Brisbane, QLD

Monday, September 30, 2013


Another day in LA. Sonya took Carol and I for a morning walk up a very steep hill overlooking LA. It is called Runyan Canyon walk. Bernie stayed home while Banjo had a nap but Fox insisted on coming with us. He was told over and over he had to walk and there would be no carrying.

 Carol runs to the edge for a good shot.

 People living up here have a view for miles and miles.

 Unfortunately it was smoggy this morning but it lifted by lunchtime. The CBD is in the misty distance. Little 3 year old Fox walked all the way up to the top without complaining. He was a champ! 

 However, on the way down his little legs grew tired.  Mommy, who is always prepared had a fold up sling for him to sit in on her back. We were soon on the road back to the car.

Later, Sonya went to work, Bernie minded the boys and Carol and I went exploring. We had driven past these beautiful buildings and we wanted to see them up close. Bernie told us it is The Pacific Design Centre.
 The PDC is on a 14acre campus and it has 1,200,00 sq ft of space for multi purpose uses by the design community. There is a huge decorating and furniture market with 130 showrooms. 

The Blue Centre was opened first in 1975, the green Centre in 1988 and the Red Centre in 2011. It was designed by Cesar Pelli. We walked through the Blue Centre which was full of furniture showrooms but we couldn't get into the other buildings, which were probably offices and car parks.

 There is also one of the branches of MOCA (museum of Contemporary Art). We were keen to visit. However, we were not impressed. Firstly it is housed in a n uninspiring cement box building, see above in the middle. It took us ages to find the entrance which was an insignificant door at the back, the art wasn't very good either. All in all we were not thrilled with the place. We found the Jelly Beans in the park opposite were more fun.

We rang Sonya and asked what else we could see in this area in walking distance. She gave us directions to The Beverley Centre an up market shopping complex. Carol and I looked at one another and smiled and whooped at the thought of a shopping spree. Hours later, Sonya picked us up, with our swollen shopping bags and empty wallets, on her way home from work.

 I bought another pair of sneakers. Banjo took them off me, sat down and put them on. He loved them.
Fox was waiting for dinner.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


After we had visited the Tar Pits and Page Museum, it was time for Sonya to go to work. Bernie came to pick up the boys and Carol and I were given the afternoon off from babysitting duties. We walked to the next block where LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) is located. We had a nice lunch at the restaurant there and then we bought tickets and set off with a map. The place is huge and there was no way we would see all the buildings in one afternoon. So we only did one.
 Before we entered the building we saw this outside installation called, 'Levitated Mass', Michael Heizer. It is a 460ft concrete slot sloping down to a 15ft depth under a suspended 340ton granite megalith. (A bloody big rock as we would say in Oz). A special transporter had to be made to carry the rock through the busy streets of LA.

 In the fore court next to the main road is another installation called, 'Urban Light',  Chris Burden. There are 202 vintage street lamps arranged into a square formation. They are solar powered and light up at night. I rather liked this one. I only had my P&S camera and the lens wasn't wide enough. If I stepped back I would have been in the path of hundreds of cars.

There were some great masterpieces but there were also the weird ones. Here is a red , highly polished plank called, 'Don't Tell me When to Stop',  John McCracken, 1967. Apparently it is hand lacquered and polished hundreds of times.  The one on the right is a frame wrapped in a tarp and rope. It is called, 'Portrait of Ray',  Christo Javacheff, 1969. ????

 I liked this one. 'Giant Pool Balls',  Claes Oldenburg.

My favourite of the day was, 'Toward Disappearance' Sam Francis, 1957.

It was time to get a taxi home and relieve Bernie of baby sitting so that he could learn his lines for his audition the next morning. 
I took the kids into the back yard. While the boys were on the swing, I thought time for a nice shot of them together, when Fox spotted my camera and asked,
"Grandma can I have a look at your camera? Can I hold it, please"
('Gulp,' I say)

 "Yes that is the button."

 I left the camera with Fox , hoping for the best, while I ran off to help Banjo with the finger paint. His painting challenged some of those that we had seen earlier in the afternoon at LACMA. It was time to distract Fox from the camera and remove Banjo from painting everything in sight including me.

I even conned Fox into pushing his brother to save me the job.

(I take my hat off to all the grandparents in the world who care for their grandchildren full time. I was worn out after 10 days part time.)

Friday, September 27, 2013


When I was in LA last week my daughter, Sonya, managed to take us to the Tar Pits before she went to work. She did a wonderful job of showing us around LA as well as looking after the children and going to work. Luckily she had a late start and she had Bernie around to help.

The Tar Pits are lakes of bubbling asphalt and methane found in the heart of LA. They have been a landmark since before the spanish explorers. Indians used the tar to waterproof their baskets and boats. Later it became part of a Spanish land grant called Rancho La Brea (meaning tar/pitch). Now it is surrounded by the commercial centre of LA.

Early settlers used the tar to waterproof the roofs of their adobe houses. They also found bones in the tar but thought they were of cattle. However, in 1905 scientists began looking more closely at the bones and discovered it was one of the richest Ice Age fossil deposits in the world.

It is still an ongoing working site for paleontologists, where 3.5 million fossils have been found and still counting.
 Lakes of bubbling asphalt and methane.
 The Pits are in parkland called Hancock park. It was land owned by George A Hancock and he donated it to LA County.

 In the park is the Page Museum, which houses many fossil exhibits. The museum was built and designed by George C Page a self made millionaire and philanthropist.

 Before we went into the museum, 'mommy' gives the boys a snack.

 It is a great museum with not only bones but life size models of the prehistoric animals that have been found on this site. They are moving and roaring animals which captivates the little ones. This mammoth was rearing its head and trumpeting. Then Banjo did the cutest thing. He put his two hands on his forehead and stuck out his forefingers and bent his head up and down and roared, imitating the mammoth. I missed the photo opportunity.

When we came to the Sabre Toothed Cat attacking the Ground Sloth, with much roaring and grappling, Fox needed the reassurance of Aunty Carol that it wasn't real.


 Paleontologsts at work

 We left the museum and walked through the park to see some working pits. We passed a busker where Banjo met a banjo player. He loved the music and started to dance.

One of the pits where bones are still being found.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


It was our friend, Helen's birthday and she chose to have her Birthday Bear Celebration at Cafe Fish 53 in East Brisbane. We arrived early, so we walked through the park opposite the Cafe, down to the river. 
  It was a beautiful Spring Day and the view of the city, the bridge and the ferry was lovely. 

 We walked along the river side past some nice apartments.........

 .......and pretty gardens.

Then it was time to go back to the Cafe for lunch and to see what surprise Birthday Bear had for us and Helen. Check out my new sneakers that I bought in LA. They are sparkly.

 Helen (right) is a keen jam and chutney maker so Bear decided to be her jam making helper. Mary (left) dressed bear this time and did a great job.

 Helen is happy with her Bear and especially the jam and chutney recipe book which bear had brought along.

Bear is an expert cook. She is looking forward to going home with Helen and helping out with the jam cooking and probably the tasting too.
We were lucky to have our old friends, Bob and Chris (front) join us this time as they are in Brisbane for a while before continuing on with  their caravan trekking.

(I managed to get a finger print smear on my lens which blurred the photos, doh!)

Sunday, September 22, 2013


After a 10 day whirlwind visit to LA, USA, I am home again in Brisbane, Australia. I've had engagements everyday since arriving home and no time to succumb to jet lag or to blog until today.

My eldest daughter, Carol, accompanied me to visit my youngest daughter, Sonya, who lives in LA with her husband, Bernie and their two toddlers, Fox and Banjo. It was lovely to hug and kiss them all in person instead of Skyping.

Sonya is now working to help pay the bills but she hates having to leave the little ones. However, they do have a lovely young nanny who looks after the children at home and Bernie helps out when he is not at work.

Sonya works as a production manager of the theatres at UCLA (University of California). She has been lucky to ease into her new job while the students have been on summer holiday but it will become busy next week when the students return.

One day Bernie took Carol and I and the two kids into UCLA to see where "mommy" works. (Yes, Fox is picking up the American accent). It is a beautiful Campus and Sonya is lucky to work in such a nice environment. It is a huge campus stretching for miles. We saw a small corner of the campus near where Sonya works.

Two of the theatres at UCLA

A fountain in front of the theatres captured Banjo's attention
while Aunty Carol is on 'toddler watch'.

The grounds are beautiful.
This is part of a sculpture garden.

"Mommy" shows the little ones her work place.

We take a walk around the beautiful buildings

Papa watches the boys splash in a fountain. 

The sisters enjoy their short time together.

Sonya loves her new job but would prefer to stay home with her toddlers.

Time to go home for dinner, bath, story time and bed. 

One of the many sculptures in the gardens.