Dan and Hannah with Owen and Max Explore the Santa Barbara Zoo

Our grandsons, Owen (kindergarten) and Max (preschool), have come with their parents to California during February school vacation week in New England.  Whether it is including the boys at an evening potluck with local friends in California, exploring the beach in Carpinteria, or taking them on a train ride to Ventura, we look to make memories with our guys.

Rattle 3B Rawdings at meadow

At the meadow two miles into the Rattlesnake Trail in Santa Barbara

Yesterday, Hannah and I with the Family Rawding hiked the Rattlesnake Trail in Santa Barbara.  Click here for that adventure.

Today, we will take the boys to the Santa Barbara Zoo while their parents hike up Gaviota Peak 45 minutes north on The 101.

Zoo map

Arriving at the zoo fifteen minutes from our home-away-from-home in Carpinteria, we have a sunny, blustery day for los animales.

Zoo 1 flamingos with O and M

Flamingos that are worth a good thirty second for Owen (in red), Max (in orange), and me

At each exhibit, the boys’ age-appropriate short attention span matches mine.  While Hannah reads about the animals and tells us one of the listed fun facts, I take a good thirty seconds to take in the tropical birds or the elephants or the lions or the giraffes.  Then the boys and I move on.  I am not a stop and smell the roses animal lover.  I gotta be me.

Zoo 2A tortoise 2

 

 

Pausing in front of the tortoise enclosure, we learn from the keeper about these forty year-old tortoises.  As herbivores, they are making a comeback from endangered status thanks to zoos and private owners.  Unfortunately, their shells are still harvested, which, upon removal, immediately kills the tortoises because their backs are directly attached to their shells.  Some kill the tortoises for their livers, which they believe have wonderous medicinal properties.

Zoo 3 giraffe skull

Giraffe skull

Zoo 3B giraffe hoot

Giraffe hoof

On the path by the giraffe enclosure, two volunteers intrigue us all with the skull of a giraffe.  Next to them they have a 15” bicycle tire tube that represents the length of the giraffe’s tongue.  Then the volunteers set a rubbery mat on the ground which indicates the size of the giraffe’s hoof and lets the boys compare their feet to that of a giraffe.

Zoo 3 giraffe

Giraffe with the Pacific Ocean in the distance

Lions, elephants, alligators, anteaters, and penguins rock our world, albeit briefly.

Zoo 1C Max with lion

Max checking out the lion

Zoo 1CC the lion

Tough life tanning 200 yards from the Pacific Ocean

Zoo 1A O and M with elephant

Elephante

Zoo 1B Omi as zookeeper

Perhaps I should have taken this picture when the sun went behind the clouds

 

Zoo 4A alligator

See you later

 

Zoo 6 anteater

The anteater is one big dude!

Zoo 6B penguin with max

Max at the penguin aquarium

Zoo 6D O and M with penguin

Owen and Max check out Peter the Penguin

Wisely constructed in the center of the SB Zoo, a favorite spot for our young guys, is the AstroTurf mound at the playground where Owen and Max slide down the hill on cardboard.  Owen teaches his brother how to surf down the play hill.

Zoo 5 more playground

Zoo 5 playground

With cool temperatures near 60F, we are not exhausted after nearly four hours among the mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.  That said, once home, we turn the boys back over to their parents, and have one sweet siesta.

Advertisements

Dan and Hannah Hike with the Family Rawding at Rattlesnake Canyon in California

Rattle SB map

Hiking with our daughter Molly, her hubby Tip, our grandsons, Owen (kindergarten), and Max (pre-school) has become a family tradition for Hannah and me when they come to California.  Choosing the four mile round-trip Rattlesnake Trail, we have what is referred to online as the most popular hike in Santa Barbara.  Traveling a mere 12 miles from our home-away-from-home in Carpinteria on The 101 north, we pull into the city of Santa Barbara Skofield Park.  A hopeful sign of the times greets us.

Rattle 1AA Omi and Owen at trailhead with sign

Rattle 1 Rawdings at the trailhead

Not two hundred yards away, we begin our trek by crossing the canyon stream.  Today, Tip calmly steps on stones 2/3 of the way across the creek, turns back with his hand reaching for first Owen, then Max, followed by Molly, Hannah, and me.

Rattle 1 Family R and H on trail

Tip, Molly, Owen, Hollywood Max, and Omi on the trail

Maybe half a mile into the hike, the trail diverges – to the right along the mountainside, to the left back to towards the river.  I swear that when Hannah and I were here two years ago that we hiked this trail to the right.  Click here for that blog.  My memory?  It’s not batting 1.000.

Rattle 2BB D and family on trail

Max, Tip, Owen, Omi, and Poppa on the tree shaded trail

Not my shiniest moment.  Climbing up and away from the luxury homes of Santa Barbara, we are soon walking single file on the steep mountain-side – Owen with his Omi and Max with me skipping along the trail.  As the trail narrows and falls away sharply to the creek, Hannah and I turn to the first team, their parents, to take over and guide them along the trail.  Later, three athletic women call this the “technical” path to the meadow on the Rattlesnake Trail.  My bad.

Rattle 2C another excellent family on trail

The Family Rawding far from New England

Eventually crossing back over the creek with Tip’s reassuring support, we reconnect with the original (and by that, I mean reasonable) trail, which is a gentler climb towards the mountain meadow.  A good hour and 45 minutes after we started we arrive at the meadow beneath the towering Santa Ynez Mountains.

Rattle 3A we six at meadow end point

Returning by way of the advertised main trail, we pass the mini-waterfalls (and by that, I mean tumbling cascade) during the rainiest winter in eight years.  On the main trail back, we do have two more water crossings.  At the second, Tip again confidently steps ¾ of the way into the creek, first lifts Max, then hoists Owen over to the other side.  Molly follows without aid as does Hannah.

Being a tad less agile than these athletic women, I reach down for the creek boulders to lower my center of gravity to steady myself.  At that point, Tip reaches for my hand to support me mid-creek.  As I’m about to step to the dry side, Owen reaches out his hand to get me to dry land.

Rattle 4A mini-falls on way back

Hannah sees it all and tears up.  Like father, like son.

 

 

 

 

 

More pictures from the Rattlesnake Trail

RAttle 2AA O and P with O and M

Poppa, Owen, Max, and Omi on the trail where we never see a rattlesnake

Rattle 3 Nooshawk photo meadow

Rattlesnake Trail Meadow

Rattle 4B hail

On our descent, hail rained down on us all

Rattle 4 H on trail coming back

Rattle 4BB Molly and Max

Molly and Max with the Channel Islands of the Pacific Ocean in the background

Rattle 4CC Omi and fam on trail

Hannah – always pumped

 

Rattle 4AA Molly and Tip

Molly and Tip

Dan and Hannah Make California Memories with Owen and Max

Vent family rawding with O and P

Tip, Max, Molly, Poppa, Owen, and Omi at the beach in Carpinteria.  Yes, it was incredibly windy.

Heading West during their February school vacation week, our daughter Molly, her hubby Tip, and our grandsons, Owen (kindergarten) and Max (pre-school) are coming to California for some R and R and some O and P (i.e. Omi and Poppa).  Hannah and I are pumped to ride the rails with our grandsons.  If it sounds like we are hobo wanna-bes, you just might be right as we do have wanderlust in our souls.

Staying in a rented house in Carpinteria a mere mile from the train station, Hannah and I have planned a twenty-mile train ride for the four of us to Ventura with its beachfront promenade, sandy beaches, and unexpected in-town adventure.

Vent map of train route

Carpinteria is 85 miles north of Los Angeles

Once the Amtrak Surfliner pulls into the Carp station, we climb the steps to the second deck where the comfortable window seats are.  With others buried in their phones and laptops, we four have the good fortune to get oceanside views.  Paralleling the six-lane 101 highway, we are traveling slower than the mid-morning traffic.  Rolling along between the mountains to our left and the multi-million dollar beachfront homes to our right, we have begun another adventure with our guys.

Vent 1AA train receipt

Vent 1B O and O on the train

Owen and his Omi looking out to the Pacific

Vent 1C M on train

Max checking out tides with the Channel Islands in the distance

Vent 1 H the drama queen

Yours and my favorite drama queen

Vent 1A P and M

Max ready for some crazy eights with his Poppa

Vent 1D boys holding their ears at train

The horns of the train are indeed LOUD!

Once in Ventura, we disembark at the County Fairgrounds, which is just a parking lot away from the Pacific Ocean.  Soon, we are strolling down the wide beachfront sidewalk among the President’s Day crowd enjoying another sunny day in Paradise.

Vent 2 on beach with surfer

With ocean temps near 60F every surfer wears a wetsuit

Vent 2A M on promenade

The Ventura Promenade with the Ventura Pier in the distance

Walking ¾ of mile towards the Ventura Pier, we hit sandy beach gold for two kids who have come from New England’s snow and temps in the 20s .  They race to the water’s edge, then run back before the incoming tide washes up over their feet.

Vent 2B M at beach

Vent 2C M at beach

Max with Owen in the distance

Vent 2D M at beach again

Just before lunch time, we head into downtown Ventura to meet up with our fish taco and pickleball friends, Bruce and Anneli.  They are our fish taco friends for last year they invited us out for lunch al fresco at Snapper Jack’s Taco Shack in downtown Ventura.  Click here for that blog.

Today, they surprise us with gingerbread cookies at the upstairs loft of their architectural firm.  Check ‘em out.

Vent 3 cookies with Anneli

Max, Owen, and Anneli

Vent 3A cookies with Bruce

Max, Bruce, and Owen

Max looks at one with the number 12 and immediately says, Tom Brady!  In addition to a pickleball player, there are two more challenging identifications needed.  The boys say lizard for one, but Bruce nudges them and says, It’s a little more than that.  He gives them “amphibian” as a clue.  Owen nails it “gecko.”

Vent 3B O and M with hot chocolate

Anneli wonders if they know the other gingerbread figure.  Without a moment’s hesitation, Max blurts out, The Eiffel Tower.  As impressed with our grandchildren as we are, they offer the boys hot chocolate.  Oh, they have one more thing for us: 30 minutes of Calilfornia love for us New Englanders.

Vent 3D six of us

Spending two winter months in California, Hannah and I are beginning to create a community of folks, like Anneli and Bruce, that is making Carpinteria a home away from home.  It’s the latest chapter in our journey – where we find good people again and again.

Vent map from york to carp

Sounds like a great road trip, but we flew from Boston to Los Angeles

 

Dan and Hannah Want to Introduce You to 4Ocean

4Ocean image

Hannah and I were blown away by this less than three minute video about the amazing amount of plastics in the ocean and what can be done about it.  Our daughter-in-law Laurel was moved to action to buy the bracelets when she saw the video as did my Arizona State college roommate Rich and his wife Mary.

Click on this link

https://4ocean.com/

Thank you, Mary.

4Ocean image

PS  From Time Magazine (April 1, 2019) – 88 pounds of plastic found in the belly of a dead whale that washed up in the Philippines on March 16!

 

Dan Meets Up with an Old High School Buddy in California

Sh flhs cutters

As a 1966 graduate of Fair Lawn High School (New Jersey), I appreciate that my classmate Roz makes things happen; last year it was a California mini-reunion for five of us grads.  She lives in T.O. (i.e. Thousand Oaks), an hour down the road from our rented house in Carpinteria.  This year she has the idea that she and our fellow classmate Dave from San Diego will get together with me.  They’ll ride the Amtrak Surfliner to Santa Barbara for lunch, then we’ll all walkabout town.  Great plan, but…

Roz comes down with a nasty flu and can’t make it on this mid-February Wednesday.

sh-map-e1553024948195.png

Giving Dave the chance to reschedule (he does have a five hour train ride to Santa Barbara each way), I am pumped when he says, I’m comin’!   I smile it has commitment and am riding high for a day with my Cutter bro 3000 miles from our Garden State high school!

In high school, Dave and I had our Venn diagram overlap on a regular basis as we ran with many of the same friends.  Of late, we text, especially of our mutual love of all things Roger Federer and your Super Bowl Champs New England Patriots.  When we last met at our 45th high school reunion, he was the one who found a place for me at his reunion table when I really had no place to go.

SH 1 surfliner

Amtrak arriving in Carpinteria

So, what does one do on a rainy/showery day in the Santa Barbara area when pickleball and hiking are not an option?  Let me show you in pictures.

Shiffy (as he was none at FLHS) arrives at noon on the Amtrak Surfliner as the morning showers pause.  From the train station to the Carpinteria State Park, we walk with umbrellas in hand a mere 200 yards to the beach.

Sh 1A D and D at beach

Wanting to chill over lunch, we get Italian take-out at Guicho’s on Linden Avenue in downtown Carpinteria.  Over meatball subs and grilled chicken salads back at the house that Hannah and I are renting, we talk of our high school lives; I do wish he had played on the high school tennis team with me, as he is a left-handed serving machine.

Sh 1B Dave outside of Guicho's

SH 1C Dave at Calle Ocho with subs and salad

With showers here and there, I drive Dave to the trailhead of Romero Canyon to show him what debris flows from the past year look like up close and personal.  Stunned myself to see that the road which was impassable on January 21, repaired by January 28, was again closed this February 13 afternoon due to last weekend’s Montecito canyon debris flow.

R2 truck in boulders

January 21, 2019

R2 creek crossing 2

January 28, 2019

Sh 2 DS at washout

February 13, 2019

Backtracking down the mountain, I weave around the fallen rocks in the road from the unstable cliff sides.

Sh 2C fallen rocks at Romero

To conclude his four hour, stay in the Mediterranean of the Pacific, we catch another break in the showers to walk the bluff at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Sh 4 D and D at UCSB

Bluff trail at University of California, Santa Barbara

 

Sh 4B Dave at bluff

 

Sh 4C Dan at bluffs

Recently retired, Dave’s low maintenance, up for anything, laughs easily, and doesn’t take himself too seriously.  We end with bro hugs, appreciative of our rainy day on the Pacific coast.  Already we have plans to meet up with Roz next year when Hannah and I return to Carpinteria, our home away from home.

Dan and Hannah Offer You Mindfulness 101

Mind U of SB

Hannah and I have been Unity folks for a good while.  Though we have no Unity community here in New England, we do regularly attend the Unity of Santa Barbara when we are in California.  As such, we meditate and give mindfulness our best shot.

If you ever wondered why isn’t there a humorous, brief (less than three minutes) animation that explains mindfulness, wonder no more.   (It’s a hoot even if you are not into mindfulness.)

 

Thank you, Larry.

Dan and Hannah One Morning on the Rain Slick 101 in Los Angeles

In the blink of an eye, I thought, that car is going to hit us.  We were each going 60 miles an hour in the pre-dawn very dark on a rain-swept eight lane highway north of Los Angeles.  Let me back up.

LAX hannah squeegeeing

Hannah wrapping up our squeegeeing one rainy morning to get us ready for some good play with Sal and Andres at the Santa Barbara courts

Though we hiked, beach-walked, or pickleballed without fail each day of our two months in Carpinteria, it’s been a rainy winter after years of drought in the Santa Barbara area.  The night before we are to leave for home in Maine, Hannah and I finish packing and slide into bed with an outdoor symphony of heavy rain, thunder, and lightning.  Earlier that night, my high school friend Roz sent me this picture.

LAX lightning over SB

Looking at Santa Barbara from the harbor

Lightning strikes briefly knock out power at LAX (the Los Angeles airport).  Other strikes spark small fires and set palm trees ablaze across the region.

Sleeping inconsistently, I wake time and again to the staccato of rain against the bedroom windows.  Knowing the rain will be our travel companion for the 80 mile pre-dawn drive to LAX, we catch a break as it rains only lightly as we load up our rented Toyota Corolla for the airport at 4A.

LAX map carp to lax

Once on The 101 approaching Ventura, the dark hides the Pacific Ocean to our right and the steep coastal mountains to our left.  Raining cats and dogs, mice and chickens, the few drivers that are with us slow down to adjust to the slick road.  Soon more commuters join us as we pass through Oxnard, Camarillo, up the Conejo Grade into Thousand Oaks.

For thirty minutes, the wipers whip the rain away; later I ask Hannah to turn on the defroster to defog the windshield on the now eight lane 101.

In the distance, I see brake lights go on, then off.  Instinctively, I take my foot off the gas.  In the second of four lanes, I then touch the brake lightly as up to my left, I see the flashing blue emergency lights of a California Highway Patrol car.  Suddenly, and I mean suddenly, we are right on top of the accident, two lanes to my left.

And then, out of nowhere, a car at 60 mph veers at me to avoid the trooper and the disabled car.  I have no time to think.  I just see the flash of white to my left, steer right, having enough time to think, he’s going to hit us.  He’s going to hit us.

And then he doesn’t.  As I swerve out of his way, fortunately there is no car to my right.  We dodge being a 15-second highlight on the morning news on KCAL-TV.

With adrenalin coursing through me from head to toe, I resist going down the rabbit hole of what might have happened.  It’s past.  I have the rain slick 101 still to deal with and an 8A flight from Los Angeles to Boston.LAX lax image

Settling down, within thirty minutes, we drop off our Corolla at Enterprise and take the shuttle to LAX itself.

I do know we dodged a bullet, and I’m so damn grateful.

Dan with Hannah Tour Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California

RR map

Carpinteria is 20 miles north of Ventura

It feels a little odd for two Obama Democrats to go into the belly of the beast (Reagan Presidential Library), but it’s the first of four days of predicted rain in southern California.  And, let’s be honest, we’ve nothing better to do.

RR 1 H at entrance

Driving south from Carpinteria on the California coast, we take The 101, then route 23 through Thousand Oaks to the hilltop museum honoring our 40th president.  The winding road to the museum and Air Force One is lined with celebratory presidential banners beginning with George Washington and on through Lincoln and Obama, and concluding with the current president.

RR 1A RR statue

With admission $26 for seniors, the Reagan Presidential Library buzzes with we spry elderly and school kids.  Meandering through the exhibits, we travel through time to Reagan’s childhood, his movie career, his entry into politics, and his presidential years (1981-1989).  The tour begins with a four-minute film on Reagan’s upbringing and then an ingenious hologram of him giving a speech revealing his humble, humorous nature.  

RR 3 D at podium

Jimmy Carter was just so happy for me that day in 1981

Throughout the tour, there are docents aplenty to answer our questions and provide additional information.  His second wife Nancy is prominently displayed throughout as it truly seems that she and her guy were quite a team.

Hannah asks about his first wife, Jane Wyman.  One of the volunteer docents (350 in all, working four hour shifts) tells us there is only one picture of her since she divorced him.  We were told that Jane Wyman was not happy with his stardom eclipsing hers or his move into politics.  Really?  What would Jane say?  Who knows?

RR 2C electoral map v carter 1980

This is what a landslide looks like

That said, the self-guided museum tour is a nostalgic journey from the late 1950s through Reagan’s tenure as president in the 1980s.  It is certainly spun with a flattering Republican weave of the times.  If you were white, upper middle class, and rich, these were pretty good times.

A film clip of his speech at the Berlin Wall in 1987 where he said, Mr. Gorbachev tear down this wall is stirring and heartfelt.  I leave with the impression that he was one helluva nice guy whose calling card was the personal touch.  The museum curators succeeded.

RR 4 Air Force One

Once through the museum (there might have been a presidential library, but I never saw it), we walk down a corridor to a football field size, three story floor-to-ceiling windowed area to the actual Air Force One that was actually used by seven presidents.

Hannah says, I wouldn’t have missed this experience.  Spending a fascinating three hours in the company of a legendary figure, I recommend this hilltop testament to Ronald Reagan.

 

Additional images from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

RR 3E RR with Tip O'Neil

Republican President Ronald Reagan with Tip O’Neil, the Democrat House Majority Leader,  to his right, contrasts with today’s polarizing partisanship.

 

 

RR 2 Jack Reagan

No sugar coating about his dad

 

RR 3B generosity to carter

A magnanimous gesture from one president to his predecessor

 

RR 3C share birthday with H

Who knew he shared a birthday with Hannah!  Well, she did.

 

RR 4A H at Air Force One

Entering Air Force One

 

RR 4C inside AFO

Within the presidential plane

 

RR 6 Berlin Wall

Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

Dan and Hannah Return to San Ysidro Canyon after a Weekend of Debris Flows

SY2 map of carp

In winter, California is not Florida with its 70s and 80s.  Our days in the Golden State are often sunny, with low humidity, and 60s, which, it turns out, is ideal for pickleballing and hiking.  Since winter is the rainy season here on the Central Coast, there is, of late, the ever-present danger of life-threatening debris flows when rain falls.

SY2 map 2

Ever since the Thomas Fire of December 2017 denuded the local mountainsides, mandatory evacuations occur when the forecast is for rains of at least an inch an hour.  Why, one morning at 430A, our iPhones blasted us awake with warnings of the possibility of dangerous debris flows due to heavy rain.  Where we are in Carpinteria, three hundred yards from the Pacific, there is no danger;  even so, everyone is on high alert after the January 2018 deaths of twenty-three from mud and debris flows in nearby Montecito.

SY mudslide dump into Carp ocean

After heavy rains and mud flows, Santa Barbara County dumps the mud and stones from the inland catch basins at the beach in Carpinteria.  This mud, over time, replenishes the beaches.

On the first Saturday of February, The 101, the major coast highway from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara and north, was closed in Montecito for most of the day due to mudflows across the highway.

SY2 At SBC

Dan, Hannah, Nancy Rose, Duncan, Patty, and Kent at the Summerland Beach Cafe

With our Arizona State Sun Devil friends and fellow hikers, Patty and Kent, in town from Oregon, we decide to hike Montecito’s San Ysidro Canyon to see what the heavy rains did to the trail since Hannah and I hiked it four weeks ago.  Click here for that blog.

SY2 1AAA reconstituted creek

The scoured San Ysidro Creek that was V-shaped and tree-lined before the January 2018 mudslides

First, to celebrate Hannah’s mid-week b-day, we breakfast at the Summerland Beach Café.  (You get a free breakfast at the SBC if it is your birthday!  Hannah loves when free and breakfast are in the same sentence!)

SY2 debris flow with H, P, and K

On the trail with Patty and Kent with the stony and cobbly evidence of the force of last weekend’s rain

Driving just minutes away in Montecito, we have  two miles of trail to stunning waterfalls.  Very soon, we see evidence of mountainside cobbles spread across the trail from this past weekend’s rain.

After a mile of fire road hiking, we veer off along the one-person-at-a-time creek trail.  With Hannah and Patty in the lead, Kent and I watch these two buds loving life and regaling in their forty-year friendship.

SY2 1C P and H at pink ribbon

Hannah and Patty at the pink caution tape

Stepping carefully by where Hannah fell two years ago, we come to a pink police caution tape across the trail.  Wondering why, for the trail that is still quite passable, we soon arrive at a roaring side creek within 200 yards of the falls; the speed and volume of the side creek flow make it clear that we are not fording this torrent today.

Looking beyond, we finally put two and two together about the pink caution tape – the trail ahead has fallen away.  There is, in fact, no safe passage to the falls.  In the distance, we do make out the pounding waterfalls through the trees.  But it will be another year before we can return to the base of the falls for picture taking to satisfy the yearning, nay the demand of my 82 Instagram followers.

SY2 2 at side creek

The white water side creek in our way to the falls

 

SY2 2A trail out with creek in front

The damaged trail beyond the side creek

 

SY2 2C falls zoom

Zooming in on the distant San Ysidro Falls

 

Dan’s Academy Awards for Film in 2019

Hannah and I have come to the Central California Coast to take a big bite out of winter.  It turns out our mere presence has been the tipping point to put a serious dent in the eight-year drought in the area.  Despite the rain, we still walk the beach in Carpinteria daily, hike in the Montecito mountains, and pickle in Santa Barbara and Ventura three to four times per week.

Yet, when it does rain, it’s show time for Dan and Hannah.  I have four cinematic gems for you (in the order that we saw them) that insiders know will crush at tonight’s Academy Awards.

Movies Green Book

The first hearty recommendation is Green Book with Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali.  It’s the story of a white man driving a black musician throughout the South in  racially charged 1962.  With the developing relationship between the two highlighted by their spirited back and forth repartee, Green Book is a film Hannah and I will take our three grandsons, Owen, Max, and Brooks, to see when they enter middle school.

By the way, the actual Green Book was a guide for African-Americans to find restaurants and motels from 1936 to 1966 where they would be allowed to eat and stay in the South.  Many Black Americans took to driving, in part to avoid segregation on public transportation.

Movies On the Basis of Sex

The second film focuses on the life of a modern day hero, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court Justice.  Having previously seen the fabulous documentary on her full life, RBG, Hannah and I found On the Basis of Sex a riveting tale of her earlier life in law and how she made a difference in all our lives, especially women.  Felicity Jones rocks the lead role.

Movies Crazy Rich Asians

Hannah and I were a little late in coming to this third blockbuster, Crazy Rich Asians.  No longer in theaters, we borrowed the DVD from the Carpinteria Library.  The basis of the story is the male lead (Henry Golding) who grew up filthy rich, then decided that maybe there is something more to life than money.  Constance Wu takes center stage as Rachel Chu in this inspirational story of family and couple dynamics.  The casting is superb.

Movies Bohemian Rhapsody

And finally on a rainy Thursday, we ventured to the Regency Buenaventura Six eighteen miles south in Ventura for Bohemian Rhapsody, the story of the rock band Queen.  I never followed Queen in the 1980s (my loss!) and never knew the backstory of  the lead singer Freddie Mercury played convincingly by Rami Malek.  As a film-goer, I took the ride with his life of triumphs and valleys.  Concluding with the Live Aid Concert to address poverty in the African continent in 1985, Bohemian Rhapsody is a soaring musical tribute to Queen that rocks for even me, the uninitiated.