behold a sudden glimpse of 1920s continental europe

darlings

one (of the many) secret(s) to a glorious life is to Get There Very Early.

where?

you ask.

(did you? we do hope so)

Anywhere, love. 

anywhere at All

just get there very early – sort of over-an-hour-early, preferably 90 minutes because That’s the perfect amount of time to go for a walk, admire the view, take photographs of the Ocean (if one is nearby), browse a flower stall, stand in a town-square-in-full-sunshine-spirit and have a quick omelette with a green salad and a skim latte.

which is what we did today. 

because who-we-are-in-RL had a consulting “gig” in Palos Verdes so we drove down super-early (as they say here in sunny california with a little moue and a shoulder dip and and eyes wide open as opposed to that Kubrick film with Mr. T. Cruise and Ms. Kidman which was called Eyes Wide Shut – awfully confusing – probably a Metaphor, no doubt)

and LOOK!

continental europe circa early 1920s if we’re not mistaken!

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get There (anywhere) Very Early (which means being awfully disciplined about Time and saying no to things you just don’t want to do) by setting out at an early hour and perhaps you, too, will stumble across a glimpse into 1920s continental europe.

we’ve said it before but the Nicest thing about California (apart from the general friendliness of its population) is that it might “look” like 1920s continental europe – and it may even have been designed around the Same Time – but, it’s sunny all-year-round. 

which is delicious.

probably not that great for Poets (we heard they prefer the general gloom and malaise of more northern climes in order to summon up from the deep realms of spirit a cry of pain, nay anguish that transmutes the human condition into something so very beautiful). 

but fantastic for the rest of us. 

even if we have to Crop (a lot) to cut out the bits we don’t like. 

and we don’t just mean in photographs.

*looktocamera4*

entering into the deep silence with a tiny bit of apprehension.

darlings

we have RETURNED from our new year’s Contemplatives Retreat!

it’s not for Everyone (and as we pulled up the driveway and saw the Others arriving in their ecologically-appropriate cars with snappy slogans on bumper stickers we Had to wonder if it was for Us, to be perfectly Honest)

“The call to the creative life is a call to dignity, to a life of vulnerability and adventure and the call to a life that exquisite excitement and indeed ecstasy will often visit.”
― John O’Donohue

but, you know, it was delicious.

we Entered the Deep silence (as one of our spirit-filled-teachers at the Retreat sonorously urged us to do post-banging of a small Gong) to say goodbye to the last day of 2013 and great the fresh new 2014-ness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthere was lots of Walking, eating nutritious meals, early to bed, early to rise and all that good stuff, lectures, a LOT of meditation (we’ve never been so contemplative for so long) and some bonhomie before chapel (we skipped out of that bit – it was Late and there’s only so much bonhomie that one knows how to do while wearing a name tag under one’s Pashmina).

“The call to the creative life is a call to dignity, to a life of vulnerability and adventure and the call to a life that exquisite excitement and indeed ecstasy will often visit.”
― John O’Donohue

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we paid a Supplement for a single room because we used to do “dorms” but our memories of schooldays sadly faded with the reality of No Trunks, Matron or lights out or the rustle of a mint-in-a-wrapper passed surreptitiously to the next bunk.

quiet and rustic – in the middle of a grove of ancient live oaks.

we wrote for a while and then tried to sleep.

“The world rests in the night.”
― John O’DonohueAnam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

ah.

but what Nobody tells you about deep contemplation and Quiet and rest and Silence and HOURS of Meditation is that one becomes so still, so completely emptied Out of the quotidian worries and distractions that – well – *nervouslookoffcamera* – It is a Bit Scary, to be honest.

there’s a reason why all those distractions exist, you see.

“May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love.”
― John O’DonohueAnam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

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“This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.

Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.”
― John O’DonohueTo Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

all we can say is This:

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we have returned from the Contemplatives Retreat at a (former) convent nestled in the live oaks of california – speak softly ;)

 

we shall r e t u r n.

who-we-are-in-RL is on a consulting “gig” (as the pros call it we’ve heard, darlings)

Not on the Moon image

(Although this picture looks a bit like a space station doesn’t it? Like that nice Ms. Sandie Bullock was on just recently).

But somewhere that is Very close to somewhere pretty and when she said too tired to drive back…..

We asked Mr. Expedia to find a Room and tomorrow we shall awake refreshed and excited to see the beach where our friend Marilyn (in a virtual sense obviously although she would have been such a delight to spend time with)frolicked with Mr. Tony Curtis and Mr. Jack Lemmon when they were in dresses for Part of the time.

Yes.

We’re there.

And it’s d i v i n e.

*swoons*

hello, carlsbad: land of mystical dragon shops and movies nights at the fountain

darlings

we’re in Carlsbad!

who-we-are-in-RL is doing some Consulting nearby tomorrow and the Traffic is INSANE in the mornings from L.A so we packed up the car…….

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after a leisurely morning – – – 25da5ae40da111e38d6622000a1fbc43_7and headed South – pausing at a few stops along the way………

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stopping at Dana Point for lunch in the harbo(u)r. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and taking a long walk around the harbo(u)r walls admiring the boats (a surprising number of the boats are called Princess Di or Lady Di so we’re assuming a fairly healthy number of Anglophiles – or perhaps Royal Followers)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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or rich Queens (always a good sign when the local shop that sells Perrier has a chandelier).

after lunch we got back in the Perfectly (Silver) Prius and continued on the road, listening mostly to the Tunes of our Youth (and yes, singing most happily down Highway 1)

until we reached Carlsbad.

we did this before nightfall but didn’t get a chance to take pictures until after dark – people to see and so on and so forth (we forgot that the nights are drawing in and sunset was Earlier than the last time we were south of the Orange Curtain). 
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Carlsbad is adorable.

it is, as you probably already know, named after the Jewel of the West Bohemian Spa Triangle. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

but we were more interested in the strange and mystical dragon shops (twas closed but next time, darlings)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and much frivolity coming out of the restaurants along the twinkle-lined streets and an enticing view of a forthcoming music festival

*lookspotentlytocamera* we love music (and musicians). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

sadly we missed The Princess Bride which was playing by the Fountain in the village (we ADORE that movie).

and now we must s l e e p………a busy day ahead tomorrow.

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goodnight darlings.

have you ever been to carlsbad?

any recommendations for a place to sip tea late afternoon?

we’ll ask around.

but we thought we’d also ask You.

*winningsmile*

happy friday.

darlings

happy friday.

we are Too Too Tired to Type – and we are Expected somewhere with our work-face on in an hour or so – but we have returned to Los Angeles and had a Most Delicious time south of Oceanside and then North of Malibu (yes, it was a LONG drive home) where we were given hot mint tea to sip and a view of the sunset for the second day in a row but 100 miles in the Opposite Direction.

but life is good.

delicious, in fact.

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this was the cloudy view Very Early yesterday morning (we awoke at 5.45 and headed out in the car shortly after dawn) as we took a constitutional on the Beach before we needed to be Smart and Alert to support who-we-are-in-RL during her (most interesting) Day…….

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and then – MANY hours later – we drove back up to Los Angeles and across to Malibu for an evening’s engagement up high in the Canyons (not the Joni Mitchell Canyon) but another one that climbs and climbs and climbs up to a Very High Elevation *vaguelooktocamera*)9b408fda00ac11e3904e22000a1f928e_7

thankfully there was hot mint tea and friendly faces (not shown) at the top and we stayed until nightfall making it very carefully down the Canyon again feeling kind and happy and rather sleepy so we stopped in at a late night cafe in pacific palisades and had a little snack to make sure we got home safely.

and now it’s friday.

isn’t that splendid?

what will You be doing first thing Saturday morning?

visual descriptions most welcome (if they’re pretty – you know we like pretty visuals).

hello, oceanside

darlings

who-we-are-in-RL has a Very Important set of Business Meetings tomorrow about 100 miles south of where we reside and so she decided to leave Early and spend the night in Oceanside before we continue on the Journey in the morning.

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we had a delicious experience of yummy mexican food fine dining.


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according to the Very Helpful visitor’s guide:

San Diego’s North Shore, Oceanside is a classic California beach community with its warm sandy beaches, historic wooden pier and Cape Cod-style harbor village complete with unlimited water sports and recreation. Offering a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle, visitors still experience the casual spirit that made Southern California’s beach culture legendary.

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there were lots of friendly people to talk to which is always nice. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

people actually gather at the Ocean to watch the sun set (isn’t that b e a u t i f u l?)
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more from the Visitor’s guide:

With its year round sunny climate, and average temperature of 70 degrees, Oceanside’s weather has been rated by USA Today as the second most ideal climate in the United States, and the fifth most ideal weather in the world.*

hello?

who makes these decisions?

*FIFTH?

where are the Other Places?

this is paradise, people!

(sadly the clever search algorithm at USA Today could not illuminate us further – if you have the List – would you send it our way? Most Kind)

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we have a particular fondness for train tracks at twilight, especially one that has been here since the Railroad arrived in 1882.

*wistfullooktocamera*

don’t you wonder where this train track goes?

wonder no longer, darlingsOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand don’t you just Adore a Pier?

if you’re curious about the history of Oceanside there’s more here.

we would stick around to tell you about the Pier and the cultural amusements therein but we must get down to some engaging cultural experiences (yes, there’s a TV here and we don’t have one at teamgloria towers).

*yawns*

goodnight from oceanside.

see you tomorrow.


btw, as the young people say, your skin looks glow-y – new cream? gosh – or are you in Love? both? blimey.

a tiny moment of parisian heaven in studio city.

darlings

we were in Studio City at teatime, interviewing a very glamorous person for an upcoming column (you may have guessed, yes, we’re stockpiling articles because we’re about to start on a New Project as who-we-are-in-RL and get Terribly Busy) and There it was – – – –

– beauteousness

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and about five chandeliers.

in a shop called “swag”.

we stopped dead in our tracks and slipped inside and in a reverie sought out the owner (a certain Diane Peiffer, interiors expert/designer/collector/genius for the last thirty years in this Tinseltown) and said (in a hushed whisper so we didn’t disturb the chandeliers)

may we take pictures?

and she said yes.

so here they are – isn’t it a GORGEOUS place?!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhite and creme floaty fabric roses for a Décolletage on a sumptuous ballgown.

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so – we asked Diane – as we floated around the shop taking photographs –

how often do you go to Paris on purchasing trips?

there was a pause.

Diane smiled.

I’ve never actually been to Paris.

*gosh*

but everything in here is so-very-Parisian!

we said, with delicate confusion, and surprise – the entire shop was a tiny corner of Parisian late 18th century boudoir-gloriousness.

my grandmother was French……..

said Diane.

clearly it’s in your blood

we smiled.

and it Is.

there’s no way someone without French blood could put together that particular combination of glittering lustre, gilt mirrors, cherubs, crosses-be-jewel(l)ed and a low glow as if from candlelight behind a Chinoiserie screen a la Madame Chanel.

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there was even this adorable glimpse into 1930s english “gels”. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

now this made us *shiver*

do you know why?

it’s a shop in the very town where We Are From in RL..

*gasp*

which is (according to mr. google) 5437 miles (or 8750.35 kilometres if you’re european) away.

how did it get HERE?

and it is over one hundred years old (all the prints are at witch ball print shop)

so there must be a story.

or at least a story.

for some reason we didn’t buy the print.

not sure why.

perhaps because we knew someone will be in soon and it’s theirs to buy (yes, we think like That).

movingswiftlyon

now you can’t go On the interweb and look at swag because, well, there’s not an interweb site per se (as yet) but Diane has some Pinteresting Items for swag Here.

and if you want to visit swag in RL – here’s the address and a helpful map.

4332 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, CA 91604

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and if you Do visit – let us know and we’ll drive over the hill and meet you and we’ll have a cafe creme here – it’s just down the road from swag.

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not the only spot of parisian paradise in studio city as you can see – the whole street is full of frivolous delicious beauty and the aroma of chicory-laden sweet embrace of caffeine.

who knew?

well.

the glamorous person we were interviewing today for an upcoming column, that’s who.

it help to know people who know where the chandeliers are kept in this town.

just saying.

*lookstocamera*

and now if you’ll excuse us, we must retire with a suitably naughty companion to tell us scurrilous tales of the louche life (and, coincidentally, we’ve just got to the chapter on Paris……)

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we shall return tomorrow with an Extract.

either from Rupert’s book – or from one of our (forthcoming) tales.

goodnight, darlings

let’s all dream about Paris tonight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhere’s a little night music to soothe you into the slumbering hours……..

[just in case Your Country doesn’t allow you to see this clip – it’s the glorious Cecilia Bartoli singing “Ombra mai fu” is the opening aria from the 1738 opera Serse by Maestro Handel.]

the day we went to carlsbad – and back

darlings

who-we-are-in-RL was having a Very Important Business Meeting down in Carlsbad today (which is 100 miles drive south or 160.934 kilometres according to mr. google) and we BEGGED to be able to tag along because we wanted to Take The Long Way Home via what are known as the “Beach Communities” (see map).

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she said yes but as long as we kept out of the way.

*lookstocamera*

which we Did (sort of) until someone lovely at the meeting happened to mention the phrase (is it a phrase or just a word? or is it A Movement? discuss:) “teamgloria” and that they’d visited us Here and it all became rather delicious and we felt Most Involved (so much fun).

after that we kept a Low Profile and just snapped away on the grown-up-camera which we view as the modern version of a Brownie camera (which was our first camera many years ago – an aged relative passed it on to us and it took gorgeous film-based-shots).

would you like to see them?

you are lovely.

thank you.

0fc6d638d77311e2af8422000a9e28e9_7 bf3a9a6cd7a711e297bf22000a1f9263_7

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAit was indeed the Very Long Way home – but most often that’s quite the nicest way to get anywhere – taking time, looking around, snapping pictures, smiling at the surfers waiting-for-a-wave, looking out to the horizon, feeling all-happy-and-freckly and ALIVE.

setting the scene in donal bay….(aka #oceanPark California)

darlings

we went to interview someone for next week’s column in Los Angeles, I’m Yours, and after it was done (and fascinating and lovely an interview it was too) we decided it was going to be too crazy on the freeway (rush hour) so we took a different turning and went to watch the sunset on the beach before heading home……..and took a lot of pictures

mainly because we want You to have a Visual of this fictitious place we called DONAL BAY in the screenplay-being-turned-into-a-novel (in reality, it’s Ocean Park, California and yes, we used to live There)

ready to read?

it’s just a little bit tonight – but a few pictures too, so a cup of tea or something sweet might be nice, depending on your time zone/desire:

we’ll wait……….

*pauses*

you’re back – lovely – here we go.

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There is a place in southern California called Donal Bay. It’s a few miles down the coastal road from Santa Monica on the way to Venice Beach and you would miss it if you did not slow down and turn left just five minutes (in mellow traffic) as soon as you spot the pier on the ocean side.

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There are twinkle lights entwined between all the palm trees down Main Street, an Irish bar, 1940s era eggs and coffee breakfast place and a newsstand with all the Italian and Parisian fashion magazines next to surfing and boating news. There are also several tiny cafes with small round tables in between all the yoga studios and alternative healing emporia.

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Late at night, strange mists of water can be seen at the intersection. As you get closer, you’ll see people in wet suits, just back from the beach, washing the sand off their cars in the outdoor hand car wash. They then gather at the Mexican place and sit at the counter to eat three dollar fish tacos and swig from lurid candy-colored soda bottles.

The homeless men and women in black shuffle into formation to sleep outside the old Carnegie Library, just down the street from the seafood restaurant with fishing nets above the door, a mermaid’s torso and the sound of live fiddle music floating out into the night air.

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If you turn left from the Ocean road and find yourself in Donal Bay, you will probably never want to leave.  Livy Brennan took that turning last year to see about an apartment share and knew she was here for good.

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The apartment was four blocks from the beach and part of a duplex owned by an entertainment attorney called John Mahoney. Several years earlier, John had been visiting a faded rock star client in Malibu who needed yet another divorce, and taken the Ocean road back towards Beverly Hills. He got lost, couldn’t find the I-10 freeway and ended up in Donal Bay. It was exactly the place he had been looking for. He sold his house in Hancock Park and bought the duplex as soon as he could, moving into the first floor apartment on the left and renting out the other units to various creative types who liked to surf.

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Livy Brennan did not surf. But she did love to sit at the water’s edge with her shoes in her hand, her jeans rolled up to mid calf and watch the sun slip behind the Ferris wheel on the pleasure Pier.

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She was so enchanted by the sunset that she did not see Calliope emerge from the waves.

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oh yes – we are Most Excited about writing this one.

bless you for reading along thus far……….more soon.

 

words by simone de beauvoir (we took the pictures)

darlings

we just received the latest Requests from the Los Angeles County Library – one is an old favo(u)rite – Simone De Beauvoir’s America Day By Day, her diary of four months spent in America (as you Might have guessed from the Title although it was just the USA bit – not South America, Latin America or the bit of North America that is inhabited by those nice Canadians – however, we digress) in 1947.

the pictures are ours.

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it is the story of what happened to me, neither more nor less. This is what I saw and how I saw it. I have not tried to say more. [xviii]

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Hollywood Boulevard follows the contour of a hill; sitting at the bar, we look through a large bay window and see at our feet the spread of houses where the first lights are coming on. Little by little Los Angeles is transformed into a large, glittering lake. [p.111]

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Hollywood, as everyone knows, is where the studios are. The stars live in Beverly Hills. To see their houses, you have to enter an artificial park humming with neither the muffled life of the countryside nor the feverish life of the city; the luxurious villas are surrounded by a false solitude. [p.110]

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At midnight we are alone on top of a hill. We sit on the ground and smoke in silence. Los Angeles is beneath us, a huge, silent fairyland. The lights glitter as far as the eye can see. [p.122]

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We go shopping for dinner. This is the first time I’ve entered one of these big stores. It looks like an agricultural fair: oversized, smooth and polished, the fruits and vegetables all have the slightly false luster of perfect greenhouse products, unmarked by the vagaries of rain and sun. N. grabs a little metal cart from a corner and pushes it in front of her; we walk down the aisles and gather up whatever we like. There is such a profusion of meat, fish, and especially canned goods that the choice is very difficult; our needs and even our desires are not up to such magnificent abundance. [p.124]

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The house, hidden among orange groves, is surrounded by an overgrown garden full of trees and flowers – no hedges or walls; no bolt on the gate, although no one would be there. [p/124]

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Over there in the night, a vast continent is sparkling. I’m going to have to become reacquainted with France and climb back into my own skin. [p.390]

well.

there you go.

a whistle-stop tour through Simone’s (may we be so familiar?) recollections of America.

yes.

we left out a lot.

she gets stoned in Harlem (the idea!) and doesn’t care much for Chicago, has very Odd Ideas about the American Woman, gets snotty because a French waiter in Manhattan refuses to answer her when she orders in English (what did she expect? n’est ce pas cherie?) and quite frankly was a bit dismissive of California as a whole.

but you wouldn’t know that from the passages we chose.

and the pictures we decided to take to accompany her words.

because that’s how we roll.

edit out the bits we don’t like and illustrate the moments we really do.

such a truly delicious way to live.

sure, it might be a Tiny bit naive.

but we’ve lived long enough to know it’s quite the nicest way to spend one’s time day by day, in America, or anywhere else really.

don’t you think?

btw, as the young people say, did you notice the cat on the wall?

here he is again.

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amazing what one might miss if one doesn’t take the time to stroll down a side street with a light chiffon (blue, naturally) scarf around the neck and a camera in hand.