Here we are...

Just off the Port Bow—a place of uncertainty, adventure, and insight. Thank you for your ears, eyes and hearts. I hope to bring compassion, grace and beauty to your day.

California Bound - If the worst is a Parking Fine!

I've been anxious about driving into LA since we first planned this trip about 30 years ago (really since last Fall). One has read about it, watched it on the TV news, seen OJ Simpson chased about in it, and placed it on the never-bucket list.

Fact: to get to LA, one must drive to and in it.

We stalled in Palm Desert as long as thoughts of Friday afternoon rush hour would allow, and then launched. (Jumping off a 3,000 foot cliff in a wingsuit feels like this.) The outside temp. was close to 100 degrees as we drove down Bob Hope Drive and onto Interstate 10. Our Waze app told us we had about 2 1/2 hours of driving until we arrived at our Airbnb digs.

It wasn't all that bad. As we left the San Jacinto range behind us the temperature started to go down into the 80s. Good. The traffic kept moving and their were four or five lanes to move it in. Good. Only one crazy driver cut in front of us going about ninety...just one. Good. My bladder was behaving, so we didn't have to worry about pit stops. Very good.

We did make one stop; a pilgrimage of sorts.

In the late nineteenth century a church group founded a college near Ontario California, and named it La Verne. I like to think that Laverne Defazio was named after this place, but that's just the Milwaukee in me talking.

In the early days of WW2, before the US was in the war, a group of Quakers from Philly and some Buddhist types from LA (and a few other assorted religious folk) gathered at La Verne College for two and one half weeks to talk about war, religion, pacifism and personal beliefs. Gerald Heard was the convener, and in attendance was Christopher Isherwood (and maybe Aldous Huxley). Isherwood kept journal notes on the event, quite deep and insightful. I have excerpts of these notes and find them thrilling and challenging; significant observations which shed light on many aspects of my own faith journey.

My good friend Paul Zahl turned my attention toward Isherwood, Heard and Huxley. It was fun to take a brief break from the intensity of Interstate10 and walk around this pacific and historic campus....and send Paul pictures of this Mecca for American Religious History.

Here's Founder's Hall, where we imagine the La Verne Seminar effervesced.






Back on the road....we had an appropriate number of traffic slowdowns, and soon found ourselves on Santa Monica Blvd. heading toward Hollywood (you could see that iconic sign off to the right). A turn down North Van Ness Ave., and right across from Paramount Pictures, and...



Thank you Airbnb. We have a cozy little apartment for these next two nights. Parking is a bit of a challenge, just two hours allowed during the day (except Sundays). One can safely say, though safely is really, really the wrong word, that traffic moves right along in this town; and there is a lot of it. I don't want to say any more about it. We live in Grafton on a dirt road.

A few hours to kill...we joined every visitor to Los Angeles and ascended the Hollywood Hills to the famous Griffith Observatory. Parking here is as bad as it is down on the streets. I thought we did well.

We didn't.

The coffers of Los Angeles earned $93 from my ignorance of "red zone" laws. I'm barely wiser, though they are the richer despite my continued ignorance.

The views of LA and the surrounding hills were really worth it all. The smog, it seems, was less dense than usual, which meant that you could see most of the San Bernardino Range to the east.



Dinner with Chase and Angela in Larchmont Village, a few blocks away from where we are staying and where they live. Take Greenwich Ave. in Greenwich, CT and make it a little bigger and busier and you get a picture of what the scene was (Silver Spring Drive in Milwaukee - for my sibs). A few miles west is Beverley Hills. Hollywood is just to the north. The sushi we ate took care of the east and I faced south. There.

We had to drive around our North Van Ness Ave. block about five times in order to find a parking place. It seems that people around here come home of an evening and bring their cars with them.

And there was evening and there was morning, a third day; and just one parking fine.


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Location:North Van Ness Ave., Los Angeles, CA

California Bound - Shabbat - Hollywood style

The New Normal