Tuesday, December 1, 2009


L.A. is all about getting around, bypassing traffic, and not getting lost too badly.  On the way to the Palos Verdes Botanical Gardens we crossed the Vincent Bridge connecting Long Beach to San Pedro, and we got to see miles and miles of shipping vessels, containers and rigs. I had never seen so much commerce in any one place.  The bins are color coded, blue and red, one for sending, one for receiving.  Just a quick look tells me that we get most of our merchandise from China.

Our visit to the gardens was meant to fulfill a need my youngest son has to re-landscape his yard with native vegetation and water-wise methods.  The Palos Verdes Gardens provided inspiration.  We took dozens of pictures depicting various gardens, from all grasses, to a mixture of edibles and ornamental, as in the Mediterranean garden, full of herbs and fruit trees, my preference.

Our son will do all the work, has actually started the removal of the front lawn, and was waiting for his mom to give him some hints.  I had lots of ideas; but seeing the gardens in Palos Verdes cemented our thoughts.  I reminded him that his young lab will have to be trained or provided with his own play area, or everyone will be frustrated in no time. I discovered that plants in L.A. cost less than in Oregon. I purchased some citrus trees at half price to take home with me.  The sales tax in California is almost ten percent. Fruit trees as all food are not taxed. Lucky me.  We have no sales taxes in Oregon, but our property taxes and income taxes are comparable.

ANOTHER ANNOYANCE:  At a gas station in California, you have to pump your own gas!

When we left California last Saturday, we had only one thing still to do: eat at a fancy restaurant in wine country.  So, we planned to be in Healdsburg, north of San Francisco for lunch on Sunday.  We ate at the Healdsburg Hotel, whose restaurant is run by Charlie Parker.  Healdsburg and all of wine country shops and restaurants are to California as Provence is to France. Wineries and famous restaurants dot the countryside. At a very leisurely pace, with wine to match each course, we indulged and admired the beautiful people sitting next to us and strolling by.  The weather was a balmy 70+ degrees, out on the patio.

By Monday evening when we pulled into our driveway, we had time to stroll down to our waterfront garden, pick some arugula and watercress for dinner, admire the sunset, and finish our day with a Thanksgiving sigh.  We were back to normal.


trousers said...

I'm hoping to visit friends in LA next year: I love these photos (call me perverse but the last one is my favourite) so these last couple of posts have been illuminating in their own way for me.

Reya Mellicker said...

It's not just in California. In fact Oregon might be the only state where you don't have to pump your own gas. I really miss the days of sitting there while someone else does it. Oh well.

Beautiful gardens! The port structures look a whole lot like the San Francisco Bay all along the east bay cities of Oakland, Berkeley etc etc.

Brian Miller said...

lovely pics! glad you had a great visit and sounds like a nice homecoming as well...its nice to be normal again.

RNSANE said...

I know San Pedro very well, having cruised from there at least 25 times!! Royal Caribbean took away my favorite ( and first ) small ship - the Monarch of the Seas and she is now in Florida so I am not in San Pedro so often.

If you are ever near San Francisco, we must have lunch together. I do love living so close to so many of the wine regions...both Napa and the Russian River are so close and even Paso Robles isn't that far. I loved it when my youngest was in college at Cal Poly!

An English Shepherd said...

Cool looking Dog

Wizz :-)

staceyjwarner said...

Welcome to my part of the states...funny...I find there is nothing more annoying than being in Oregon and having someone pump my gas, LOL!

much love and enjoy your trip.

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

I would love to see more of Ca. I have only seen the airport...looking forward to seeing your picture.

potsoc said...

Good to leave; good to be back. Glad you had a nice trip. I'm not sure I would L.A, but the wine country is appealing.

enchantedoak said...

That dog's eyes are scrumptious! I loved reading about your trip, since we lived in LA so many years and haven't been back after moving up here to Paso Robles. Our wine country is as good as any in Northern Cal, speaking prejudicially. Welcome back home and thank you for your remarks on my poem today.
Cheers! Chris

Nancy said...

I love Healdsberg. We often stay near there when we do a wine country trip. And after living in Portland, and still visiting often, I miss having someone pump my gas! Who thought I would ever miss that! But getting out in howling winds mixed with snow, I miss Oregon. Not the taxes, however. Nevada doesn't have an income tax, just sales tax and limited property tax. How long it will be that way is a mystery. So far the casinos have kept the state afloat, but they're feeling the pinch too.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

We almost moved to San Pedro, into a high rise condo overlooking the maritime museum and the St. Thomas bridge. But, I knew my dogs would hate it so we moved way south of L.A. instead. I'm glad you had a good time, (that wine country dinner sounded fantastic), and I'm sure you're happy to be home.

Wander to the Wayside said...

There's no place like home! I find that anytime I've been away, the first thing I do when I get home is to walk around and look at and touch everything, then immediately set into cleaning, even if nothing is dirty. Love that dog - is it your granddog? And that garden! Here in Georgia it would take a full team to keep our pasture grass from taking over the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

Welcome home! Will the citrus trees survive in your area?
Glad to hear that there's still no sales tax in Oregon.

Eva Gallant said...

I know of only one station within a 100 mile radius of my house where you don't have to pump your own gas, and they do not accept credit cards--cash only.(This is in southern Maine.)

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

Thanks so much for your sweet note. I never know if I am going too fast or too slow. You always make it seem just right. smiles

Journaling Woman said...

Pump gas? We haven't had full service gas stations in more 15 years. I miss that.

I love love love the lab and your photos.

becky at abbeystyle said...

I had no idea there was still a place where someone pumped your gas!
Glad you're back after what sounds like a lovely, leisurely Thanksgiving.

Pam said...

I don't know of any places in Australia that pump gas for you (petrol here).I guess there must be some. I love the photo of the dog, with its "aren't I sitting nicely!" expression.Looking back through your previous posts as a first time visitor, I am interested how your relationship with your husband now centres on the changes in lifestyle with retirement,and how you've grown together over the years. I feel the same, and am looking forward to reading more of your posts.

Shadow said...

nice to go, nice to get back too! that's one cute pup there.

Fire Byrd said...

You still get someone pumping your gas.... wow! that hasn't over here for about 10 years.
Glad you had a good break.
And I have an image of you getting home, kicking off your shoes and taking a deep breath before sinking into your favourite chair.

Maggie May said...

Those were lovely pictures and I love that tiny pond with reeds in there.

Nuts in May

the walking man said...

Love the native grass idea. Been thinking about it for myself in MI...seeds are available but I can hear the complaints because the lawn won't be all uniformly green. Prairie grasses just aren't like that.

The port of LA. Gaaaaahhhhhhh!

Eleonora said...

What, no In-n-Out this time????
Kidding. That meal & wine sound fantastic.

Welcome back home, normality and all.
Lovely Labrador.

Lola xx

Gaston Studio said...

Agree the beautiful lab will need his own play and potty area or frustration will set in, not to mention all the work that could so easily be undone in the blink of an eye.

LOL at you and pumping your own gas!

lakeviewer said...

Hi everyone, thanks for stopping by. From your questions and comments, I know what I should have told you and left out.
So, here it is, just to set the record straight.

I hate traffic and driving; always did.

I love fast food, as in IN-and Out Burgers. We ate them three times, and drove miles just to find them.

I hate shopping. YES. I hate spending money on stupid stuff. So, when necessary, and with a list, I drag myself through stores. My husband, on the other hand, loves driving and shopping. Go figure that!

We stayed at my youngest son's new house. No, the house is not new. He just purchased it a couple of months ago and it is still unfurnished, mostly. We had an opportunity to shop for some things he needed and we could provide. This kind of shopping is most delightful, I might add.

The previous post shows a make-over. That's my teen grand-daughter getting a lesson and a starter kit at Sephora, a one stop deluxe make-up consultation and products in the ritzy portion of South Coast Plaza. You don't want to know what that cost. It was her birthday present, after all.

I cooked a Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings for lunch for the six of us: my youngest son, my eldest son, his wife and daughter, and my husband and me. Starting at five in the morning, I was on my feet all day. Tough. For supper, we joined friends and in-laws for a more elaborate and complex meal for thirty people or so across town. Cooking just one meal tired me out. I can't even fathom what it would take to cook for thirty.

L.A. is a series of valleys, hills, neighborhoods. Mentioning a neighborhood brings out an entire economic and social strata. In the South Bay where both of my boys live, the neighborhoods are classy and up-scale. Even the grocery stores distinguish themselves by what they carry and the variety one can find.
But L.A. has neighborhoods with crime and decay too. Most people drive on freeways wich bypass neighborhoods more or less. Only if you get off the freeways you see real people and real life.

If you anticipate traveling to L.A. be sure you have a native guide/drive you around. You'll be glad you did.

Sarah Laurence said...

I love that dog photo – so much soul! Sounds like an interesting road trip but that you are relieved to be back home. Welcome back!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a lovely trip!!!! Your son's garden will be fabulous, I'm sure!!! And your dinner out? Sounds simply fabulous...wish I could have tagged along!!! Glad to have you home, though!! Missed you! ~Janine XO

janis said...

Ha Ha! I remember not having to pump here in Indy many years ago. I thik there might be a station or two that still pumps for you, but most are do it yourself. I however, have my husband do it, so it doesn't matter because he spoils me with things like that. I too love your photos. Who is the handsome dog? Also may your Citrus trees flourish! love to you~

Renee said...

Welcome home baby.

Your son's dog is beautiful.

Love Renee xoxo

cheshire wife said...

It is great to go away but nothing is as good as coming home!

Merisi said...

Gas station attendant? You make me smile: I know only one gas station where they still got one without adding an extra whopping of Euros to the bill. It's self serve all the way! ;-)

NitWit1 said...

We have to pump our gas most everywhere we go. THere is one station in a city near us with full service.

Love the pictures. And I can relate to the Thanksgiving sigh!

Woman in a Window said...

I'm tired just reading about it. I'm not sure I could survive that commotion any more. Glad it was fun for you and too, that you're home safely.

That is one cute dog
and me, I'm not a dog person.


Z said...

Come to London - a lot of traffic but the best way to get about is by walking, and you can hop on a bus when you're tired.

I know a few petrol stations that are not self-serve, but most of them are (sorry, the English aren't capable of uttering the words "pump gas", it makes them giggle).

Terri Tiffany said...

Sounds like you had a lovely trip! My daughter lives in Seattle and visits Oregon often as her in-laws live there. We drove from CA to ORegon a few years ago to surprise her at her baby shower. IT is beautiful country!

Barry said...

We seem to have the luxury of choice here in Ontario. We still have a mix of service and self serve stations.

We just don't have the beautiful warm weather you found in LA.

Ribbon said...

Yes here in Australia we to have pump our own petrol... what you call gas :)

I miss driveway service too :)

Thanks for all that you share.
I really enjoy my visits here.

Hope you are enjoying all the love of the festive season.

x Ribbon