Sunday, March 29 in Pacific Palisades During Coronavirus

“Sunday in the Park with George” was a famous musical by Stephen Sondheim with book by James Lapine. It was inspired by the French painter Geroge Seurat and his painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”

The musical won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, two Tony Awards for design (and a nomination for Best Musical, numerous Drama Desk Awards and the 1991 Olivier Award for Best Musical.

Circling the News’ Sunday in the Palisades during the Coronavirus does not have music nor plot, but for some reason when I wrote it, I thought of the Sondheim production title. Maybe some of you saw it in New York with Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin?

7 a.m.

While taking a quick walk with the dogs down Temescal Canyon, I hear the sound of goats. “That can’t be goats,” I think, until I look up the hill and spot a large herd…of goats. They had been brought in to do brush clearance around Tahitian Terrace Mobile Home Park.

I wonder if the goats are worried about keeping their social distance? Fortunately, they don’t eat bats, so they probably have nothing to fear about the virus.

7:30 a.m.

Send an Op-Ed piece to the L.A. Times explaining why the reaction here against housing homeless in the Palisades Recreation Center has nothing to do with NIMBYism.

8:30 a.m.

Live Facebook yoga with Alison Burmeister of Balanced Beauty. Allison teaches yoga classes at the Palisades-Malibu YMCA and donation-based classes at the Woman’s Club. She also teaches a class at the American Legion.

Today she is teaching a live half-hour yoga class via Facebook (Alison Cragg Burmeister). If you’ve never tried doing yoga and wonder exactly what it involves (lots of toe touching, pushups, bending and twisting), go to her site. Right now, her classes are free and she’s just giving back to the community.

10 a.m.

Gardening, pulling weeds and planting eggplants. Ace Hardware is open on Bundy and plants and mulch are available. While I cut off the dead flower stalks of my bird-of-paradise plant, my neighbor walks past after shopping at Gelson’s and we chat.

She says that her sister had worked in virus labs and said that viruses hate sunlight. If that’s the case, I’ll be out gardening again this afternoon.

Gelson’s had announced on Friday that a worker had been diagnosed with coronavirus and that the store had closed down Friday night for sanitizing. The store reopened on Saturday. CTN asked a Gelson’s corporate spokesperson if they had a more detailed statement but has still not received a response.

As a customer there, I asked a cashier (they are now behind glass, wearing gloves and masks) if it was a cashier who had contracted the virus. No, it was a person who worked back in the meat department and that particular group never interacts with the rest of the store. That entire meat crew was given 14 days off with pay and a new one brought in.

I asked the cashier if she was afraid. She said she was afraid of contacting the virus, but she realized it probably wouldn’t be from that worker, since his crew never came into contact with the rest of the store’s employees.

Right now, Gelson’s is a great place to shop, the store has been completely sanitized, there are wipes everywhere and there are no lines, which means keeping a social distancing is easy. And the bakery has the chocolate-covered coconut macaroons that are seasonal (Passover)—and oh so yummy!

Only seniors are allowed in Gelson’s from 7 to 8 a.m., while only seniors are allowed in Ralphs from 7 to 7:30 a.m.

I saw Reza Akef in Ralphs on Friday. He’s a general contractor and the Area 8 representative on the Community Council. He said that the L.A. Building Department is still accepting plans, but once plans are dropped off, they are quarantined for 48 hours.

On his way back to the Palisades, Reza drove through two downtown neighborhoods, where people were congregating in the streets, kids were playing, and nobody seemed to respect the dangerous coronavirus — or at least were not observing social distancing.

He tried to call the Mayor’s office to let him know that someone should alert the throngs of people gathered in these two downtown areas, but surprisingly no one was answering the phone. Akef also tried to go through Councilman Mike Bonin, because even though it’s not Bonin’s district, perhaps he could contact Garcetti. But surprise, no one is answering the phone there, either.


Even though the beaches plus local, county and state parks and hiking trails are closed to the public, hikers are spotted going from the Highlands up into Topanga State Park on the Santa Ynez Canyon Trail, ignoring the orders.

Hikers’ cars were lined up in the Highlands by Topanga State Park hiking trail.

3 p.m.

I notice a sign in the store for Petit Ami (at 15301 Antioch) that they will move from their current location in the Business Block building. Their new location will be across Sunset on Swarthmore, close to Paliskates, where they will replace a woman’s clothing store. They have always had great clothes for kids – dress up and casual.

Makes you wonder what TOPA plans to do on the Antioch side of the town’s most historic building—two spaces are now vacant.

3:49 p.m.

Receive a response from the L.A. Times they don’t want my Op-Ed piece, which emphasizes how people in Pacific Palisades have helped the homeless transition from the streets in a humane way. After years of submitting freelance article ideas, a same-day rejection sets a record.

5 p.m.

Start working on my Circling the News blog, assembling the stories and photos. Put the NIMBY piece, now rejected by the L.A. Times, up for my readers.

5:50 p.m.

Arnold Hofer found four- and five-leafed clover  in his backyard in the Alphabet Streets.

Learn that Arnold Hofer, a long-time resident of Pacific Palisades, passed away in his sleep. His wife, Sigrid, died in December and he was continuing to live at home on Fiske Street, joined every day by one of his sons, either Tom or Manfred.

Arnold and Sigrid moved here in 1960 and were married for 62 years. He was a retired tool-and-die maker and had worked at the Del Mar Engineering Laboratories.

In 2010, the Pacific Palisades Community Council recognized the couple with its Community Service Award. Arnold was a volunteer at Theater Palisades and an artist in his own right—with several of his paintings hanging on the walls of his home.

Circling the News adviser Bill Bruns wrote in a Facebook post to Tom Hofer: “Just a few weeks ago, Sue Pascoe, Jeff Ridgway and I met at the Hofer household to begin planning the Palisades Fourth of July Parade program. We arrived at 4:30 p.m. and your dad was there to greet us at the front door, dressed nattily in a sports coat and tie. We all sat and visited in the living room before moving to the dining room table, with your dad happily joining us for the meeting.”

This editor remembers that Mr. Hofer was lovely and excited: waiting to offer any help or suggestions that would help make the Fourth of July program the best yet. Such a nice man.


Sunset from the bluffs.
Photo: Morgan Genser

Photographer Morgan Genser sends over a spectacular sunset photo. Even in the midst of all the fear that the coronavirus is causing, nature never fails to take center stage with its beauty.

8 p.m.

Needlepoint. Seriously. My latest fear is not finishing this three decades old project, but rather I will finish it before we’re released from “Safer at Home.”




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3 Responses to Sunday, March 29 in Pacific Palisades During Coronavirus

  1. Marie Steckmest says:

    Good issue! I think I’ll start writing in a diary…
    Stay well.

  2. Eileen says:

    You are a marvel, Susan!

  3. Thanks for joining me on Facebook Sue! I can’t wait to see your finished needle point project! My hope is you’ll be showing me in person in class at the YMCA or Woman’s Club!

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