So today is the first day of December and it's getting close to what some would consider the most important day in their calendar, that's right, my birthday (Jesus who?). Yes the 17th December is looming so not much time for you all to organise those balloons, gifts, cards and most importantly, cake!
So in an attempt to keep myself fighting fit for my thirty-fourth year and in order to broaden our dog walking repertoire, beyond Runyon Canyon and Santa Monica's Palisades Park, we headed off to Franklin Canyon Park in the wilds of Beverly Hills for a Sunday afternoon stroll.
But before I let you know how that went, someone must be smiling down on me as you know the other day I said I was lacking inspiration of late, well after my celebrity sighting of Shia LaBeouf in Studio City on Saturday afternoon, today at Runyon I spotted another Hollywood actor.
This time it was Robert Forster who plays Arthur Petrelli, the father of Peter, Nathan and Sylar and leader of the 'villains' in the third season of NBC's Heroes. He's starred in loads of TV shows and films, including Jackie Brown and The Black Hole to name a few of his diverse roles. He was walking alone in a black sweatsuit, without a dog, and listening to music. I'm sure it was him as he spoke to someone on the phone and it sounded just like he does on the TV.
Anyway, back to our adventures at Franklin Canyon Park yesterday. Someone had recommended that we take Cooper to the park for a change as they said it was a pretty collection of trails, lakes and woodland.
The 605-acre wildlife refuge and tranquil hiking retreat can either by entered from the bottom via Beverly Drive or from the top entrance via Mulholland Drive.
We parked on Lake Drive and headed up through the woods to the Upper Franklin Reservoir. What makes the Park different is that the trees and shrubs found there are more varied than the rest of L.A.'s vegetation. It seems out of place as there are less palm trees and more woodland flora, although there's still the odd smattering of cacti and dry scrubland to remind you where you are.
We took the trail around the man-made Upper Reservoir and then walked around the small Heavenly Pond, which is a small duck pond (filled with quacking birds that obviously fascinated Cooper and he'd easily have dived in after if we didn't have a strong hold on his leash). As you can see this duck was having lots of fun.
It was nice for a change of pace and scenery, but I wouldn't say it was especially special or overly pretty. Not that Runyon Canyon is any great thing of beauty as it's really just a collection of dusty trails, but it does afford the most amazing views of L.A.
The funniest thing was when we headed down to see the Lower Franklin Reservoir which is larger than the Upper one. I thought there'd be some great photo opportunities there, but was sadly mistaken as it was empty and dry. I'm not sure if this was for repair work or just due to lack of water in the area.
We probably didn't get the full effect of the Park as Cooper was pulling quite a bit on his leash and combined with the newness of it all and the heat was wearing himself out quickly, so we didn't really venture up onto any of the long hiking trails.
As usual though, he still had the energy to pick up and chew a variety of sticks, although he was mesmerized when he saw some kids playing with an American football in the fields.
Anyway it's good to know there are alternative walks available, plus it was handy to scope out potential future picnic areas.
Meanwhile, in other news today it is World AIDS Day when people try and raise awareness of the global AIDS epidemic and get world leaders to take action to commit to find a cure, to help those suffering and to keep their promise to do so.
There are now around 33.2 million people around the world living with HIV, including 2.5 million children, which are scary statistics. About 95% of those with HIV/AIDS live in developing countries, but it's still a global issue. World AIDS Day began in 1988 to help raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education about the virus, plus to remind everyone that HIV hasn't gone away and there is still much to be done.
Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox now, but at least I feel I've done a little bit to help with something very important.
Tomorrow I have a fun filled day planned, well kind of. In the morning I've booked a massage to help my poor body that I've been working out hard for the last six months. Then it's off to the pet store for some supplies and hopefully around lunchtime some repairmen are coming to look at our flat roof to see where the leak into our wardrobe is coming from when it rains.
So a jam-packed day ahead. Until then...