Laid Back West Coast Living

29 Dec

We slept in this morning! I know that probably doesn’t sound very exciting, but we have been getting up at 5 or 6 am every day and driving 8-12 hours, so sleeping as late as we wanted was a big deal.

The other nice perk is that we didn’t try to cram 500 things into the day. We purposely scheduled a nice, 4-day interlude in L.A. to rest and recoup for the long drive home, so while we’re definitely sightseeing, we’re doing it at a much more leisurely pace. Getting into the west coast spirit, if you will.

Around lunchtime we backtracked through Pasadena to photograph a few of the signs we passed coming in last evening but couldn’t photograph because it was too dark. They are busy preparing for the Rose Parade and there are banners and bleachers all over town. Pasadena has some great architecture including the craftsman style bungalows they are famous for, but also some nice art deco stuff.

Another couple of firsts for me found in Pasadena: a psychic sign that may be painting-worthy, and a model train sign. I especially love how the psychic put a registration mark on the drawing of a palm – I guess because it includes a “business” line. We also found a great surplus sign that is begging to be painted.

I don’t know why, but around this area we have found so many great neon liquor store signs. I could easily make a show of just liquor stores if I wanted to.

We met Abby for lunch at her favorite local bakery and then she drove us around the rose bowl where there were hundreds of people lined up to get a glimpse of the rose parade floats which are under assembly now. The parade is a huge disruption to traffic around the city and a real annoyance to the locals. She also took us to several nearby neighborhoods so we could get a feel for the area. It was nice to be the passenger for a while and be able to look around without having to pay attention to traffic. One of the great things she took us by is the Rialto Theater. Everything on the front of the building is carved wood and it’s just gorgeous. The photo doesn’t do it justice.

This evening Abby had plans to see a friend perform in the Nutcracker, so JJ & I headed downtown to MOCA – the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is – yay! – free on Thursdays. The museum is smallish but has some nice pieces in their permanent collection including an entire room full of Rothko works. The special exhibit was something we both really enjoyed. It was a photographer named Weegee, who was a self-invented personality in the 50s and sort of the first paparazzi, but with a twist. He not only photographed the movie stars, he photographed the reaction of the crowd at premiers and general life in L.A. in the 50s. It was interesting to see how much of what he was doing in the 50s influenced other, later artists in other media and dovetails into our idea of celebrity today. Here’s a link to some info about the exhibit and a few examples of  his work if you’re interested:http://www.moca.org/audio/blog/?p=2495

After the museum we toured the Little Tokyo area downtown and then headed back toward Abby’s neighborhood. We had a great meal at an Italian place called Maximiliano’s that just opened up in Highland Park. Everything was delicious, but the highlight was dessert – olive oil ice cream with salted caramel topping. Yum! We briefly discussed heading back to Beauty Foot Massage but decided to take a day off lest we develop a dangerous habit.

Tomorrow we’re planning to be slightly less lazy and get up early to drive the rest of Route 66 out to Santa Monica. I’m excited to see what we will find along the way and to visit the famous pier at the end of the route. Of course I will be posting updates.

-d

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