Saturday, March 28, 2009

Join Us

Tonight we celebrate Earth Hour from 8:30-9:30 pm. The World Wildlife Fund is asking everyone on the planet to turn off their lights for one hour as a show of our commitment to finding solutions to climate change.

John and I wondered what we'd do with a whole hour away from our computers. Then we thought of something.

One little hour seems a small amount of time to show support for the entire future of our planet. I hope you'll join us. I mean that figuratively. Don't come over. Do something at your house.

But you could join us this afternoon at the San Gabriel Valley Bloggers' Potluck. Bloggers, friends, families, fans and lurkers are all invited. It would be lovely to see you there!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Home Shopping on San Rafael Avenue

As the brochure says, "there is simply no address quite like it in Pasadena..." A South San Rafael Avenue address is an exclusive address. Yesterday I got to take a look at a property for sale at 500 South San Rafael avenue for an unheard of $3,500,000. Does that sound expensive to you? Nah. According to the agent, my friend Jeremy Hardy of Craig Estates and Fine Properties, many properties along that street are worth $6 million or more, even in this economy.

I'm standing on the second floor balcony. You're looking at the pool house, which has a kitchen and bathroom, and can serve as a private guest house. The home itself was built in 1904 by an adventurer named Frederick Burnham, who later served as president of what was then the Southwest Museum, now the Southwest Museum of the American Indian. Mrs. Alice Campbell-Johnston altered the house significantly when she lived there from 1927 to 1942. It doesn't look like a 1904 house at all. (Alice must have been related to Frances Ellen Campbell-Johnston, who built the Church of the Angels nearby.)

I enjoy visiting houses like this and felt lucky I got to see this one. It's a fantastic lot--more than 55,000 square feet. And it's mostly flat, which is unusual for a lot so close to the Arroyo. The back yard is almost completely taken up by a tennis court. When I move in I'm going to take that out and just plant stuff.

Jeremy said the house doesn't have a website. But Redfin has already picked up the MLS listing and there are several pictures. Take a look and you'll get an idea of the place. Here's Jeremy, standing below the balcony where I stood when I shot the pool house pic.
Say hi to my pal!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

AKA Monkey Balls

The tree is called Liquid Amber, or liquidambar styraciflua if Wikipedia's got it right. The pod is everywhere in so-Cal this time of year. You don't want your soft, bare foot to meet up with it. Boz navigates around these, carefully avoiding them with his delicate peds.

I saw a young woman gathering them the other day, and it triggered a memory from when I first moved here; I collected a batch and put them in a colorful bowl on the table in my apartment. To someone newly transplanted from Chicago, they were a fanciful arrangement in the sunny month of March.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Little Guy's Adventure

Boz and I found this little guy out gallivanting on Los Robles Boulevard. Literally. A nice little guy. Cute, too. His name? Hard to tell--no nametag, no phone number. He did have a Pasadena dog license, but the city license is only a 4-digit number. It didn't tell me much, and it was after hours. City offices were closed.

I can't leave an innocent dog hanging out in traffic if he'll come to me, and Little Guy came. He was well-mannered, clean and well-fed. He hadn't strayed far from home. My neighbor Brenden had a few minutes to drive over and bring me a leash. (Thank you for being a hero, Brenden!) Little Guy, Boz and I walked up and down knocking on doors for a while but no one recognized LG.

By the time we got to my house, Little Guy wasn't having fun anymore. He was scared. I tied him on the porch and gave him some water, leaving the door open while I fed Boz his dinner inside. Then I sat with my laptop to see if I could save myself a trip to the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA. If I couldn't, that was Little Guy's next stop.

Luckily, the PHS & SPCA was able to tell me where LG lived based on his Pasadena city license number. Luckily for the dog, that is. For me, let me just put it this way: my feet wouldn't hurt so much and I'd be a lot less irritated if Little Guy had been wearing a tag with his name and phone number on it. You can order them online from the Humane Society for $6.95. How hard can that be?

Anything else you want to know about pets, check out the Humane Society's great website. They've got all kinds of services: behavior classes, volunteer opportunities, books, and free and/or cheap spaying, neutering and microchipping. Do it! All of it! For the love and safety of your pet! For the goodwill of your neighbors!

On the website they also have photos and videos of beautiful, sweet, wonderful animals just waiting for you to take them home. With a nametag.

When you get them there, please make sure the fence is secure.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Norton Simon Museum

I had a wonderful birthday yesterday. Many of you sent birthday greetings, and I thank you. We had lunch with friends, after which John took me to Pasadena's Norton Simon Museum. I didn't want to have to organize anything, and John took care of the arrangements.

Norton Simon was apparently a smart man. He was certainly wealthy, and the Wikipedia article about him says he was good at making deals and managing his money. From the collection at the museum I'd say he made mostly excellent art deals. There are a few clunkers, noticeable because the museum is small. But the great stuff is so great that the clunkers don't matter. And one person's clunker is another person's masterpiece.

The Asian art collection is impressive. So is the Degas. Picasso is well represented. Brancusi. Rembrandt. Rubens. El Greco. Folks you've heard of, you know? There's an obsessive Canaletto I like to visit; a gorgeous "Reclining Nude" I'd never seen or heard of, by Watteau, whom I've also never seen, but I've heard of, of course. The one Modigliani they have is delectable. (Not for sale, though, and the guards didn't think that was funny.) We wandered the sculpture garden; a Henry Moore work called "King and Queen" charmed me. The Norton Simon also holds surprises, like portraits so fine you feel like you're in communion with the subject.

I'd link you to each piece, but on the Norton Simon's website you can search by collection or artist, so have at it and find your favorites!

I know how lucky I am that I got to do exactly what I wanted to do yesterday. Thank you for granting my birthday wish, sweetie. You're the best husband ever. Mushy mushy.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Zen Monday: #41

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what the photo's about.

As I post each new Zen photo, I'll add a label to last week's to identify it if necessary (and if I know what it is).

Update 3/30/09: A few days after posting, a "for sale" sign was hung on the wheelchair. As of this date, the chair is still there.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I haven't been inside the giant white structure just east of the Civic Center on Euclid. I've Googled, but no luck.

Help me out here. Is it part of the Civic Center? Part of the Sheraton? Or just its own mystical self?

Update: Helen gave us our answer. It's the Civic Center's Temporary Exhibit Space.