Sunday, September 9, 2012

Labor Day at LACMA

On Labor Day Weekend, I traveled to L.A. As usual, it was a stimulating change of pace from my serene Santa Barbara. One of the highlights of my trek was a visit to the wonderful, spacious, L.A. County Art Museum. It was a warm and fairly clear day in the city, and the museum offered graceful views of West Hollywood and the adjacent hills, as well as a clear vista of the illustrious Hollywood sign.

One of the first exhibits that I saw at the museum, was an interactive piece that I can only describe as long, yellow, rubber noodles. It was a playful piece that attracted and delighted the many children who were visiting that day (myself included.) The piece inspired me to use my camera's video application for the first time. I was able to capture only a brief moment of movement before my memory card ran out.

Accompanied by my daughter and a dear old friend, I saw the much-talked-about "giant rock", with its official title of "Levitated Mass". The rock sits on several acres of sand and appears like an isolated boulder in the middle of a desert. As you near the rock, you begin to see the concrete ramp, excavated and reinforced beneath it. One thing that was pervasive at this exhibit, as well as at LACMA in general, was the sense of delight and awe in the visitors viewing the art.

I found the instillation of two-hundred L.A. County lampposts, which were part of a larger exhibit entitled "Metropolis II", to be visually exciting through the eyes of the camera. I particularly liked the abstract mystery and film clip quality of this shot, which includes my daughter and my friend.

And last, but not least, the absolutely mesmerizing second half of "Metropolis II", which was an elaborate cityscape animated by toy cars and trolleys and trains. This too inspired me to use video.  It was difficult to pull myself away from this captivating piece by artist Chris Burden. His creation literally drove home the noise and head spinning chaos that lives in our century of freeways and automobiles.

To me, now, this cityscape in action seems to represent perfectly the hiatus that I am about to embark upon. It also makes me think of travel in general, and that beyond physical travel, there are many kinds of journeys; there are journeys of the heart and journeys of the mind. Now, as I begin my several months hiatus, my plan is to return on January 15, 2013, to make my next post.

I enjoy your company, Dear Readers, and have gotten to know many of you who regularly make delightful comments here. I can truly say that I will miss you and will, of course, think of you often. I want to wish you all a beautiful end of the year, and a rich and colorful Holiday Season flavored with joy and inspiration.

 And so, Dear Friends, arrivederci and many blessings until we meet again. My fond regards, ~  Anitra

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Flavor of Santa Barbara's Farmer's Market

As summer begins to wind down, Santa Barbara is finally receiving warm temperatures and bright sun. This arrival of our "real" summer, inspired me to take you on a visit to my favorite Farmer's Market. The Saturday morning Farmer's Market is held on lower Santa Barbara Street in a huge parking lot about half the size of a city block. Set up on asphalt under canopied displays, are over 50 local vendors from Santa Barbara, Ventura and even San Luis Obispo County. It is always a colorful and bustling scene.

It was a pleasure looking at the beautiful and perfect fruits of nature's bounty through the camera's lens. This Saturday, what caught my eye the most were the purples. Purple peppers (which I'd never seen before), and eggplant in dazzling shades of ultra-violet. A melon too captured my attention. It was larger than a bowling ball and had unusual markings of green with yellow dots. I reached out to touch it and asked the man behind the counter, "What is this?" He replied, "A watermelon of the "moon and stars" variety.

**Dear Valued Friends, I will be making one more post, on September 10th, before taking a fairly long break. Over the next few months I have some extensive travel plans that will likely keep me busy through the first of the year. As I've said before, having this blog and sharing special moments, images and thoughts with you is an utterly delightful and illuminating experience. It is surely true, that a joy shared is a joy made double.

 Hope to see you in September.

 My fond regards, ~ Anitra

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Slice of Santa Barbara, or: Time, The Ocean and Two Cloudy Days


What can I say about this place? That I came up from L.A. thirty years ago for air and stayed? That I'd grown allergic (literally) to the L.A. smog? That Santa Barbara called me here, then swallowed me like a blotter absorbing ink? Quietly, painlessly, the years dissolved. When I drive through the city now, on my way to the library, or to buy a gift for a friend, I coast the familiar streets with their rock-lined hedges, their bougainvillea, oaks and palms . . . and I wonder . . . how it could be that all those days have washed away and left barely a ripple?

Today, under dense clouds, while most of the world is churning, and I can practically hear it groan, I've decided to stop at the beach and take a peek at what lies beyond the hedges and the rock walls. What color is the ocean today? My guess is that it's opal. And who waits on the sand? It's safe to say seagulls. But what I know deep down, is that there, beside the water, no matter how cloudy or sunny, at high tide or low, what I'm certain to find, hovering in the mist -- is some kind of magic.


 Yesterday, when I took myself to the beach, after writing that a visit to the ocean guaranteed magic, I found myself on a cloud-shrouded shore at high tide. To my left, a cove lined with cottages, arced to the south, with only a thin strip of private beach untouched by the high tide.

To my right, beside the beach wall, sat a girl in a turquoise T-shirt, with long, blonde surfer-girl hair. Perfectly still, she stared toward the inaccessible north coast.

I stood on a small patch of beach in front of a storm drain. This was not what I'd had in mind when I predicted magic. I had pictured myself walking beside the water with my arms and legs swinging in sync with the rhythms of the surf. Instead, I perched on a pile of rocks and gazed at the agate ocean as it pushed and pulled and pulsed.

When I looked back toward the cove, I saw a tiny being on the sand: a squat toddler in bright blue shorts. He took solid steps and seemed amazed that he was upright as he planted each foot like a stake in the sand, fully at home in his world.

To my right, the girl at the beach wall, like a painting by Andrew Wyeth, continued to sit and stare. Behind me, stood a mass of concrete, etched and pock-marked with erosion. On closer inspection, I found within it and around it an eerie gallery of strangely stunning modern art.

    And that was the picture, nothing dazzling, nothing bright -- a quiet diffused scene.

Later in the day, while hiking in the hills, after the sun had finally broken through, I caught a glimpse of The Islands and was amazed to see that they had completely changed from what they were earlier in the day. In the morning, at the beach, The Islands had been fuzzy and charcoal gray; now, from out of nowhere, they bared the clearest typography I'd seen in years.

**Be cool all of you lovely people. I'll be posting again on August 20th. ~ Anitra

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bert Convy on The Price Is Right Twice

**Sorry, this clip has been removed from our database. Fortunately, there is much more to view. I invite you to look more deeply into the many moments shared here.

Here is a clip from The Price is Right, something to boost your adrenaline. Actually there are two clips here. One of me and one of Dian Parkinson. I love the audience's response. Those TPIR audiences were fantastic -- great food for the ham at heart.

I want to give credit to our viewer, Bitsey, who first told me about this clip. Thanks so much Bits.

**I'll be making two posts in August. One on the 10th, and the other on my regular date of the 20th. Hope to see you then. My warm regards, ~ Anitra

Monday, July 9, 2012

Large Splash of Ocean

After my last few posts: my visit to L.A., Father's Day and then photos that illuminated the past, I'm in the mood for a change -- something to cleanse the palate -- I think a large splash of ocean might fill the bill.

It's summer and most of the country's been sweltering under record-breaking heat. Our beaches are full, the parking lots are crowded, and perhaps that's why my thoughts keep drifting back to a cooler, quieter time. I've been thinking about a day last November.

I'm not sure what caused me to stop at Shoreline Park that day. I think it must have been the dramatic clouds (something fairly rare in Santa Barbara's perpetual blue sky.) I stood at the edge of Shoreline on a bluff above the ocean and drank in the expansive view. Leadbetter Beach curved in the foreground, with the mountains beyond it to the east.

After taking in the view from shoreline Park, I drove the short distance down the hill to park at Leadbetter Beach. There, I got out and walked to the beach wall, where I stood, basically, in one place. At the wall, I simply gazed at what I saw around me. Here is a vignette of what I found.

Wishing you all soft breezes and cool mists. My next post will be on the 20th. Hope to see you then. ~ Anitra

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Reflections . . .

Then and now circle around me vying for my attention: My vibrant driven past that is surprisingly still alive in so many ways, and the ocean of this day, teeming with sustenance, wide sky and seemingly endless possibilities -- this day with hummingbirds, trumpet vines and the magic of each moment unfolding.


** My next posts will be on the 10th of July, and then again on my regular date of the 20th. On July 4th I will be celebrating with joy and honor, but will not make a post on that date, as I will never, ever be able to capture five pelicans flying in unison past the American flag again (I invite you to take a look at last year's post on the 4th.) Until then,   ~   My warm wishes,    ~   Aneet

Saturday, June 16, 2012

With Love to Dad

On this Father's Day, I'm taking you to Santa Barbara's Natural History Museum, to view fathers on outings with their children. With its Spanish architecture and tile roofs, the museum is housed in a park-like setting that encompasses the rocky watercourse of Mission Creek and its surrounding oak trees.


The Natural History Museum is a perfect place to spend an enlightening time with your child. Beginning with its entrance, where you'll be greeted by the life-sized skeleton of a blue whale. You'll proceed through tiled hallways to twelve exhibition rooms with displays of regional birds, mammals, insects and marine life, as well as artifacts from the museum's vast collection of Native American and antique art.

This day, I enjoyed watching the different moods of fathers with their kids, from playful, to pensive, to protective. They all enacted their fatherly roles with warmth and caring, and made me well aware of the memories they were fostering.

I watched them observe the animated dinosaur, with its flashing teeth and ground-rumbling roar. I saw them wander past docents who displayed live birds: fine-feathered kestrels from the falcon family that were perched on poles. From there, the fathers took their children to one of my favorite exhibitions:

the biennial Butterflies Alive exhibit. Here, live butterflies are enclosed inside a large netted bungalow with a lush interior of flowing fountains and floral gardens. It is always an enchanting scene.


Dear Fathers, thank you, and please take a bow!

**My next post is just days away, on the 20th. I hope to see you then. Sincerely,    ~   Anitra