Friday, December 29, 2006

a dream fulfilled...

st. joachim stands guard at the san joaquin catholic cemetary gates where jake's relatives are buried in stockton, Ca.

winter in stockton

i almost didn't take a single picture of the barren winter orchards of stockton until jake decided to turn around and help an older italian gentleman with a flat tire on the mercilessly busy waterloo road.

the drive home to LA redeemed itself as the worst traffic occured right at sunset. the slow pace afforded us a brillaint view of the sun's descent over the coastal mountains.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

the bell ringer...

mr. chuck poland has been ringing the bell for the salvation army for 21 years at his yearly post in front of long's in the crossroads shopping center in carmel. he had officially retired after last year's holiday season to focus on caring for his ailing wife of 60 plus years, but returned because as he says, "there are just so many needy folks out there...they need me this time of year and i couldn't stay away".

for an older gentleman who occasionally stumbles in his cowboy boots and kicked the official bell across the pavement rather than bend to pick it up, chuck is still a firecracker and has something to say to everyone. chuck is so effective at getting people in the giving mood that his payloads are legendary. we donated a children's book about farm animals because of the goat on the front and chuck repaid the kindness with a kiss on my cheek.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

carmel friends and fam: part I

richard and allie

tender shoots, carmel CA

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

la bamba cob

cob discovers his la bamba 45 buried in one of the boxes littering our office. the very same album that he says prevented him from boarding an airplane before he conquered his fear of flying.

trashcan bob

don't even ask me what bob thought she was doing sitting atop the trashcan. proof that the animals really are the ones in control.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Monday, December 04, 2006

there's a tree in my house

for the first time ever, i have my own christmas tree. i spent 3 hours shining up the 26 silver bells that my grandbear (aka grandfather) gave me annually until his death in 2001. the ritual filled me with a bit of nostalgic remorse...remembering the years that this was done with my mother, while i sometimes complained that there seemed to be so many to shine. this time around, each bell was a reminder of years gone by and those golden memories filled me with warmth. even the animals approve.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

the salton sea

jake and i made a trek out to the salton sea in december of last year at the behest of mdr and beccs. true to their word, this abandoned lake is truly one of the strangest places i have ever been.

in the 1960's some entrepeneurs envisioned the salton sea as the las vegas of california and began building the yacht club on the north shore and other attractions. roadways were developed around the lake to accomodate for the anticipated construction boom. what no one took into consideration was the dangerously high salinity of the lake and the fact that within just a couple of years, the lake would cease to sustain life. compounding the problem, large quantities of silt and polluted run-off from the adjacent coachella agricultural valley began flooding into the salton sea, making the lake, once teeming with wildlife, a stinky, inhospitable cess pool.

today, the planned neighborhood roadways built decades ago are crumbling and lead nowhere.

the lake emanates a repugnant sulphuric odor and the white beaches are merely the bones of fish and shells, bleached by the unforgiving desert sun.

once waterfront properties have sunk into the primordial sludge and float ethereally on newly formed lagoons. seagulls take to the skies in droves and wade in the shallows, their interminable squawking the only noise breaking up the hush that has settled over the valley. the place is full of ghosts and is undeniably creepy.

there are some permanent residents who call the salton sea home. they are an interesting mix of meth manufacturers, migrant families that work in the nearby date palm fields, retirees who scoot gleefully around in their golf carts while visiting each other's trailers and some middle aged folks who own large trucks and speed boats, decorate their lawns with plastic sunflower windmills and glare suspiciously at 'out of towners' wearing black rubber boots with tripods in tow.

while we never made it all the way to the yacht club (which once boasted a huge cowboy statue whose head tumbled to the ground and therefore made for some great pictures), we were entirely satisfied with our very strange afternoon at the lake. the visit can pretty much be summed up by the helpful gas station attendant who said, "i don't know why you'd wanna go out there now...ain't nothin there. but i heard that back in its day, the salton sea was really somethin".