Saturday, March 7, 2009

Riding Through the Pass

Wouldn't it be nice to get away from all the bad news?

It's not that I don't believe it. I know it's true. What I'm trying to remember is that bad news is not the only thing that's happening. There are other things going on in the world besides job losses and tanking markets.

I heard on the radio last night that the unemployment rate in California is around 10% and in Los Angeles it's 12%. Yesterday, on the same station, I heard there will "no longer be room for slackers," and that in today's job market you have to be on top of your game to stay employed.

I get that, I know. But I don't see how you can stay at the top of your game without providing for some slacker time in your schedule. Book it in there! Give yourself a slacker time pod! Tuesdays at nine, Saturdays from noon to two, or even just ten minutes wherever you can fit it in. You've got to have a break from the world to be able to get back in there and give the world your best.

During your slacker time, I suggest you turn off the news. Detach. Let go of all the things you need and yes, all the people and things who need you. It doesn't mean the world isn't having a bad time. It doesn't mean you don't care. It just means you get a bit of time to refuel.

Am I making excuses for myself? Yes. And I'm telling myself, over and over again, that this, too, shall pass.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Red Light

I had a long wait at the light. How could I not take a picture? This was my break between errands on a busy day where it seemed I had too much to do. My Zen moment, if you will.

This weekend I'll attend a gardening tea and go to the farmer's market. That's all. Nothing else. Nada. I'm going to lounge around like a goddess on a mountaintop and let Boz feed me grapes.

What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Home Shopping With Dave, Part 3

Look closely. Click to enlarge. Yes, it's a putting green.

I don't think I'd want one in my back yard. Then again, I have dog poo in my back yard. I must want it there, because otherwise I'd go out and poop scoop instead of sitting here blogging, wouldn't I?

Dave Knight and I visited a third high-end Pasadena property on our caravan (visit yesterday and the day before for details). This one's in the Chapman Woods area, a $3.5 million property on Madre Street. For grace and charm I prefer yesterday's home but this one has some nice amenities, like a tennis court and a 1200 sq. ft. guest house. The main house has about a hundred bathrooms (I exaggerate - there are actually only six). My favorite amenity is an unmanicured area beyond the tennis court, where the kids have their own jungle.

Dave and I did some talking during the caravan. (No, we didn't, of course not! We sat silently in the car as we rode from house to house.) Dave found his way into real estate by way of charity work; he'd been with a group that helps the needy find housing, and thought he could do good work in the business. He has a wife and a three-month-old son to support so he's gotta make a living, but regardless of commissions he still gets a charge out of finding a great deal for someone who needs it. Those were the stories he relished telling: the friend who got a house for $130,000; the older couple who decided not to sell based on Dave's advice. "I lost that deal," he said, "but they would have lost everything."

If Dave looks familiar, here's why: I first met him last October, at the now famous Pie Night.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Home Shopping With Dave, Part 2

Did someone mention points for the stager? I love the candelabra on the basketball court.

I'm on a caravan with Dave Knight, Pasadena realtor. (Yesterday's post will give you a little background.) I didn't get good pictures at the first house we visited in Linda Vista, sorry. The place was nice, clean, ready to move in. Nothing fancy, though, I must say, and the asking price was $1.275 million.

This place, however, is special. The rooms flow from one to the other. The lot is gorgeous, overlooking the Arroyo and Brookside Park. And you can have it all for less than $2.4 million.

When we entered it was obvious we were in an exclusive home. We introduced ourselves and shook hands with the selling agents. Dave is a young guy, and the other agents were seasoned pros. We chatted about the house - its beautiful surroundings, flowing floor plan, artistic lighting. Dave wanted to know, so he just up and asked: "How does a new agent like me get a listing like this?"

The other agents couldn't have been nicer. Out poured all kinds of friendly advice: "keep up your contacts," "participate in the community," "do charity work," "it's all about your connections," and more.

This exchange was my favorite part of the caravan. I've experienced actors helping actors, writers helping writers, and now realtors helping realtors. I know business is competitive, but people really can be good to each other.


Tomorrow: Part 3, our final installment, where we'll learn why Dave looks familiar (if Cafe Observer keeps our secret), and we'll see a backyard accoutrement some folks might kill to have.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Home Shopping With Dave, Part 1

You may remember Dave Knight, but for now I'm not going to tell you from where.

When I began the irregular but not indifferent Home Shopping series here on Pasadena Daily Photo, I contacted a few local real estate agents to tell them what I was doing. Because I'm not an expert in the field I asked if they'd occasionally check in and add their input. The fabulous Irina Netchaev contributed excellent info on Mediterranean Altadena, for example, enhancing that post with her knowledge.

It's obvious I need assistance. There's a lot I don' t know about real estate. Did you know these people regularly go on caravans? They're not trekking across the desert on camels to visit mysterious oases. No, they're trekking across Pasadena in air-conditioned vehicles to view glorious properties, eat lovely snacks and schmooze with their kind.

I accompanied Dave Knight on a caravan last week. We visited three Pasadena properties, each listed at well over $1 million. I took just a few pictures so as not to be obtrusive. I learned some things. I did not indulge in snacks.

When I took this picture, Dave was standing on the back porch of a glamorous home not too far from the Gamble House. I was on the basketball court.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Zen Monday: #38

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 photo is posted, a label is added to last week's to identify it (if I know what it is).

Update, 3/9/09: Now I can tell you. The light in the sink was a reflection of a beam that came through a slit behind the window shade.

Guest photographer: John Sandel

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Theme Day: Glass

It's the first of the month, Theme Day for City Daily Photo bloggers around the world. This month's theme is "glass," so I'm trotting out my collection of vintage bottles.

I know. Just be glad the theme isn't Hot Wheels, or beer mugs.

I find bottles in vintage shops in the small towns of California. I suppose their suppliers find them in various places, like old mining camps that aren't yet old enough to be archaeological sites. That means the bottles have no provenance. They're early 20th century litter. I know bits about a few of them: the two small ink bottles in front are from 1890's northern California. One, that my sister found for me in Texas, has a note inside describing it as a handmade soda bottle made in Decatur, Illinois, also in the 1890's.

I have quite a variety, from medicine bottles to perfume bottles to liquor bottles. I even have one for some kind of magic "elixir." My favorites still have stuff in them - dirt, sand, whatever. It makes me feel linked to whoever used them last.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in today's theme.