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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Shut Up and Drink

Perhaps these places only exist in the movies or on TV shows, but where are the mellow bars where people go to sit, have a drink and quietly chat with the people around them?  Where are the bars that don’t play ear-splittingly loud music because some study said that would make people drink more?  Where are the bars where you don’t have large groups of people laughing and talking so loudly that you can barely hear yourself think?  Where do serious drinkers go to imbibe in peace?

I had a lovely weekend staying at an historic hotel (another blog on that altogether).  After dinner, my husband and I thought we’d pop into the bar for a drink.  The larger lobby bar had a jazz band that was too loud for us.  So we went upstairs to the smaller lounge.  After securing drinks from the bar, we found a place to sit.  Within a few moments, we were overwhelmed by the large group of people chatting and laughing at top volume nearby.  The space couldn’t absorb all of the sound and it was just bouncing right into my ears.  We finished up our drinks and left.

Perhaps I should just take up day drinking.

Quiet bar

I started fantasizing about creating my perfect bar.  The one where I control the volume of any music played.  The bar that I can keep large groups from entering (four people together max).  A place for drinkers who want a tasty cocktail in a chill atmosphere.  Sunday nights would be a Tiki Party (and no TVs with football anywhere to be found).

Tiki mugs

I could just sit at home and drink, but there is something about communal drinking that I enjoy.  I like paying someone else to shake up that cocktail and pour it into a fancy glass for me.  I like dim lighting and light chatter and chuckling while I knock one back.

There is a place for me.  There has to be.  I can’t be the only one who wants this, can I?

 

Off the Beaten Path

One of the things I like most about walking around in a big city is how you can find things that you just zoom past in your car.  A few weeks ago, I had spotted a little treasure barely a block away from the building I work in.  I didn’t remember to take the time out to get a really good look at it until yesterday.

On a little side street between Venice and Washington sits this beautiful example of that distinct architecture style known as Storybook.  It was a trend in the 1920s and 1930s but fell out of fashion after that.  Probably the most famous L.A. example is the Spadena House (or The Witch’s House as it’s been nicknamed) in Beverly Hills.  You may have spotted it in the film Clueless.

240px-Spadena_Witch_House

Not many of these homes remain but there are a few.  The one I found has even been designated a landmark.

Storybook House 7

It really is like stepping into another world when you find something so out of place like this. Architecture has become so bland and functional.  I really miss ornate and beautiful façades.  It’s nice to see that others are doing their part to make sure these gems stick around for a while.

Here is a sampling of pictures I took on my phone.  I only wish I had had a better camera at the time.

Storybook House 2

Storybook House 3

Storybook House 4

There were a couple of fountain/ponds.  One had goldfish and the other had turtles.

Spotted this little guy sunning himself on a rock.

Spotted this little guy sunning himself on a rock.

There was the main house, a garage with apartment above and another building in back.

Storybook House 1

Storybook House 6

The staircase beckons me

The staircase beckons me

It was a great reminder to sometimes chart a new course.  We start to wear groves into our daily routines and they are really hard to break out of.  Sometimes, it’s worth it.  And it’s not always about getting there as fast as you can.

Happy Californiversary to Me!

Fourteen years ago, bleary-eyed and with my truck loaded full of all the personal possessions it would carry, I entered the state of California.  Three days prior, I had left Ohio and gotten here as fast as I could.  I had no cellphone.  Didn’t have much money to my name either.  But the Call of the West beckoned me forth.

What really drove me was the opposite of this Shakespeare line, “And makes us rather bear those ills we have. Than fly to others that we know not of?”  I could no longer bear my current situation.  It wasn’t horrible but it could become what Henry David Thoreau once described.  “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”  Fear of the unknown can sometimes only be overcome by the fear of never knowing.

So if you feel lost or stuck or even just unhappy, listen closely to that voice inside.  No outside source can give you the answers you seek.  Just like Dorothy discovered, you had the power all along.

By the late, great Shel Silverstein

By the late, great Shel Silverstein