Somehow winter missed us here in Southern California, and this was the afternoon skies yesterday atop Hilltop Hill in Signal Hill, a city within Long Beach. We’d just had rain the night before and so the air felt really crisp and clean.
If you haven’t noticed, after years of the same theme, I finally updated it yesterday. Figured with the new year, a little change wouldn’t hurt 🙂
If you could split your time evenly between two places, and two places only, which would these be?
There is one other city I seem to talk about as much as New York City, and that’s wherever I happen to be. And at this point on my life, it’s Long Beach, California, a port city just south of Los Angeles. While New York City is buzzling crazy, no matter where you are, where I no longer fit in but doesn’t mean I love it any less, and hella hella expensive – even Brooklyn is the second most expensive Burroughs to live in now as Manhattanites are moving to Brooklyn in droves – there’s Long Beach.
Long Beach is a city of contradictions, where you can be in a ritzy section one minute and walk two blocks up, and there are homeless people muttering in their coffee, the one that they got for free as a refill in their days-old reused cups. It’s a city that has retro row on one end of 4th street and a few blocks away you’ve got LGBT central, with the Silver Fox to the south of Redondo Avenue and Executive Suite to the north.
I really thought Executive Suite was just what it says, a building with suites in them till someone corrected me and said it’s a lesbian bar. That explained the people lining up to get in at night.
It’s taken me a long time to warm up to Long Beach, but as the years go by and I’m still here, walking along its boardwalk and patronizing from every small shop that strikes my fancy – especially bookstores like Apostrophe Books on Main Street and the understatedly hip Viente Y Agua Coffee House with its open mic nights and book filled-up pin-up board – it’s a city that’s been waiting for me all these years. And I’m glad it did.
It can be a struggle sometimes taking the little one to things like this, where he claims to love fireworks but the moment the fireworks start, he shuts his eyes and covers his ears and says he wants the “small fireworks.” And then when the show is all over, and everyone is heading home, he’s screaming and crying that he wants to stay and watch some more.
Some more what? Sometimes I don’t know anymore, but at least it was nice to get out of the house after constant writing and constant being distracted by the Internet. At least I’ve got two more chapters to go with the second book of Loving Ashe, predictably called Loving Riley before I consider taking part of Harlequin’s writing contest on Wattpad.
It’s funny how ideas work. A week ago, I was awash with ideas – so many in fact that it almost seemed that I wasn’t going to finish Loving Riley because I was dying – just dying – to get started with the next book. Then someone tells me about Harlequin’s contest with their 15 categories or so, and – poof! – the ideas and story plots are all GONE.
Go figure. Although most days, I’ve stopped even trying.
In the cover of night, he delivers them
elephants, giraffes, Komodo dragons
there’s even a centaur with his shield by the front door
and an alligator – though firefighters call it an armadillo –
keeps watch at Station Number 4
He’s the guerilla gardener of Rose Park
decorating neighbors’ yards with palm fronds come alive
shaping them and molding them with love and light,
a bird, a stork delivered in the dark of night –
who knows when the next one shall arrive?
My friend Pam introduced me to Hilltop Hill in the city of Signal Hill years ago where we sat on one of the cement benches and looked out on the cities of Long Beach to the south and Los Angeles to the north. I had just left the South Bay after more than 10 years of being a beach girl and two years in to my life as a Long Beach resident, I still hadn’t gotten around to getting used to my new digs, and still did my groceries and shopping in the South Bay on my way home from my office.
Signal Hill is located within the city of Long Beach, and is one of the cities referenced in There Will Be Blood, the movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis. It used to be called Porcupine Hill because of all the oil derricks that peppered the area in the 1920’s that from the distance, it looked like porcupine quills. It was also the perfect place for a real estate boom at that time.
These days, Signal Hill, though no longer looking like Porcupine Hill, still has a few derricks, sometimes right in one’s backyard, with beautiful houses everywhere and a quaint supportive community in the middle of a much bigger city. But there’s a beautiful park on top of the hill and my memories of this hill will always be tied to Pam. The hill is appropriately called Hilltop Hill.
So this morning, I headed over to the Hilltop Park to take a few minutes to myself and just enjoy the view. At the entrance of the park is this walkway with a beautiful saying.
And having discovered that my iPhone does have the panorama feature, I took this beautiful shot of the city of Los Angeles.
There’s a major movie premiere happening tonight right in the middle of that shot – which is Hollywood, I think, with downtown Los Angeles to the right on the horizon and Century City and West Los Angeles on the left of the horizon. The ocean and the port of Long Beach would be to the left of the shot itself