Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday Sfumato

Sometimes it happens here in the late day, if conditions are right - a bit of natural sfumato. I blogged about it last May, when smoke still hung in the sky from the Sierra Madre fire.

Our sky seemed clear enough yesterday, though I woke up to fog in the early morning. This photo was taken as the sun began to set. Perhaps what I captured was late day moisture caught in the lateral rays. What I love is the gradations of sharpness, the muted colors. (You've got to enlarge this one.) I've pointed my camera at this same field before and gotten purples and pinks.

Somewhere in this picture are coyotes, rabbits, snakes, bats, bugs, squirrels and a couple of bobcats. It is very tough getting them to pose like this.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Still Here

I saw remnants of bleachers piled near Pasadena City College on Tuesday. The crews are cleaning up. But these bleachers remained intact yesterday. They're the biggies, the ones you see on TV, right across the street from the Norton Simon Museum.

I think this is Pasadena's equivalent of not being ready to take the Christmas tree down yet.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Being Have

Yesterday I attended a movie at the Central Library with Miss Havisham, her Secretary, Mary Kathleen O'Looney, Mademoiselle Gramophone and Dr. Burchard. We're usually a raucous crowd, but not only were we at a movie, we were at a movie at the library, so we were doubly quiet. As my Uncle Max used to say, we were "being have."

The movie was Miss Potter starring Renee Zellweger (love her!). Because the film was about a writer and her books, they showed it at the library for free. YES. FREE MOVIES at the library at 1PM on Wednesdays. A comfortable, intimate theatre, quiet crowd, small screen and a bunch of my friends. You can't beat it. We sat right up front and it wasn't screamingly loud like in the multi-plexes. Heavenly.

The photo above is a view of City Hall from the children's section of the library. After the film we all piled in there. (As it was a school day, the room was devoid of children. Thank goodness we didn't have to set an example.) We asked for the Beatrix Potter books and they had a good selection. Mary Kathleen nosed through The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck (the Secretary admonished her to read with her mouth closed), Miss Havisham seemed interested in The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse, and Dr. Burchard checked out a copy of The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin for further study.

I became completely absorbed in The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies. The librarian did not have to shush us.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ICE for USElaine

This blog thing is more than posting photos and jabbering about them. Through blogging I've learned about my town, made friends and expanded my life. Many folks I've met are in the Pasadena area; many more are virtual acquaintances, scattered throughout the world. I'm old enough to find it amazing that I can talk to friends in Paris, Pakistan and Persia every day. I don't know if we're all on our best behavior or if people are just generally good. I think it's the latter.

One person I've come to admire is USElaine of Willits Daily Photo. With straightforward prose she tells vast stories in few words, letting her readers' minds fill in the shading. She's similarly skilled with the camera. A simple, straightforward image can have many facets - of time, thought or possibility. She posts a jewel so often that Benjamin Madison of Victoria Daily Photo coined the phrase USElaine's gems to describe her style.

This ice house stands in the parking lot at Webster's in Altadena. When I took the shot I thought of USElaine and wondered, "How would Elaine shoot this?" I decided she would shoot it straight on and let the shadows do their thing.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The First Cut Contest: Page 20

"The windows faced Garfield Street and the courthouse, an unadorned concrete rectangle lined with soulless windows."

Thus, with a touch of noir, Pasadena novelist Dianne Emley describes Pasadena's Superior Court building in her Pasadena-centric novel The First Cut. Pasadena Pasadena Pasadena!

Did you know we're having a contest? Read The First Cut, answer a few easy questions about it and win a copy of Cut to the Quick, the second book in Emley's Nan Vining Thrillogy.

Here are the rules, which I first posted last week:
1. Read The First Cut. (It's available at Vroman's or your favorite book store. You can read a description of the book on Dianne's website.)
2. Answer four easy questions about the book, which are posted below.
3. Email your answers to me (link at upper left of blog) by the January 27th deadline.
4. Feel free to email me any questions you have about the contest, or post your questions in the comments section.

Three winners will be drawn from the correct entries. Each will win a copy of the second book in the Nan Vining Thrillogy! It's called Cut to the Quick, and it'll be released as a paperback original on January 27th.

1. What word is written on the refrigerator magnet Nan receives from T.B. Mann?
2. What's the name of the nightclub owned by John Lesley?
3. What song is played at Frankie Lynde's funeral?
4. What does Frankie's voice say to Nan on the CD that Emily records?

And the bonus question:

5. How many times has Nan's mother been married?

I don't know why it's a bonus question. You don't have to answer it to win. I couldn't. Dianne asked me that one and I had no idea. But you get brownie points if you know it. Maybe we'll use it as a tie-breaker.

We're on, people. Let me hear from you, and let's have fun!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Zen Monday: #30

Zen Monday's the day you experience the photo and tell us what you think, rather than me telling you what the photo's about.
There's no right or wrong.
If the photo evokes something in you, that's all it is.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


It's sacrilege, I'm sure, to leave Pasadena at Tournament of Roses time. But John and I aren't religious so we skipped town and went to the beach for a couple of days. (If you'd like to see hometown Rose Parade posts, check out West Coast Grrlie Blather or East of Allen.)

So. Tomorrow's Monday. Back to the grind. Back to normal.

But not really.

There's change coming. The year feels new. We're putting one foot in front of the other, not knowing what the ground looks like until our foot lands on it. We can't see where we're going until we get there. It's scary.

Change is the one thing we can count on. It's necessary. Things do not stay the same, they never have. We know change is good, but it can be overwhelming.

This is probably why we cling to beloved traditions like Christmas trees and the Rose Parade. It's why our garages fill up with old relics that never get used or even looked at. It's why we stick to routine, it anchors us.

It's like sleeping in your own bed after you've been away for a few days. It may not be the greatest bed. The pillow may be lumpy. But it's what you're used to, and that's a comfort.