The Rose Garden at Exposition Park–a good place to de-stressify!

It’s definitely time for me to move forward from my outrageous week. That’s what I’m calling it. Thanks so much for excellent comments and interaction with me while I ranted a bit. I don’t often share my frustrations and anger too openly–at least not in print! But now we’re moving into the weekend and I’m ready for a giant exhale.

I did several things this week to “de-stressify.”  Maybe today I’ll just share about one of them.

We spent some time at Exposition Park. In another century this was 160-acres of privately owned racetrack and fairgrounds but in 1889 the State of California and the County and City of Los Angeles jointly purchased the park. By 1909 the Beaux-Arts site plan was in place. It is a beautiful center of the city, with museums, old and new, and wonderfully beautiful grounds.

The centerpiece of Exposition Park is the Rose Garden. The sunken grounds bloom with over 200 varieties of roses. Even in late November the roses are still lovely.

Some of the rose canes are enormous. And many of the roses towered above my head. They are beautiful!

The garden is located adjacent the University of Southern California, the Natural History Museum and the California Science Center. Fortunately the Rose Garden is on the National Register of Historic Places. There have been times when it was threatened!

In 1986 there were plans to replace the garden with an underground parking garage! Imagine! There had been an earlier proposal to turn it into a practice field for the Los Angeles Raiders. Thank goodness for garden-loving activists! Heavy public pressure reversed those plans, and now the garden is open to the public 365 days of the year.

This weekend I’m going to extend my exhale with some time at the ocean. Even though we’re having a little rain, and you know it NEVER rains in Southern California–or that’s what the song says–nothing can spoil time on the coast.

Have a wonderful weekend. December tends to be a busy month…let’s front load the rest and relaxation. Here’s a little bonus to get us started.

I took these photos today…in the rain. These Ginkgo trees were close to my home and when I rounded the corner and saw the gorgeous color I stopped to take a few shots. Who says we don’t have fall color? Proof!

Have a wonderful weekend.

There I was, minding my own business…listening to a little Christmas music…

If you missed my previous post about the outrageous desecration of ancient California Native American petroglyphs you might want to catch up here.  I assure you I have no intention of continuing with themes related to negativity and odious behaviors, but based on a morning encounter with a billboard, I just couldn’t resist sharing what occurred this morning–a final emphasis on how much work goes into maintaining balance, while cultivating positivity!

It’s kind of tricky business to put yourself out there as a positive outlook blog–breathelighter’s primary focus is towards encouraging general well-being and the ways that I maintain balance, then this week I switched gears quickly and talked about being outraged.  My natural set-point is balanced more heavily towards optimism, but sometimes I lose that perspective, despite my best efforts. Occasionally I realize that although I don’t very often lean into depression, if I’m not careful, I can swallow a heavy dose of cynicism.

It’s not my best trait. But when I don’t actively affirm more positive attributes in others I fall into a well-nursed  negative and complaining tone.

I  know to take responsibility for how I feed my emotions. It’s my problem if I listen to others complain, or digest non-stop media messages designed to elicit a negative emotional response. It’s certainly my own fault if I choose to be addicted to the daily news…most of it is rubbish.

When I realize I’m tumbling into the abyss of gloom, I usually know what works to lift me out.

So that’s what I was doing this morning.  On the way to work I chose to keep the radio off, and as I was cheerfully listening to a favorite Christmas CD I pulled up to the first large intersection and quickly glanced to my right. Whoa! My head did one of those whiplash hard snaps! Where just yesterday a billboard promoting a local health food store stood mighty and tall right next to a “Christmas at Disneyland” advertisement, this is what I read.

Well, that will wake you up!  It wasn’t even 7:00 a.m. yet!  Even Christmas music can’t quite calm that jolt!

The San Gabriel Valley has the largest concentration of Chinese Americans in the entire United States. You can see the message is printed in English and Chinese. I won’t comment on the board’s content except to say that I feel ignorant of the issue. The billboard did its job in raising some level of awareness and I’ll fact check as soon as I’m able.


So where do I go from here?

I have an activist nature…I don’t ignore problems very well (not that I don’t sometimes try…)

I wonder if young people know of Helen Keller?  She inspires me.  As a deafblind social activist–did you know she helped found the ACLU? –she lived her own words:  “Although the world is full of suffering it is full also of the overcoming of it.”

She doesn’t sound cynical, does she?

There are so many people doing really GOOD things to the benefit others.

I have been hearing some wonderful stories of examples of hardworking, committed people not necessarily actively seeking global change, but  finding creative ways that make a difference right on their doorstep.

So that’s my focus for the rest of this week.

My next post will share a couple of stories highlighting people/places or things that inspire me. Maybe you’ll also enjoy the benefit of a little shift in focus.

I hope you’ll come back and be buoyed along with me.

And the music I was listening to on the way to work? Music always elevates my mood.

I’ve added a page at the top of the blog banner where I’ve listed some of my favorite holiday tunes. It’s just for fun. Maybe you can leave a comment there and let me know what you are listening to this holiday season.

I suggest we all turn down the noise! If you’re more disciplined than I am, try turning it completely off!

It’s hard to breathe lighter when I’m outraged!

Against better judgment, I typically begin my day with a dose of news radio. There is no shortage of exposure to stories that disturb and distort the peace of the morning, and to liberally borrow from Alice, “Sometimes I’ve been bombarded by as many as six outrageous stories before breakfast.”

I can’t quite explain why out of all the horrors of human behavior one particular story stands out, but you may have heard about the vandalism and theft of ancient Native American petroglyphs from the California-Nevada border. It’s appalling! Federal authorities discovered the vandalism on October 31st, but I heard the first news report just last week.

The Eastern Sierra Mountains are ancient and majestic–emphasis on the word ancient. Hunters and gatherers populated this area more than 3,500 years ago and the area is still used by the Bishop Paiute Tribe for religious ceremonies.

At least four petroglyphs were chiseled from the face of the mountain and taken from the site. Others were defaced with saw cuts. One was broken during the theft and then just propped against a boulder near visitor parking! Dozens are damaged by scarring from hammer  strikes and saws.

It’s a tragic defacement to what area Native Americans have held as sacred space. Their ancestors told stories in those lava boulders with renderings of concentric circles, bows and arrows, deer, rattlesnakes and bighorn sheep. The images depict the  life of the ancient tribes, and terribly selfish and malicious thieves violated the sacred grounds, stripping history and meaning away from their culture in a matter of a very few hours.

Archaeologist David Whitely, who wrote the nomination that succeeded in getting the site listed on the National Register of Historic Places said, “How do we manage fragile resources that have survived as much as 10,000 years but can be destroyed in an instant.”

Yep! Once gain the “few” have threatened the ability of the rest of us to enjoy the freedom to commune with the past through nature. I predict it won’t be long before federal authorities will find it necessary to completely protect the area, and perhaps others like it, by making it impossible to approach.

The Bishop Paiute Tribe is a sovereign nation, the fifth largest tribe in California with around 2,000 enrolled members. The culture of the people is deeply embedded with the natural resources of the area that have been safeguarded by the Paiute people for hundreds of years. This is very tough news to take!

The idea of sacred and spiritual place, timeless historical implication and general natural beauty being stolen from future generations is devastating, and I’ve been thinking about it all week.

The destruction of the petroglyphs is nothing more than vandalism. There is no archaeological team behind it. No one was studying the historically rich escarpment. A few well orchestrated thugs may sell the pieces to private collectors for a few hundred dollars.

I thought about this while we were touring the Cleopatra exhibit at the California Science Center this weekend. I’m certainly not equating authorized archaeological expeditions with vandals, but it did come to my mind that perhaps we are a little cavalier about the search for lost treasures, the burial grounds of ancient kings and queens, and historical artifacts that belong to lost civilizations.

I suppose I’ll be thinking uncomfortable thoughts for a while. I’m too interested in history and what we learn from the discoveries to put aside curiosity on a not yet well-formed principle, but while “touring” I was mindful of the people and civilization of Cleopatra’s Day. It was a bit overwhelming.

Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt will be leaving Los Angeles and the west coast at the end of the month. I’ll share more about this very extensive collection next time, but for today, let me just share a couple of photos to whet your appetite.

Dealing with antiquities is tricky business, isn’t it?

Stay tuned….