Thursday, March 30, 2006

Getty Images

There's something about the Getty Center in L.A. that brings out my inner photographer. I just can't seem to resist snapping away, constantly holding up the group and demanding "just one more shot."

Sadly, the products of my limited picture-taking skills hardly do justice to the place. Every time I go, I'm amazed at the architecture and the views. When I went last week, I was so distracted by the surroundings that I found it hard to pay attention to our tour guide, who was very intent on pointing out the "frames" created by architect Richard Meier and the fact that even architecture can be considered art.

Still, I did get some good shots. Take a look at the ones below.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Land of densely-branched, spiny trees

This is the Palos Verdes peninsula, where I was Friday, the most gorgeous day of the week. You can see the characteristic California smog/haze/marine layer in the background, but you wouldn't have minded it one bit if you had felt the soft ocean breezes and the warm sun. My nose and forehead absorbed perhaps a bit too much of that sun, but I don't mind because now at least it's obvious I spent my spring break somewhere warm.

That morning, my mom rented us a pair of bikes on which to ride up and down the South Bay Bike Path. We made it from Hermosa Beach to Palos Verdes and back. After a short wait, we nabbed a table outside next to the Strand at Good Stuff, a quintessential California restaurant where the rice is brown and the condiments are low-fat, but the avocado is always ripe and plentiful.

And now here we are in the final few days of March and temperatures are still in the 30's back here in Chicago. The days are noticeably longer, though, and the green shoots are multiplying rapidly so I think spring is truly on its way. Warm days aren't quite a dime dozen here like they are in southern California, but they'll arrive soon enough. Just before the crushing humidity sets in.

p.s. A "palo verde," literally translated, is a "green pole." Therefore, Palos Verdes does not mean "green hills," as I was led to believe. The name of the town comes from a type of plant that grows there, the aforementioned "densely-branched, spiny tree" that often sports "showy yellow flowers and blue-green bark" according to

Friday, March 24, 2006

L.A. Story

Activities here in southern California have been so numerous and so all-consuming that this is really the first chance I've gotten to post. The pictures above and below are of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Even though I spent my childhood traveling to L.A. at least once every 2 years, I had never before visited this most famous of landmarks. It was, of course, swarming with camera-wielding, fanny-pack-sporting, toddler-toting tourists, but still, where else do you get to compare the size of your feet with Ron Howard's?

Other highlights so far have included trips to Disneyland and the Getty Museum, a drive down Rodeo, a stroll through Santa Monica, and 7 hours spent sitting in bumper to bumper traffic between here and Santa Barbara, mostly on the 101, which runs right through the Valley. It's hard to complain about traffic, though, when the temperature is perpetually 60 to 70 degrees and the only clouds one sees in the sky tend to drift about harmlessly without the slightest threat of rain.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I'm all about the Mouse...

Hey Dana, you just finished your final papers! What are you going to do now?!

I'm going to Disneyland!

It's true, I am. Next Wednesday I'll be going back to the Happiest Place on Earth for the first time in over 5 years. That's a long time for me to go without a fix. We used to go at least biennially when I was little.

The only disappointment is that I read on the website that Pirates of the Caribbean is closed for renovation. Despite its lack of twists and turns, bumps and big drops, Pirates of the Caribbean is by far one of the best rides Disneyland has to offer. At least the Matterhorn still seems to be alive and well. It's true the Abominable Snowman has always made me "worry," but I will never turn down the chance to climb into one of those fake bobsleds and zoom around the fake icy cliffs.

California, here I come...

p.s. Picture is from:

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Pseudo-spring has sprung

I refuse to actually call it spring because it's not. It's just a cruel joke Mother Nature likes to play every year, throwing one of these 65-degree days at you in the beginning of March, making you think that winter is over. A few days from now there will be some kind of a crazy blizzard, mark my words.

Anyway, the flowers outside our apartment were certainly fooled. They felt those warm 65-degree breezes and burst into bloom. And those that weren't ready to flower sent green shoots sprouting up through the muddy ground. Poor little bastards probably think it's mid-May.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


If there is one type of dog in this world I have ever been tempted to adopt, it is the pug. Today I spent part of the afternoon working at Savor the Flavor, a coffee shop in Lincoln Park, where the owner occasionally allows her pug to romp around among the customers. This dog is quiet, small, and well-mannered but has loads of personality, pretty much like every pug I've ever met.*

Some people might place pugs decidely in the "puntable" category, but I have a feeling these little guys are so packed with muscle and moxie that they wouldn't let you get away with attempting a kick. I imagine a pug might grab hold of the punter's leg and not let go.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm a cat person now and forever. But I think I'd be eternally happy with a cat or two and a well-behaved, potty-trained pug in my life. Too bad they don't typically come that way.

*The first pug I ever met was Penny, the loveable yet perhaps somewhat less well-mannered pug from the house at the end of Marianne Road.

photo from: