Belated Saturday Paws–I’ve been busy with some new connections!

You may have been wondering what Ruffles and Mae-be Baby have been up to.

Just chillin'
Tug the flip flop!

I am sorry to have been off-the-blog (my own term) while attempting to “go wireless” in my mountain area home. Not so easy I’ve discovered! Several years ago I decided to give up my home TV set-up with exceptions only to include selected Videos and DVDs. I have my radio for news and music, plus a collection of CDs and even LPs that would impress many. I simply found the commercials and cable prices offensive! So, I cancelled all the hard-wire potential– often in Altadena the cable TV access was still fuzzy and limited anyway! I also gave up the home computer for a while. My jobs kept me more than busy, and I had Internet at work which was more than enough.

But then two years ago, after my devastating car accident, I came to understand what a help home access to a computer could be.  While recovering at my friend’s home I appreciated using her computer and I realized the benefit of connecting to my work sites and clients, used e-mail communication with my insurance company and attorney, and discovered the time savings of on-line searching for a replacement for my crunched-up car–what the Jaws-of-life do to a vehicle is not pretty! 

On top of my physical injuries, I also lost my older rescued Boxer, Buster Brown. The computer provided a safe grieving spot.  As I looked at the new to me furry faces, I cried because my recovery had taken me away when Buster passed. Dear friends and neighbors took care of his remains for me and then respectfully kept the news from me so I could have my birthday without that knowledge, but I felt something was amiss when I called to ask how my boy Buster and Mae-be were doing. I guess even a Doggy Mommy knows in her heart.

It is amazing to me how many animal rescue sites are available on the web! And various Humane Societies have some really nice E-zines with very helpful information. This was especially good for me since my legs were immobilized, my car no longer drivable, and I had days of pain and shock to just get through. But, once again, the computer helped me to search for a new furry family member.

Surfing the web also meant surfing through some of the worst pain, panic, and fear in the isolation of those first days and nights during my recovery period. Add to the situation that the rain that winter was really something!  But I could still escape while enjoying computer images of sunny “more hopeful” places and warm environments everywhere. And most of all, I could anticipate a possible new rescue!

So, two years later it’s birthday time again, and here I am going “WIFI”—Yup!  I’m trying a wireless connection for my laptop. It’s still been a challenge synching everything and getting it all to run smoothly, but I am writing to you right now on it and what a wonder this is! Maybe one CAN heal from sad passings, broken bones and bruised brains, and start new beginnings with a new-to-us furry family member!

Mae-be and CoCo Puff! Two BIG dogs! Ha!

(We’ve been a doggy day-care recently, with CoCo Puff visiting.  You can’t tell him he isn’t a big dog!!)

If you know someone who is going through some tough times and might be feeling disconnected and isolated, perhaps you can help them with the steps to go WIFI, too. Remember that often someone recovering from illness or injury may not have the capacity to do this for themselves and could use a little helpful assistance! Remaining connected to others and to the outside world aids healing and often provides an important  distraction from pain—And the Internet is accessible at any hour of day or night!  I now think it is very much worth the investment!

Goodbye for now!

Blessings, Beth & the Girls

Hollywoodland–Here we come again!

I hope you brought your walking shoes and are ready to take another jaunt along Hollywood Boulevard.  Just a short distance from where we visited the Pantages Theatre on Friday is an entirely different bustle of activity. Between the famed Hollywood Sign and Walk of Fame sits an entertainment mecca and trio of historic theaters, Disney’s El Capitan, the Kodak and famed Grauman’s Chinese.

It might surprise you to learn that real estate has always been Hollywood’s primary economy despite the lucrative nature of the film industry.  The Hollywood Sign was originally conceived and built by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler in 1923 as outdoor advertising for his suburban housing development called “Hollywoodland.”  The story of the Hollywood Sign is really very interesting and spans more than eight decades. If you are interested in learning more, you can read about it here. And if you feel the urge to experience it even a bit closer, you can view the Hollywood Sign live 24 hours a day by accessing a well-placed webcam here!

My mom and I made the trip into Hollywood to accompany Aimee and the girls for an afternoon showing of Beauty and the Beast at the El Capitan Theatre.  But yes, once again we were early, so we made our way over to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Millions of visitors come to the most famous movie theatre in the world recognizing the site as home to big movie premieres held at the Chinese on a regular basis. The Theatre opened in 1927 with the debut of the original silent version of Cecil B. DeMille’s King of Kings. 

This photo only captures a portion of the magnificent design!

The exterior resembles a Chinese pagoda, featuring a huge dragon and stone lion-dogs guarding the main entrance. Due to the size and scope of the theatre it was impossible for me to take a good picture, but for more history and to enjoy a lovely full exterior shot, you might click here.  If you do, be sure to note the tab linking you to a list of all the upcoming premieres scheduled. The schedules are publicized and the public is widely encouraged to attend.  No, not to come in and see the movie, of course, but to stand outside to fawn and gush over all the invited guests. What would a star-studded event be without an admiring throng?

Look at the detail on these bronze doors!

The theater is situated in the shadow of the Kodak Theatre, current home to the Oscar’s.

But outside Grauman’s and the Kodak you must be prepared to navigate a sea of street

Can't overlook a Storm Trooper!

performers fully and elaborately costumed as film and cartoon characters. I chose to take just a few pictures from a distance, sorry about the quality, but the expectation is for photographers to tip the performers and they are a little too “in your face” and aggressive for my comfort, frequently running “afoul” of local business owners and the LAPD. I was glad that while on the street with the girls, Chucky, the Scream Ghost Face and other scary masks were not working their usual beat!

But probably the largest tourist draw is the Grauman’s forecourt.  Sid Grauman, the showman responsible for building the theater is also credited with the idea of putting the stars’ footprints, handprints and autographs  in wet cement. This really is an enjoyable destination. Everyone has their favorites! Click here to read more about the stars and their famous imprints. For example, Groucho Marx and George Burns left imprints of their cigars and Jimmy Durante and Bob Hope immortalized their famous noses with cement impressions!

Hard to choose a favorite out of so many, but Humphrey Bogart is no slouch!
I sure hope someday Karina and Sophia will watch Shirley Temple with me. Maybe?
The girls "try on" Gloria Swanson, who had the smallest feet!

So after a quick lunch we were on to the El Capitan Theatre. Four-year-old Sophia and 2 1/2-year-old Karina were not aware of the legendary past of this beautiful landmark, but  were primed to view a Digital 3D showing of Disney’s  Beauty and the Beast, with Belle, “live on stage” making an appearance before each show.

Citizen Kane premiered at El Capitan in 1941

I never turn down an invitation and opportunity to accompany my granddaughters on their adventures, but I was more interested in the architecture and renovation of the theatre than the movie itself. The El Capitan Theatre debuted on May 3, 1926, as “Hollywood’s First Home of Spoken Drama.” Designed by San Francisco architect G. Albert Lansburgh, the theatre has undergone a museum-grade renovation.  To learn a little bit more about the history of the El Capitan as well as the interesting journey of the revitalization effort, click here.

Ornate Ceiling inside the theatre

At the end of a long day we were glad to have taken in all the sights and sounds of this little pocket of Hollywood. Two visits to Hollywood Boulevard in one week is a rare occurrence, but I had so much fun I’ll gladly accompany any friends who now recognize my skill as tour guide! And at the end of my delightful day I had time to consider what I most enjoyed, and it was definitely the pleasure of spending time with my own two little princesses!

And this concludes our tour of Hollywood…I hope you might one day have the chance to visit in person. I’m always up for the adventure so just let me know! Debra

A Walk on Hollywood Boulevard

I was raised on Vince Lombardi time. If you’re any younger than I am you may be unfamiliar, but the members of our household were raised with a strict adherence to his principle that one should arrive 10 to 15 minutes early—whenever and wherever—or you are LATE! So recently, on two separate occasions to meet friends and family on Hollywood Boulevard,  I arrived nice and early with time to walk around, camera in hand!

I thought in honor of the upcoming 84th Academy Awards I’d share a little slice of my tour. Hollywood is much more than a few famous streets, but probably none is more iconic than a small stretch of Hollywood Boulevard.

You know you’re in Hollywood  with  super-sized billboards–you can’t miss them!

Capitol Records Building

No, it’s not really leaning. It was just a challenge for me to take a great shot of a thirteen story tower! Located just north of the famous Hollywood and Vine intersection, this is the home of the West Coast operations of Capitol Records, and is on the List of Registered Historic Places in Los Angeles.  For trivia buffs, the first album recorded in the tower was Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color, 1956.

Stunning example of high ornate Art Deco architecture
Interior view of Pantages Theater

The Pantages Theatre, the first Art Deco theater in the United States, opened in 1930 as part of the Fox Theatre chain and from 1949 to 1959 the Academy Awards were presented here. The theatre has been through many changes over its illustrious career, but in 2000 after a $10 million extensive renovation the beautifully restored Pantages began housing limited engagements of national Broadway tours.  I am a nut for musical theatre, so I refer to this building as one of my happy places!

Directly across from the Pantages is another building with a little history, the often overlooked Taft Building. The Taft was the city’s first high-rise office building and in Hollywood’s golden age Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, and all the studios occupied office space. Located at Hollywood and Vine the Taft still offers retail and office space in the heart of Hollywood.

Taft Building

Of course, it’s a mixed view along the Boulevard. When I was young the street was heavily lined with rows of buildings offering X rated shows and attracting a rather seedy crowd. The boulevard has been significantly upgraded over the last 15 years, but a few haunts still hearken the past.

Can you read the tag line? Hilarious!

The Walk of Fame is enjoyable and the stars are plentiful. On February 6th the 6,752nd star will be added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the Category of Recording, to AMERICA, the Grammy Award-winning duo who gained popularity in the 1970’s.  Remember “Horse With No Name?” 

I think the glamor of the past is probably a little more interesting.  One of my favorite movies is High Society so I made a point of tracking down Grace Kelly’s Walk of Fame Star and found it at 6153 Hollywood Blvd.

Well, I was able to take all these pictures and enjoy the sites all in the hour before meeting my daughter and others for a theater event.  Vince Lombardi time provided a very nice window of opportunity.

Meet me here on Saturday and I’ll take you on a brief tour of another stretch of Hollywood Boulevard, including Grauman’s Chinese Theater, site of all those movie premiers and over 200 famous hand and foot prints captured in cement. I know you all know Grauman’s Chinese. Hasn’t everyone seen Lucy and Ethel prying John Wayne’s cement block out of the ground? I’ll be here, so be sure to bring your walking shoes.

Your personal tour guide, Debra