people are afraid to merge on freeways in los angeles

a window on the world -
middle of the country -
on the way to the west coast.
very beginning of the trip,
enroute to los angeles.

my mimosa;
or third?
cannot recall.
a bit of light reading.

beautiful mountains,
about an hour from landing at lax.

the trees of santa monica.

mr. fred,
we love you.

book of egon shiele's letters,
with an awesome,
somewhat cryptic,
message on a beginning page:
"my promenade leads me over the abyss."

essentials by the ritz pool:
lemon-infused water,
spf 25 sunblock,
dark glasses,
"red house" by sarah messer,
and an industrial strength bloody mary -
the last of two.

on my first visit,
i read "less than zero."
i had wanted,
very much,
to read bret eason ellis' latest,
"imperial bedrooms."
after all,
how perfectly west coast,
how perfectly l.a.,
how perfectly indulgent.

as it happened,
this didn't happen,
so made headway with messer's "red house,"
and was just as pleased.

another essential,
a packable,
(almost) foldable,
nearly indestructible,
straw hat.
courtesy of my friends at a little place,
a little place,
called the gap.

a delicious mojito at the ivy,
resting atop their cook/memory/coffee-table book.
one of the best mojitos i've ever had,
and besides,
what a wonderfully refreshing way to start dinner.

beautiful flowers at the ivy.
i was asked to return them to their rightful place,
after having gotten as far as the curb,
with them strategically hidden under a friend's wrap.
(not really.)
i only made it to the door...

a colorful,
yet simple way,
to arrange and set a table.
notice the centerpieces,
colorful roses and baskets of lemons and limes.

awesome animated (miniature) big band.

after reading ann magnuson's l.a. woman in paper magazine,
i was desperate on my first trip to l.a.,
to discover this valhala she spoke of -
silver lake -
the closest i got was griffith observatory,
and getting lost for 45 minutes around the reservoir...
this time,
was a different story.
met a dear friend for lunch at cafe stella,
and finally made it!

another simple-simple-simple centerpiece,
with leaves ever so soft.
the also had a delicious cucumber-ade drink that i wish i had right now.
perhaps another venture out west sooner rather than later?

my sinful croque madame at cafe stella.

my friend's hand with their perfectly bombshell red painted nails,
holding an iced something-or-other from intelligentsia.

more red.
appropos for the week of the fourth of july.

aloft the great city of los angeles.
view from the hills at the top of mulholland.
fun ride during the day;
potentially quite dangerous once night falls.
a friend in the car said he needed a dramamine.
it was quite roller-coaster like,
and admittedly,
with me behind the wheel,
i suspect it was not unlike mr. toad's wild ride...

what really terrific lines,
what calming colors,
really perfect and so california.
what a great place to live...
this is the home i chose to lay my hat,
if given the choice.

i did find it difficult to leave l.a. this time.
i would imagine settling in,
not returning to my beloved east coast,
and starting out fresh someplace anew.

above and below,
two favored pieces at a home where i spent july 4th:
a beautiful bombay chess table with chairs,
and a vibrant modernist still life.
again as at the ivy,
got as far as the door before being asked to return the painting...

remnant of a party.
clue to a good time.

last night:
the fourth of july.
we celebrated our independence.
marina del rey put on a lovely display of colors and patriotism.

later in the night,
after packing,
i went downstairs to the hotel pool,
and relaxed in the hot tub.
a young woman in an american flag bikini was there,
celebrating her 30th birthday with friends.