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February 9, 2019

Silverlake Reservoir Hike

Caitie at sunset
I've posted about a few local hikes on my blog.  Silver Lake Reservoir is the one I do most often.  I live not too far from there.  It's got decently available street parking.  The hike is well groomed, so I don't have to be afraid of ticks or other disease to my dog.  We get to meet lots of people and dogs, so it's great for socialization, whether that means stopping to greet or learning to pass without making a fuss.  It's fairly flat, which is great for my asthma.  But it's a good workout as it takes about an hour to go around the full circle at a brisk walk.  And it's beautiful!  Over the years I've been going there, there's been an added park, additional trails, and more landscaping.  

I've taken all of my dogs to Silver Lake Reservoir over several years  It's a favorite spot for me when I'm having a bad day.  The water never fails to cheer me.  When I've been off work for a while, just the simple interaction of a hello from another passerby can make me feel "seen" and completely change my day for the better.

I've seen hawks, coyotes, hummingbirds, ducks, and geese at the reservoir on various occasions. It's a leashed-dog area, except within the bounds of the small and large dog parks at one end. 

The Silver Lake Water Conservancy has put up a series of signs about the history of the reservoirs in Los Angeles.  It's really interesting to know how old they are, and how they've helped the city to survive and grow throughout the decades. 

Claire, Caitie and Chance
I love this place so much I spent Christmas Day hiking there one year.  I carried Claire in her travel bag so that she could join Chance, Caitie and I since her IVDD prevents her from taking long walks.  I wanted all of us to be together on the holiday.

Now that Caitie has passed, I'm continuing the tradition of hiking the reservoir often with my new pup, Callie.  We went today, a Wednesday in early February.  It's been rainy for much of January but the weather was lovely this afternoon.  Snow was visible on the mountains in the far distance. 

Callie's first Silver Lake hike!

Our reason for visiting today was that I'd recently heard of a new path being opened.  It supposedly allowed the public to get close to the reservoir itself, since the water is no longer being used as drinking (potable) water.  

I expected the path to circle the entire reservoir, but found that it was really a small portion of the hike, which paralleled the old path not far from the street.  

On the plus side, the new pathway is handicapped accessible and nicely landscaped.  I hope it will be lengthened in time.
the new Ivanhoe Pathway
the new Ivanhoe Pathway

January 28, 2019

Barnsdall Art Park Stained Glass Class

I signed up for my first class at Barnsdall Art Center during their Winter Session 2019.  After fifteen years without pursuing my hobby, I'm getting back into stained glass--at least on a beginner level.  My instructors, Derek and Angela, even maintain a facebook page for the class, @BarnsdallStainedGlass, so you can follow along with the projects.  The winter session is eight weeks long.  At only three hours long, we need to maximize each class session.

During our first class, we dove right in with a small project to get our feet wet and learn by doing.  Week One's assignment, completed in class, was to design our own pattern by making only three lines on a small piece of paper. We then cut those pattern pieces out with pattern shears and picked scrap glass to score and break.  We applied copper foil to the cut pieces, then used flux, solder, and patina to finish the project.  I'm planning to add zinc came to make a cleaner edge to the outside of the project, then add a chain to make my design into an ornament. 

Having done quite a bit of flat glass in college, I wasn't expecting to learn much during the class.  Rather, I needed the push to clean up my supplies and equipment, and to make time to craft.  But I found that one can always learn something!  On the first night the instructor was using binder clips to keep his rolls of foil neat and tidy.  They worked great.  I'll be taking that one tip to use as my own.

Because the rooms are in such demand by classes of all subjects, there's no room to leave projects or personal supplies from class to class.  I'm really disappointed by that fact, because I wanted to do some larger scale projects, but the size would be prohibitive to transport back and forth each week.  I guess I'm not really surprised though.  I'll pick smaller projects and hopefully get more projects completed than I would if I were restoring the large one I'd had in mind.

I'm hoping I'll make new friends in the class.  It's capped at fifteen students, so we should get to know each other well.  There's one daughter-father couple in the class, a few couples, and three friends who registered together.  I also found out a few people are new to Barnsdall, like me.  We have two students who have taken the class before, and are repeating.  The class covers copper foil, leaded glass, mosaics, foil sheets, 3-d--so many different mediums that I'm not surprised many people elect to take it more than once.  We're encouraged to make of it what we want.

Mural painted on the outside of my classroom
I have a few friends that have taken various jewelry classes at Barnsdall, so I was excited when I finally garnered the initiative to go register. The Park’s benefactor, Aline Barnsdall, gave the eleven and a half acres of Barnsdall Art Park to the City of Los Angeles in 1927 for the benefit of its citizens and to fulfill her vision of furthering enjoyment of art and architecture. In her bequest she stipulated that the site must “forever remain a public park…for the enjoyment of the community in general [and that] no buildings be erected except for art purposes.” The City of Los Angeles’s Department of Cultural Affairs operates the cultural and artistic programs at Barnsdall Park, while the grounds are maintained by the Department of Recreation and Parks.  There is both youth and adult programs on site. 
Aline Barnsdall

January 23, 2019

Franklin Canyon Park

My new puppy Callie and I have started hiking together in the last week.  On the weekend, we went to Westridge-Canyonback for a long two hour hike with my neighbor and her pups.   Today we made a discovery on our own -- we ended up hiking in Franklin Canyon Park.  I filmed in the area about four or six years ago.  Since then I've tried several times to find the location, but it's a bit hidden.  Today I made the right turn!  

The hike is nestled in a grove of scrub oak and firs.  A one-way road circles the larger pond, allowing for an easier walk if you don't want to follow the dirt path along the waterline.  There's a small pond and a bigger lake next to each other, with many picnic tables spread throughout.  We passed an outdoor ampitheater, so I'm going to have to do some research to see what is programmed there.  We saw several species of ducks, turtles, and met a ton of kids, leashed dogs.  Callie actually sniffed a turtle sunning itself on the bank of the shore, and didn't disturb it at all!  

I took Coldwater Canyon straight south up to the intersection at Mullholland.  Directly caddy corner from Treepeople, make a right at the light at the top of the hill (don't turn onto Mulholland).  You'll see a brown sign on the road saying "Franklin Canyon Park."  Drive about a half a mile thru a  residential area, and the street will dead end into the park.  Be aware that the few stop signs within the park are marked as being surveilled and ticketed by camera.

turtles sunning themselves on a tree branch

January 16, 2019

Annenberg Space for Photography National Geographic Photo Ark

I caught an exhibit in its final hour on Sunday, and I'm so thankful I made the effort to go.  "Photo Ark" at the Annenberg Space for Photography is a multiyear photo essay by National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, who has made it his mission to photograph every living animal species in zoos and sanctuaries in more than 40 countries throughout the world.  The goal of the exhibit is to bring viewers eye to eye with endangered wildlife, inspiring conservation of species at risk.

Of course I left it till the eleventh hour before making it to the museum.  The building itself looked so beautiful in the sunset golden light.  The Annenberg Space for Photography has free admission, and validated parking is only $1.50 on weekends.

Because the exhibit was closing within the hour that I entered, two of the most exciting aspects of the exit were not available to me:  the last screening of the documentary had already happened, and the photo studio where guests could pose with a backdrop of their favorite animal was closed.  I made do with my own selfies as the museum emptied out.  

Luckily, the exhibit has been extended one more week.  It's open for added days on Wednesday, January 16th through Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 21st.  It's rainy this week in Southern California, and there's a teacher strike in the LAUSD, so the museum is a great outlet for kids and adults alike.

Mandrill - status: vulnerable

Philippine Tarsier - status: near threatened
Arctic Fox - status:  least concern
King Vulture - status:  least concern

Pharaoh Eagle-Owl - status:  least concern

Diadem Leaf-Nosed Bat - status:  least concern

White-Bellied Pangolin - status:  vulnerable
Coquerel's Sifaka - status:  endangered

"I want people to care, fall in love, and take action."
Reimann's Snake-Necked Turtle - status:  near threatened
Coyote - status:  least concern
African Wild Dog - status:  endangered
Chimpanzee - status:  endangered

"The plain truth is when we save species, we are actually saving ourselves."

Whooping Crane - status: endangered

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