September, 2012:

COINCIDENCES…CONNECTIONS…SYNCHRONICITY

Life is full of Spider Webs…

 

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. This is a famous quote by Chief Seattle, a Duwamish/Suquamish Indian, for whom Seattle, Washington, is named.

I’ve remembered this famous quote for decades, and think of it especially now because of the Internet. What is the Internet but a spider web? The web analogy applies to us all and helps explain to some extent the mysteries of connections. How does anything happen except through these unexplainable forces? For lack of a better term, is this “God?”

I would venture to say everyone experiences amazing connections of one sort or another: meeting someone who became special in your life because you made a decision to go to a certain party, for instance. I particularly enjoy these synchronicities because they have happened to me so often–as I discussed in my last blog post.

Just yesterday, my daughter and I each had sizeable loads of laundry to do and a nearby laundromat was more efficient than the small machines in our apartment buildings. Even though it’s a chore, it’s a pleasure to meet and perhaps chat with a variety of people who’ve chosen to live in Southern California.

Sometimes, these folks can be eccentric. I can still picture the skinny frenetic musician who resembled rocker Mick Jagger. He was doing laundry for his children and he had a bizarre system. Rather than fill one of the giant machines with one large load of clothes, he had filled up about 14 small machines and then enthusiastically raced around putting in his quarters. When they were ready for the dryers, also huge, he also split up the loads. No wonder he stayed bone thin.

While Heidi and I removed the laundry from the dryers, I started talking to a woman around my age, who was finishing up 9 loads of laundry! My journalism experience in interviewing has made it so easy for me to talk with people, and they feel  comfortable sharing their lives with me. Consequently, I have discovered many coincidental things in my conversations.

Perhaps because I grew up an Army brat in many parts of the world, I attract unique people. I discovered initially that my new acquaintance’s 40 year-old son was a writer like myself and had self-published a novel on Amazon, like I have. This charming woman was born in Punjab, India, but has lived most of her life in the US. I have Indian connections: an old friend who was born and raised in Mumbai, and now an editing client who comes from the southern part of India. As we talked further, she told me she had lived in Northern Virginia, specifically Alexandria, and her son had attended Hammond school. I was delighted with the synchronicity: I had lived in Alexandria for several years and graduated from Hammond, then a high school and now a middle school.

But there was more, and I got a kick out of all the coincidences. The mother of a daughter and son, as I am, she is also divorced and makes her living with business writing. Her married daughter is now living in my old neighborhood in Agoura Hills, where Heidi had grown up. My former home of 15 years is only a couple of blocks from her daughter’s present residence.  Oh yes, and we both liked Indian Bollywood movies!

 

DESTINY INTERVENED by Victoria Giraud

Is it Destiny or Kismet that draws us to certain people, even if we don’t spend many years with them? It seems a good way to describe it, even as we discover that “happily ever after” is a fairy tale. I met my husband in Germany, but our sixteen years together  nearly didn’t work out when we didn’t connect for a planned date. I described how we met  in a recent blog post.

I’ve always been resourceful, fairly patient and optimistic. In Germany, all those years ago, I didn’t accept that my love interest, the American lieutenant under my dad’s recent command, had really stood me up for our date in Frankfurt. Hans didn’t seem the type to be crass and impolite, but one never knows for sure. Ask any woman!

I had to forget the potential love interest and find a job, my dad’s orders. One of dad’s drivers drove me to Heidelberg to USAEUR personnel offices and I  met Lois, a Californian who was visiting Europe. We were both looking for jobs and we hit it off right away, comparing notes on our lives and aspirations. She was a pro compared to me: she was 24 and I was only 21. She owned a sporty green MG, which she’d bought while exploring Europe that summer with a girlfriend. The girlfriend went back to the States, but Lois decided to get a job and stay in Germany, despite her serious boyfriend back home in Tracy. By the time my dad’s driver, a handsome lieutenant, came to pick me up for the trip back to Frankfurt, I’d planned some fun with Lois. She had been staying at a hostel and would probably go back there for the night. I had a better idea. Why didn’t we stop at the Mannheim Officers Club since my driver and I had to go that way home? I told Lois about the happy group of beer-guzzling young officers I knew, and she was game.

Wedding Day in Germany with Lois in the back on the left

My driver was easy to persuade; I was 21 and not on a rigid schedule. I would ride with Lois, I told the driver, and we would meet him at the officers club for a drink. We all arrived at the club before 5 p.m. and were sipping German beer served in a flip-top bottle (during Happy Hour, it only cost ten cents a bottle!) when I looked out the picture window of the bar into the parking lot. A blue Karman-Ghia had just parked and a familiar blond lieutenant got out of his low-slung car. As he sauntered toward the club, I noticed the mannerly middle-aged German waiter start pouring a Canadian Club and soda at the bar for his favorite customer (they spoke German with each other). It was Hans’ regular drink. I wondered what Hans’ reaction would be when he walked in. He saw me right away and smiled as I pondered what he would have to say about himself and his behavior.

He came over to our table right away and I made the introductions before he sat down. “You are a hard person to find,” he said right away and explained his duty roster had changed at the last minute on the previous Saturday, the day before our date. He had required duty that Sunday and told me he’d spent most of Saturday afternoon and night trying to find my dad’s telephone number at home. American Army operators couldn’t find it anywhere and he’d spent time calling anyone and everyone who might help. My family hadn’t been in Frankfurt for much more than a week and there was no formal telephone listing. He later showed me the slip of paper covered with names and telephone numbers as proof! In this day of smart phones and the Internet, it’s hard to imagine not connecting!

Not wanting to cut short our reunion and rekindled romance, Hans lined Lois up with one of his friends and the four of us decided to have dinner and explore the Heidelberg nightlife. I still remember the Pferdstalle, a club concocted from an old horse stable. I thanked the driver, who had to get back to Frankfurt, and told him to tell my dad I’d get a ride with my new friend, Lois, who I’d invited to spend the night after she drove me back to Frankfurt.

If the world creates lemons, don’t give up until you’ve made lemonade! That’s my conclusion now, but it wasn’t folk wisdom in those days.

WHERE’S THERE’S SMOKE, THERE ARE FIREMEN by Victoria Giraud

It’s been an interesting few days in the San Fernando Valley. On Friday, Sept. 21, with a little imagination and a tall building or even a back yard or freeway, many of us had the opportunity to view the space shuttle Endeavour having its last ride on top of a 747 before it becomes an exhibit at the California Science Center near USC. I watched the event on TV and heard the noise as it flew by on its aerial tour of Southern California before it landed at LAX.

This morning I was relaxed at my desk reading the LA Times with my front door cracked open to catch the early morning air before it heated up for the day. My neighbor, Mary, called to me through the screen door. Did I have the phone number of our neighbor who was watching after the building while our managers were on vacation?

I hadn’t heard the commotion from the courtyard until then. Mary, who is a take-charge kind of person (perhaps because she works for a powerful law firm) said there was smoke coming from the manager’s apartment and their  next-door neighbors had smelled it and called the fire department. When the neighbor in temporary charge of the building didn’t answer her phone, I assumed she wasn’t home and I called Deb, the corporate liaison to worry her about a possible calamity and walked to my door to see what was happening.

Downstairs, there were five firemen in full “be prepared” regalia carrying  a ladder and they were climbing the stairs to the upstairs wrap-around balcony to check out the situation.  Nobody had a key to the manager’s door and they needed to get in right away since no one knew the origin of the smoke. “Storm the fortress” was my unspoken action-movie idea but they wanted a more civilized approach first. When a bedroom window wouldn’t give way easily (these guys with their gear were too big to climb in) and a key wasn’t an option, a fireman who had the skill to open the front door locks without breaking the door down was employed. So much for my Hollywood ideas!

By this time all the neighbors who were curious about the excitement had come out onto the courtyard and the firemen had opened and entered the apartment. They quickly discovered a bathroom ceiling fan had burned out and caused the small fire and smoke. It was nothing very serious, but if the manager’s neighbors hadn’t smelled it, who knows how serious it might have become.

One neighbor ventured out in shorty pajamas when a reverse fan pulling smoke from the damaged bathroom fan exploded in noise. I mouthed “Fire” to her and hoped she understood. She could tell by her neighbors’ expressions that no one looked worried and the two little boys and their father from upstairs were delighted with the drama. The young man who had originally smelled the smoke had brought his iPad outside to make a video of our little morning drama.

It was a good test for the smoke alarms, which had been recently replaced and tested. Isn’t it fun to have some excitement without serious consequences?

A German Romance in Mannheim by Victoria Giraud

As an old German song goes, I did “leave my heart in Heidelberg,”  as well as Mannheim, and I’d have to add Murnau in Bavaria. I lived in all three cities off and on from 1947. Of course I also share my heart with Tripoli, Libya. I will stop here before the list grows too long, typical for a U.S. military brat.

Germany came up again because of Dr. Christian Fuhrer, a professor in Mannheim who’s publishing a book on the history/memories of the American military in the Mannheim area, especially now that most of the Americans have left. Dr. Fuhrer is nostalgic but wrote today to say he was delighted when an American found my blog about Mannheim and then visited Christian recently in Mannheim. The American fellow had gone to Mannheim American High School, just like my ex-husband had. Life is incredibly full of connections and synchronicity.

I met my future husband in Germany at an official going-away party at the Mannheim Officers Club for my dad, Col. A.D. Willams, and there was a band for dancing. Hans asked me, his former commander’s daughter, to dance and there was no one else on the dance floor. I had been introduced, just moments before, by a lieutenant I had met previously.

 

The Secretary for the Manager of the Heidelberg Officers Club – Me in the 1960s!

The tall handsome blond with German heritage was light on his feet, polite, interesting and self-confident. That dance led to a serious flirtation that kindled almost immediately. It had happened just in time because my family was moving north to Frankfurt, about an hour’s drive, and I was moving with them. A recent college graduate, I had only been in Germany a few days. I could enjoy a vacation for a short while, but I knew I would need a job soon.

Within a couple of weeks I was in Frankfurt wondering what I’d do for work and where I’d find it. In the meantime, I was looking forward to a planned rendezvous with Hans, who was driving up to our new home and taking me out to explore Frankfurt, which had been his birthplace and where he’d lived until his mother married an American soldier after WWII. My mother, an accomplished seamstress who enjoyed and approved of Hans, had made me a stylish wrap-around silk dress for the occasion. I was looking forward to the historic sights and visiting a well-known restaurant Hans had mentioned, which was noted for its music and food.

The Sunday date arrived without a word from Hans, but I assumed he’d make it. We had already gone out a few times, and he’d never given the impression he wouldn’t keep his promises. Alas, he never called and he never showed up. No cell phones in those days and besides, it wasn’t proper to call the guy and ask him where the hell he was, especially when I didn’t have his number. My parents were very supportive as I moped around and kept looking at my lovely and unworn dress.

Although I was very disappointed, I tried to forget being stood up and concentrated on what I could do to make money, especially since my dad kept reminding me I had an education and now I had to find a job. Not long after, Dad informed me he had a driver going down to Heidelberg for the day and that’s where a central personnel office was located for those looking for a job working for the American Army in Mannheim/Heidelberg.

The trip to Heidelberg was a successful one—I met and became friendly with a young American woman looking for a job, and lined up an interview with the manager of the Heidelberg Officers Club, who was looking for a secretary. I was feeling positive about the job, but most important to me at the time, I also finagled a way to connect with the errant Hans.

What happens when I see Hans again? Look for my the next blog.

CHRISTO & HIS UMBRELLAS IN SO CAL By Victoria Giraud

Huge Sunny-colored Umbrellas Dot Southern California Mountain Landscape

Giant yellow umbrellas whimsically dotted the hillsides, the dips in the rolling landscape, appeared near trees, a billboard and a gas station and decorated a few ponds on various sections of the 270,000 acres of the private Tejon Ranch in the Tehachapi Mountains of Southern California. It was October 1991 and my girlfriend Sally and I were inspired to take the hour-long drive up the Grapevine on Interstate 5 to see this much-touted artistic statement by Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude (who died in 2009) were known for designing and installing temporary but overwhelming environmental works of art. Before the umbrellas they did several projects—wrapping the Reichstag in Berlin and the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris with material, for instance. In February 2005 they erected gates hung with yellow nylon material in Central Park. Christo is still at work creating ideas for installation. His “Over the River” installation for Colorado in 2013 has been postponed, but an indoor installation for Germany is in the works for next year, according to his web site.

The imposing yellow umbrellas we saw were part of a project Christo and his wife installed in both Japan and California. The umbrellas were formidable: about 20 feet high with a diameter of about 26 feet. They each weighed 448 pounds, without the base, which in most cases was steel and anchored to the ground. Not a small project by any means: 1,760 were installed!

Sally and I had both driven the so-called Grapevine before: it led from the San Fernando Valley through the mountains and down into another valley that led north to Bakersfield. At this time of year, before the California rainy season, which usually doesn’t get underway until November, the hills were brown, or golden, depending upon your outlook. The yellow umbrellas added a unique touch to the fairly barren area.

Although it was reported that almost 3 million visitors since October 9 had driven through the area, we easily negotiated the Interstate and were able to get off at the various viewing sites when we chose. I loved the bravado, the sheer uniqueness of the idea to take so much trouble to dot the landscape with huge unwieldy umbrellas. The day was overcast and the yellow stood out even more: almost like seeing an enormous garden full of massive yellow poppies.

The visitors we saw were enthusiastic and smiling at the incongruity of it all. There were a couple of places to stop and buy sweatshirts—“I saw the Umbrellas,” and similar sayings—and other memorabilia.

After meandering the 18-mile long area, taking photos and finding some refreshment, we headed home, satisfied we’d seen and participated in an event worth remembering.

That day, October 27, turned out to be the last day of the art project. We heard on the news that a young woman visitor had been killed by an umbrella just after Sally and I left. In a fluke of circumstance, an immensely strong wind had caused one of the umbrellas to come loose, and it had flown through the air and impaled her against a boulder. At 448 pounds, it was easy to understand she had no chance. Apparently, she and her husband were there just  to view the artwork.

Ironically, I heard in a later news report that the woman was suffering from a probable fatal disease. Perhaps, instead of suffering, she decided to leave the planet in a particularly dramatic way.

REMEMBERING 9/11 –A LOS ANGELES PERSPECTIVE

September 11, 2001, as other world-shaking events, seems like only yesterday. Perhaps because the media makes sure we don’t forget our 21st century Pearl Harbor. Being suddenly attacked, as an individual or as a country, is a difficult trauma to face and overcome in life, and some never do adjust. “Where were you on 9/11?” is a more current version of, “Where were you when JFK was shot?” We all share the tragedy, whether it’s one person or nearly 3,000.

My daughter, Heidi, and I were sharing an apartment in Sherman Oaks, California, that September Tuesday morning, which began in a typical fashion. Heidi was out for an invigorating walk before going to work for a downtown Los Angeles attorney service. At 7:30 a.m., I had spread my exercise mat in front of the TV and turned it on to watch Good Morning America before I had breakfast and started work editing a book. I was sitting on the floor when I saw the footage on the planes striking both the north and south tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. It was so shocking I couldn’t absorb it; I was impatient to share the news with Heidi before I broke down completely. Human instinct propels us to turn to others.

World Trade Center before the disaster

A couple of days later, I wrote in my diary, “It was unfathomable to most of us—resembling an especially bad special effect from an action movie, but played hundreds of times over and over.”

That morning I was mesmerized and horrified as I listened and watched the news, which eventually grew to include the Pentagon disaster and the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. Heidi returned from her walk totally ignorant; it was still early and many neighbors were getting ready for work and school.  As I filled her in, we watched the continuous replays and news. A good friend of hers soon called and advised her to stay home from work. At that time one of the hijacked planes was supposedly headed for LA—the one that crash landed in the field in Shanksville, thanks to passengers who fought back.

Because of all the uncertainties, downtown Los Angeles was literally shut down. The terrorists had hijacked planes flying to LA because they would have the highest amount of volatile jet fuel to act as a bomb. Airports around the country were soon shut down because of potential danger.

Suzi, a friend of Heidi’s who worked in the travel industry, had driven to work in Culver City and wondered why the 405 freeway was so empty until she heard the news on her car radio.

It was a strange quiet day of little traffic and no sounds of planes: very unusual because we lived fairly close to Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. Many of us felt lost, at loose ends. It was a time of getting in touch with friends and family and watching TV for more news and the scenes of horror over and over again. Shopping centers and businesses closed down all over LA. The scene, the mood, resembled a California earthquake disaster without the physical damage. In this case the damage was emotional.

In our immediate neighborhood of single-family homes, apartment buildings, a strip mall and a supermarket, most of the businesses stayed open. It was comforting for Heidi and I to walk the short distance to the little pizza parlor in the strip mall. People shared stories and observations with each other as we ordered Italian food and watched the small TV, playing nothing but World Trade Center news. It was a day full of tears and tissues.

9/11  WTC Memorial before it opened.

  A year after the disaster, Una, a friend from Northern California, visited Manhattan and walked down to the site. “I was overwhelmed with grief at seeing the gaping hole, this open wound on the heart of America, still raw, so vulnerable.  Walking by the small church next door, posters and photos of missing loved ones were still attached to the fence.  It was a heart-wrenching sight to read each plea for help in finding a loved one.  The wind whipped up, creating a dusty whirlwind of the ashes and dust in the hole.  I wondered whose ashes were being resifted.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1950s Libya – British Point of View By Victoria Giraud

It always amazes me how important the few years I spent in Libya in the 1950s have been in my life. I’ve been writing a blog, Words on My Mind, for over two years and during that time I’ve reconnected with classmates from Wheelus Air Force Base High School in Tripoli and with others, like the British,  who once lived and/or worked in Tripoli. The Internet connects us all through the cyberspace world.

At the beginning of the year, I received a comment on my blog from Ron Curtis, a Brit from Blackpool, England, who’d been in Tripoli in the 1950s. Ron’s father was in the Royal Air Force and Ron attended the British Military School. Ron even sent me some photos and I’m going to use two of them here. Ron and I have since become Internet friends and I’ve enjoyed reading about his retirement, which turned into a new career as a clown–Granddaddy Trumbell–for children’s parties. He thought he was going to enjoy a long vacation in Spain but he’s been so successful, he’s had to stay in Blackpool to keep his creative balloon art going, and make sure his clown makeup is on right. Even his wife has gotten into the act.

Before his new career started, Ron wrote to say, “I lived with my family in Colina Verde, just a short ride outside the town. It was close to the Libyan Army barracks, known as the Azzia barracks-–where Gadhafi later erected the clenched fist holding the broken US plane. I often visited Wheelus with my American friends, Flip Foulds, the Neil family, and more.  Thank you for bringing back some great memories from when I was a hot-blooded 14 year old.”

British kids in 1950s on a Tripoli, Libya Beach

We all remember different things of course. I recall some kind of orange British soft drink; it sounded like squash, perhaps? Ron remembers Pepsi and the prize inside the Pepsi cap: “anything from two piasters to two Libyan pounds.” He loves couscous and still makes it! Since my dad didn’t like lamb, my mother never made it.

My observation of Libyan men drinking tea brought up Ron’s memory of the men pouring the tea from “one tiny enamel pot to another whilst at the same time roasting peanuts.”

Like so many Americans, especially in the military, the British are partygoers. “My recollections are of never-ending parties thrown by both the Brits and the Americans,” Ron wrote. “My parents had an old tin tub in the yard of our villa, which was filled with ice and cans of beer. Most parties had a theme, usually some form of fancy dress. The parties, I recall, went on until everyone fell asleep.”

Ron’s home was in a unique location—right next to a local Libyan brothel. Even though the Curtis villa was surrounded by a high wall, like all the villas in Tripoli as I recall, Ron wrote, “My friends and I would climb atop the wall to watch the antics that went on. The large courtyard was home to a number of old bathing huts, the type used in England during the middle 1800s. There was a little ladder to the door. The idea was: if the door was open, then the lady was available. If the door was closed, she was either busy or absent. We witnessed many of the ladies wandering around the courtyard in their underwear. Most of these ladies were what can only be described as plus-sized women, something the Libyan gentlemen seemed to prefer.”

 

Libyan fisherman in 1950s

 

 

 

MY LIFE IS A WELLSPRING FOR STORIES by Victoria Giraud

I use my own experiences and people I’ve known for inspiration for stories I write. An author must draw from something, after all. My long career in journalism and the adventures of being single have provided lots of material, even though I certainly haven’t used it all! It’s been a treasure trove for writing this blog.

One of my favorite stories, told to me by a good friend who lived through it, is Angels in Uniform. Since my characters are real, I don’t use their actual names, despite the fact that the famous film producer in this story is deceased and the story happened some years ago. I believe in and love angel stories; life is full of mysteries that can’t be proved or explained. The heroine in the story, who is still my friend, had an adventurous life in the movie industry before she had enough, got married and moved to the Northwest.

Angels in Uniform tells Samantha’s story of Divine intervention. Samantha wasn’t satisfied with the Midwest and came to California to work with the rich and famous in Hollywood. She attracted a powerful film producer, but just when her life seemed to be working, she got cancer. She fled Los Angeles, ready to end her life, but her persistent lover and an angel in a cop’s uniform had other ideas.

The E-book is available on Amazon:   http://amazon.com/author/victoriagiraud

She’d been living with Peter in the large mansion that movies had built for nearly a year now, and because of his position in the entertainment industry had met and grown to know many of his high-powered producer and actor friends.  Listening to Walter Matthau tell jokes at a poker party was an indication that she’d arrived in another world. But now this world was going to disappear just when she was beginning to feel that she belonged; she just knew it. Where would she be then? Who would want her?  What would she do? Could she survive?

These nagging questions plagued her as she drove aimlessly, not paying particular attention to anything but her gloomy thoughts. She glanced at the speedometer by chance—she was creeping up on ninety-miles-an-hour. A tear slid down her cheek, as she pushed the accelerator harder. The tiny car vibrated with the speed, but the element of danger only made her more determined. She didn’t care if someone stopped her; she didn’t care what happened next. San Bernardino’s outskirts were past her and the long, empty highway stretched in front of her. The day was sunny and clear, but it was too early for the desert heat. The little car could never have gone this fast with the air-conditioner on. The fresh, early morning air blowing through the vents and the crack in the driver’s side window revived her feelings a bit. Perhaps there were some answers. She let up on the accelerator; there was no need to be so hasty, putting herself in peril until she had thought things through.

She’d come to Los Angeles to fulfill a dream, drawn to the flame of the movie industry like so many others. In St. Louis she’d already proved to herself she had talent in several different areas. She had outgrown its possibilities; the next step in her mind had been to try her luck in Hollywood.

Named Samantha by her mother and shortened to Sam by all her friends and eventually family, she liked the name’s mixture of masculine and feminine. It gave her an edge that helped her make her way in a white world; it gave her a certain measure of strength as a black woman.

 

A SMORGASBORD OF WEATHER IN LOS ANGELES by Victoria Giraud

Mark Twain said, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes.” In Los Angeles, I’d change that to: “Drive five miles.”

In most cities in the U.S. there’s a single weather forecast. It may be hot, cold, rainy, summer, winter, spring or fall. Here in SoCal, we don’t stick to those strictures. Our geology of mountains, valleys and ocean has determined a diversity of microclimates. Take a drive and in an hour’s time, you could experience multiple temps and a variety of weather conditions.

We are the only city in the US with a mountain range that runs right through town.  Mountain ranges formed by the earthquakes that created California’s birth millions of years ago run up and down our state. I learned quickly when I moved here long ago not to expect the same temperature from one Los Angeles area to the other. It pays to keep an extra sweater and an umbrella in the car. And don’t go to the beach at any time of year without a wrap of some sort.

 

Los Angeles looking east during the winter.

We have Mediterranean climate in LA, just what I sampled when I lived in Tripoli, Libya, in the 1950s. We have a dry season during the summer and rain, when and if it comes, during the winter. While the rest of the country is heating up in May and June, we don’t have true heat usually until August and September when the desert winds, called Santa Ana’s, occasionally sweep through town and head toward the beach. In May the fog and overcast is labeled May Gray and when it continues through June, it’s June Gloom. Those grand mansions in Malibu and Laguna Beach can be socked in for weeks without a hint of sunshine.

A sample weather forecast (depending upon the season) might be: Beaches (depending on whether they face west or south) — 74; Downtown L.A., often referred to as the Basin—81; Valleys (depending on which ones and where) – 90; Mountains – 75; and Deserts—110. The air conditioning can be roaring in the San Fernando Valley, but a beach excursion would require a sweatshirt and maybe even a windbreaker. Dry hot September has arrived: today’s temp in Sherman Oaks in the San Fernando Valley is 90; tonight it will go down to 63!

Rain usually averages 15 inches a year but there are years where it really pours. Where it pours depends on the elevation and the wind patterns. Our weather usually comes from the west, the Pacific Ocean. Mt. Wilson, which has an Observatory, is east of downtown L.A. and 5,730 feet above sea level. It can get an average of 37 inches of rain, while the Civic Center in downtown LA, which is only 260 feet elevation, receives the more normal 15 inches.

In a 1998 LA Times article on LA weather, Gary Ryan, a National Weather Service Meteorologist said, “There’s a bigger difference in elevation between the Los Angeles Civic Center and its surrounding mountains than Denver and its surrounding mountains.” With all the elevations we have in our city, we’ve probably got 20 different microclimate conditions in any one day. As the quote goes, “Variety is the spice of life.”

 

 

 

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