Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fairy Tales

We're taking a Valentine's Day break from our Altadena hike.

This is a close-up on the Cinderella Tile Panel at the Huntington Art Gallery in San Marino. The card on the wall next to it says the panel was originally created to adorn a fireplace. The tiles were painted by Lucy Faulkner, sister of William Morris's partner Charles Faulkner after a design by Edward Burne-Jones, and manufactured by Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Company in London in 1862.

I think the tale of Cinderella is appropriate for today because in the story, the couple can't be together until she reveals her true self to him. Yeah, yeah, yeah, she has to fit the glass slipper. And yeah, yeah, yeah, it's a rags to riches story of virtue conquering tyranny. But fairy tales are also allegorical. Love is about sharing our truest selves with each other and accepting our loved ones in all of their forms, from the glorious to the base.

Tomorrow we'll return to Altadena, with an announcement!

Friday, February 13, 2009


You learn a new word and you just want to walk around using it, impressing people with your snappy vocabulary. Either that or they think you're speaking gibberish.

Continuing from yesterday's post: Altadenahiker and I toured one of Altadena's prettiest neighborhoods and found this garden, protected by Ganesh. Ganesh is a popular Hindu god of arts, sciences, intellect and wisdom. He's even a patron of letters, according to Wikipedia. Ganesh covers lots of stuff. No wonder he's popular.

A less popular deity is the Norse goddess Frigga, or Frigg. She may be the origin of paraskavedekatriaphobia for goodness sakes. Not even a goddess can live down a stain like that on her reputation. Paraskavedekatriaphobia means "fear of Friday the 13th."

Although I always recommend Wikipedia as a beginning for research (as opposed to the be-all to end-all), I enjoyed the Wikipedia article about the origins of Friday the 13th.

Will you invoke any deities to protect you today? Will you stay in? I'm not afraid of today. Are you?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Altadena Hike

One of the many pleasures of blogging is other bloggers. If you're a lucky blogger you get to meet some of your favorite bloggers in person. And I am one lucky blogger.

Not long ago I took a hike through Altadena with the Hiker. I lived in Altadena for almost two years, in this very century, and still hadn't found all the places she showed me. All of them, including this secret spot, are within a few minutes' walking distance of where I lived.

I got some nice shots during our hike. I'll post them over the next few days. I think you'll like them, but unfortunately, you'll lack the pleasure of Karin's company.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eric Merrell

What could be more bucolic, more artsy, more Seurat than coming across a painter in the Arroyo Seco, practically in the shadow of the Colorado Street Bridge?

John and I were walking with Boz when we saw Eric Merrell's umbrella. I just had to go find out what he was painting. But we'd caught him between paintings, and he was peering at a blank canvas. Thinking. Looking around. Checking out the light.

He was nice enough to let me take photos, but an artist has a process and I didn't want to bother him for long. We exchanged urls, as gentlefolk do in polite society.

Here's Eric's outstanding website. Here's Eric's thoughtful blog.

On the website, you'll see he's currently part of a show at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, and he opens at the Addison Art Gallery in Orleans, MA on Valentine's Day (break a leg, Eric!). Right here in Pasadena we can get a look at his works from April 26th to May 17th at the California Art Club's 98th Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art.

I think I'll just go to that.

Below, the painter contemplates his next masterwork.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pasadena Professional Building

Last week we viewed a bit of Pasadena skyline from atop the Professional Building. (To see those posts, click on the label "Pasadena Professional Building" below.)

Here's a view looking up at the building itself. I wish I'd had a ladder. Better yet, a jet pack. I'd like to get up to those rosettes for a close-up. The best I can do is suggest you click on the photo for a closer look at the tasty superfluous details on this creamy building.

Amelia, the building manager, told me when she began working there in 1989 the basement was creepy, with lights hanging from the ceiling (some of them nonfunctional) over an old wooden desk amid boxes and old furniture. Supposedly there's a ghost of a little boy in the basement, too. Amelia's never met him face to face, but he's closed a few doors on her when she knew she was the only one on the premises.

The basement's been cleaned up now. Originally it held an assembly hall for meetings, but it's no longer in use.

There have been other changes. When Amelia first came to the Professional Building the elevators still had seats for the uniformed operators. Not anymore. The elevators are nice, but I prefer the stairs. I'd take them even if I had a jet pack to get to my doctor's office. (Use it or lose it, they say.)

For a view from a bit further away, see Ben's post.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Zen Monday: #35

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts 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.

As each new Zen Monday is posted, a label is added to last week's to identify it (if I know what it is).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Garden

A neighborhood stroll reveals this pretty patio along a stretch of Palm Terrace where, even on a gray day, almost every yard looks lovely.

I take a few pictures. The birdies tweet. I put the camera away. I stare. Finally, in sadness, I wipe the drool from my chin and slink away.

I've always wanted to have a green thumb, but if wishes were gardens I'd have a gorgeous yard instead of one where I experiment with methods of herbaceous homicide. Everything I've planted over the past three years is dead or in the process of dying. (So in case you were wondering, no, this is not my yard.)

I once had enthusiasm. I used it to tear out healthy plants planted by the previous owner and plant the things I wanted. You know what happened.

So how does one start over? What's my first move (besides hiring a landscaper)? Should I take a class? Read a book? Rip out what's left and apply gravel?