pleaser.

    Pacific Park

    Rides for the entire family

    The Trapeze School of New York

    The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

    This gentleman’s name is Goldman, for obvious reasons. When I talked to him, he was very excited about his work, and can be found performing on pretty much any day of the week at the Pier.

    I was fascinated while watching these fishermen. Each has their own technique, paraphernalia, and style.


    And, of course, swimming.

    Typically, there’s so much to do and see at the beach. The Santa Monica Pier is definitely a great place to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon, or the whole day.

    And as I was taking this picture, I was thinking about Lisa in Wisconsin…………..:) It was pretty warm this day–in the mid 80⁰’s. It felt like we skipped right over spring and landed into summer. Indeed I think we have, by gosh!

    What are your plans for this Easter weekend? I hope that your weekend is loaded with fun, sun, family, and entertainment, as you’re Travelin’ Local.

    Bikes and Mass Transit are changing Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, like many other cities worldwide, is trying to implement across-the-board alternative modes of eco- friendly transportation and mass transit, to improve our quality of life.

    In Southern California, all new mass transit and strategies for transportation improvement, must also take into account their costs, economies of scale, and environmental impacts that any new program will have upon the health, safety, and welfare of its residents.

    Because of our very temperate climate, Los Angeles has more transit alternatives than colder cities–namely bikes.

    Yes, you heard it right, bicycling!

    Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?

    Unfortunately, too much money is going to road/parking projects and not enough to bike/mass transit projects. Here are some examples:

  • Never realized - 1996-2002 LA citywide bicycle master plan: $60 Million

  • Repaving 3 Miles of the 710 Freeway: $75 Million
  • Average annual costs of Los Angeles auto accidents: $10.5 billion
  • Construction of a single car parking space in a multilevel garage: $7,000+
  • Per bicycle parking space on a typical U-wave rack: $50+ Source: GaryRidesBikes
  • Because it’s no longer sustainable to have a city based on car travel only, what was once thought only a pipe-dream just a short while ago is quickly becoming at least a possibility.

    Most U.S. cities are implementing a combination of mass transit, increased bicycle usage, and walker friendly communities as its transportation base.

    In fact, based on The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more than $46 billion for transportation projects has been approved for California, which includes more than $17 billion specifically earmarked for increasing public transportation.

    What types of Mass Transit do they want to implement?

    Projects highlighted in the report include:

  • High-speed rail linking northern and southern California
  • The Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Project
  • Subway service along Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles
  • Downtown connector between Los Angeles subway lines
  • San Diego Trolley expansion to University City
  • New downtown transit centers in San Francisco and Anaheim
  • Perris Valley Line in Riverside County
  • Bus rapid transit service in cities from San Diego to Oakland
  • Caltrain upgrades between San Jose and San Francisco
  • Light rail expansion in Sacramento to the airport and south of the city Source:CIRPRIG

  • Currently, from a total of Los Angeles County’s 6,400 miles of surface streets, only 481 miles of that have bike lanes and many these aren’t safe. Like the bike lane on Santa Monica Blvd–cars have to cross over a bike lane when they turn right.

    Photo by BikePortland

    Photo by BikePortland

    Another great alternative to bike lanes would be bike sharrows–a painted bike icon with at least two chevrons painted on top. Sharrows let drivers and bikers know that the right lane is shared by both. They are a reasonable and cost effective way to add more miles dedicated for bicycle transportation, and could easily be placed on many of our city’s streets with very little expense.

    Riding the Metro and bike commuting go hand in hand. Of course, you don’t have to combine both, but if greater distances are required, combining a partnership of alternative transportation is optimal.

    All LA metro buses now have bike racks on their fronts, which are capable of holding two bikes. Folding bikes can be brought onto the bus or train. Currently, the only drawback is that no bikes are allowed on subway trains during rush hour.

    What is one of the cost benefits of providing more bike friendly facilities?

    It’s estimated that the savings per mile, in terms of reducing congestion, are $.13 in urban areas, $.08 cents a mile in suburban areas, and $.01 cent per mile in towns and rural areas. Now, if you take the number of residents in LA, 10,363,850, multiplied by the average number of miles driven, 23 miles, and then multiplied that number by $.13, you’ll see a savings of $30,987,912 annually.

    That money can be used for additional investments into bike infrastructure.

    Can it be done?

    Yes. It’s already being done in cities across the USA including:

    Davis, California
    Portland, Oregon
    Palo Alto, California
    Tucson/Pima Eastern Region, Arizona
    Boulder, Colorado
    Corvallis, Oregon

    These are just a few examples of what happens when communities, business, and government come together to accomplish a goal. It takes time, money, and energy to implement solutions to vexing problems, but Los Angeles has these in droves.

    I don’t usually get into policy or political issues here on Travelin’ Local, but alternative transportation is something I firmly believe in.

    Hey, California, a car isn’t the only way to get around anymore.

    Creating infrastructure for bicycles isn’t about the money, our costs are cheap comparatively, it’s about political will.”

    Ocean View Farms, a Community Garden and City Oasis

    On Saturday, I spent the morning learning how to grow tomatoes at Ocean View Farms (OVF).

    What is Ocean View Farms?

    It is among the largest of more than 70 community gardens in Los Angeles County, with over 300 gardeners, ranging in age from 18 to 90.

    Working in 500 garden plots, OVF is a vibrant community spanning all races and income levels.

    During the morning conference, I heard a discussion about DWP’s new watering restriction hours and in another, I listened intently about which current crops are now being grown.

    What originally began as an open field which once only grew soy beans; today Ocean View Farms is the preeminent authority and haven for growing tomatoes in Los Angeles.

    The 5th Annual Tomato-bration

    Presented by the esteemed tomato grower, Barbara Spencer, from the Windrose Farm in Paso Robles, it was an exciting class about tomato growing. She provided valuable tips, and how-to’s on her expertise. After giving a background on the various tomato plants she brought–both seedlings and plugs–she opened the floor for questions.

    With an audience of over 50 aficionados, there was no shortage of questions–from how to deal with limited water access, how best to feed tomato plants, and the best ways to prune them.

    Before the program started, I had a chance to walk through the various paths that intertwined through the garden plots.

    Everyone has their own individual style for growing:

    Mailboxes, scarecrows, flowers, vegetables, fruits, a chair to relax in, and various gardening paraphernalia decorated each plot.

    Here are some examples:

    If you didn’t guess, this last picture is a rhubarb plant. When I was a kid, we grew rhubarb in our backyard. And to this day I think that Strawberry Rhubarb is the best pie ever. After seeing this and several other rhubarb plants brought an incredible stream of memories for me.

    The Ocean View Farms composting program

    OVF also has a very active composting program.

    In 2003, 180 tons of shredded soft green waste, 900 cubic yards of woody material and 80 tons of stable waste were combined by Ocean View Farms to produce a virtually unlimited supply of compost for their 300 members who tend about 500 garden plots.

    The Ocean View Farms composting program has saved its garden approximately $10,000 per year in disposal fees for the last seven years.

    In fact, OVF’s composting program is so successful; it’s won the Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) eleven years straight. WRAP provides an opportunity for California businesses to gain public recognition for their outstanding waste reduction efforts, and helps the business community to take waste reduction seriously.

    Do you plant a garden? Have you ever thought about joining a community garden? What plants bring back memories for you?

    I continue to be amazed at all the great places I find by Travelin’ Local.

    A Boy and a Wave

    Ok Mr. Wave, I’m comin’ to getcha!

    ~Crying Loudly~

    Mom, Mr. Wave knocked me over.

    Ok, I’m gonna to try this again.

    Oh yeah, this is cool!!

    Mom, did you see me? Did you see me? I did it!!

    Working around the Neighborhood

    As the news grinds on and on about the “Global Financial” crisis, and other sundry “Sky is Falling” warnings, today I decided to walk around my neighborhood to capture everyday people just working, and found that more often than not, it’s business as usual.

    This gentleman’s name is MacClinton. I talked with him for a few minutes, and inquired whether he liked his work. Indeed, he’s been directing traffic for a few years. I didn’t want to take too much of his time because he was literally in the midst of decreasing the gridlock Los Angeles often suffers from.

    Next, I came upon a construction crew about to finish their day of working. As you can see by their long sleeves, today wasn’t too hot, but I’m sure when summer rolls around, they’ll be wearing T-shirts. (See, we do have chilly weather here, even in LA.)

    I’m not sure what this gentleman is looking for; maybe he dropped his hammer. If he did, he has a long climb down because he’s working on the fifth floor.

    Working across the street from a local elementary school, this gentleman sells his snacks. On this particular day, this customer purchased an ear of grilled corn which looked very tasty. Plus, who can resist mango on a stick?

    I’m glad that’s not me, because I wouldn’t want to carry this washer and dryer unit up any stairs. It might be strapped to that dolly, but that doesn’t mean it won’t tip over.

    This gentleman was sitting outside the local senior center. I think he was a door monitor.  As soon as he saw me, he told me about a photographer he knew who had recently passed away.  He had great respect for her and her craft. I asked her name, but he couldn’t remember it.  He loved sitting at his post while I took his picture.

    Sometimes the dichotomy between what we hear and what we know, is often the case,  especially as we explore and are Travelin’ Local through our neighborhoods to find that many people are striving to always make our lives just a little bit better.