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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Passionflower

You might recognize this, but when I saw it I stopped in my tracks like Boz does when there's something he must smell.

When I got home I searched for it on the web. It's Passiflora incarnata, otherwise known as Purple passionflower. It's easy to see why it got its name; it's beautiful enough to fall in love with.

This plant was growing around the base of a palm tree on a residential street. I want some in my yard. A site called Dave's Garden says Purple passionflower is "wild, invasive and virtually indestructible." That would be fine, the yard needs some work.

Wikipedia says the plant is used to treat anxiety and sleeplessness. I'm off to buy some today. Yesterday I invited a few friends to join me for tea at a place we hadn't tried, and...well read about it at Miss Havisham's place if you can bear it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Windows of the Soul

Yesterday John and I went to a Beverly Hills opthalmologist and had our pupils dilated. Woohoo! Livin' the life.

I began going to doctor Koh about 18 years ago when I was working in West Hollywood. I love the guy and he's the one provider I haven't switched to this end of the world. I have to say, though, as glamorous as Beverly Hills may be, on a Thursday afternoon the downtown part is a traffic jam, a cloud of construction dust, a noise.

But this is a Pasadena blog. No pictures of Beverly Hills. As soon as we got outta there we hurried back home to take eyeball pictures.

The French say, "Les yeux sont le miroir de l'รขme"—"The eyes are the mirror of the soul." I don't know if Pasadena is our soul, but we were glad to be back home, where in our eyes you can get a view of our garage through our dining room window.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Superfluous Detail: Professional Lamp

The Professional Building at 65 N. Madison Avenue is one of Pasadena's quieter architectural gems. You've been by it; it sits on the southwest corner of Madison and Union. The internet is strangely silent about it, so I welcome tips from readers on who the architect was or when it was built. My guess is 1920s or 1930s. It's got a bit of Deco flair to it.

If you aren't lucky enough to have a doctor, lawyer or accountant in the building, there's a pharmacy and a coffee shop on the first floor. A reasonable excuse to drop by and pretend you're Hildy Johnson for a few minutes. If that's reasonable.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nature's Bounty

This was part of our haul on a short hike up the Sam Merrill Trail Monday. Most other days there isn't much trash. But after the weekend, when the non-regulars, dilettantes and drinkers have been there, you don't have to go far to find this much—about a mile and a third, what locals call "to the towers".

The photo doesn't include three more plastic bottles and an oreo cookie we found on the way out of the park, perched next to the "$1000 Fine For Littering" sign.

You, my dear readers, do not litter. Of course not. So ranting here will be lost on you. I'll be grateful, though, if you'll allow me to get it off my chest.

Why do you suppose people litter? What makes them think it's okay to drop a plastic bottle just anywhere, when it's going to take a thousand years or more for the thing to biodegrade? Why can't they take it with them and recycle it, or at least put it in a trash bin? Surely a person strong enough to hike up a steeply graded hill still has the strength to carry an empty bottle to the trash. I'm especially amazed by runners who charge up and down the hill and toss bottles into the bushes when they're finished because carrying it might interfere with—what? Rhythm? Speed? Pace? Which is more important, the planet or one runner's perfect mile?

If you'd seen us coming down the trail Monday morning, our pockets full of plastic bottles and paper cups, you'd have thought we'd been up there on the mountain hydrating all night. We have to leave behind the stuff that's too precarious—either too far down the escarpment or stuck high up in branches. The park rangers, or nature, will have to deal with it.

There you go, your tax dollars at work cleaning up after some lazy #%$& who can't be bothered to carry a teeny weeny plastic bottle. Well, you know how burdensome an empty bottle can get. I carried two or three of 'em the other day myself. Whew.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Housenography

As long as John and I have lived in the Pasadena area we've been aware of the huge house on North Lake Avenue. We used to drive by it every day when we lived in Altadena. We couldn't guess much from the street; the house was behind a brick fence and mostly what we could see was the high peak of the roof. The lot was huge and the house sprawled over much of it, and even though at that time the house was an unattractive pink, we coveted it.

Now the "gracious English estate" is painted white, looking more distinguished and on the market for just under two million dollars. We went to the open house last Sunday. Gracious it is, an aging beauty with good bones. The 9-bedroom house was built in the 1920s by architect Kenneth Gordon, who built other distinguished properties in this area.

Above is a rear view of the house. I decided to use it because many locals know the front view but we never get to see the house from behind. Yesterday's "secret window" photo was taken in a room we discovered by opening a door we found inside a closet, that led into a room beyond the closet. It could be a secret hiding place, known only to the house's owner. On the floor plan it's called "storage."

For a little extra fun, below are the patio and a view of the pool from an upstairs room. (Click to enlarge the photos.)

We wandered. The house is almost 4500 square feet. There's a pool house, guest house, an old-fashioned tennis court and a converted garage. The traces of the times still show in places: the tennis court has changed very little since the 1920s, for example. A peace sign is painted on the inner wall of a shed.

I won't lie. The house needs some cosmetic work. But I still covet it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Zen Monday: Secret Window

You tell me about the window today. Tomorrow I'll show you where I found it.

On Zen Monday you experience the photo then tell me what it's about, rather than me telling you what to experience from viewing it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A-Car

I know they named themselves "A-Car" so they could be at the top of the listings. I laugh when people do stuff like that.

Not long after I moved to Pasadena my car needed a major repair. I didn't know a mechanic here, so I went through the AAA listings. The nearest place with an appointment available happened to be A-Car on Walnut at Mar Vista, and the Service Manager happened to be Vic.

I drive about 10,000 city miles a year. That's L.A. miles, baby, that's wear and tear. The poor car (we call her the Snot Comet—don't ask) has had some major work done, just like any other L.A. babe with miles on her. I've come to trust Vic and his team with the big stuff. When the job is negligible—tighten this or loosen that—Vic waves me off without charging me. Why on earth does he do that? Why doesn't he charge me through the nose when he knows I haven't the faintest idea what he did and I'd probably pay? Because Vic is that rarity of rarities, an honest businessman.

He's also no fool. In me he has a customer for life, and he knows it.

The car in the photo above is not mine. I want to clarify that. I wonder if that person is as happy with A-Car as I am?