Thursday, May 7, 2009

Washington Park: What She Said

Yesterday's post about Washington Park brought informative and informed comments from Pasadena's Public Information Officer, Ann Erdman. In case you missed her or you don't read blog comments, I asked Ann if I could quote her in today's post. Ann knows a lot about pretty much everything in Pasadena, plus it gives me a chance to post this photo of the river rock bridge at Washington Park:

"I love giving background about this park!

Credit for the transformation of Washington Park needs to be shared with the Friends of Washington Park and the Washington Square Neighborhood Association. They did tremendous outreach to get volunteers who worked side-by-side with city Public Works crews, and they were at the table throughout the planning and implementation of the improvements.

Big credit should also go to City Councilman Victor Gordo and his field representative Vannia De La Cuba. They advocated for the improvements as well, and worked closely with the neighbors.

Everyone expressed the desire to restore the historic structure and beauty of the park, bring it into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and emphasize its association with landscape architect Ralph Cornell an horticulturalist Theodore Payne, who designed the park in the early 1920s. At that time it was known as one of the most beautiful places in Pasadena, but later it fell into disrepair.

Much of the funding for the improvements was provided by a Proposition 40 grant from the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy. The design team of Troller-Mayer, Bob Perry and Onyx Architects designed ramada-style picnic shelters and a nature interpretive kiosk.

Extensive re-landscaping with new irrigation and indigenous plants, and a stage built from recycled stones are all featured in the 5.2-acre park. The park retains most of its historical hardscape, including river rock structures such as the arched bridge [above] and many original trees.

Washington Park was rededicated in all its improved glory in 2006.

A couple of months ago there was a big cleanup and tree-planting at Washington Park, and the neighbors were right there once again!"

Whew. That was an easy post to write. Admittedly, I spent a little time on the links. But I understand that's good for a blogger.

Thank you, Pasadena PIO.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Almost Picnic Time

Not much was going on at Washington Park while I was there yesterday. A man sat on a bench and took in the weather. A woman relaxed on the grass and read a book while her baby napped in the stroller.

There's often a game of tennis, basketball or raquetball happening. The park has swingsets and picnic tables, and recently-installed weight machines that use your own weight. The place is well-kept, and well-used most times of the day.

But while Boz and I moseyed through there yesterday, mostly all that was happening was shadows growing longer, or taller, as the case may be.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What Now?

We had some excitement in the neighborhood yesterday. Lots of police cars, helicopters, noise. It went on for hours.

The action was on the next block. On my street we hung out with our neighbors in the front yards and wondered what it was all about. When John and I finally wandered over to ask what was going on it was all over, and I took this photo.

The wide shot gives you the neighborhood, the day. The street had been evacuated and the subjects were alone.

A closer look:
The uniformed officer on the left folds his hands in front of him. He seems almost deferential. The detective on the right leans on the cruiser, hand in his pocket, focused on the young man at the center of it all.

This young man, shirtless (easier to search), head hanging--what now?

I can't learn anything from the picture.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Zen Monday: #47

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 Monday photo, I'll add a label to last week's to identify it if necessary (and if I know what it is).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

WriteGirl, BraveGirl

It's easy to say, "If only."

If only things had been different, I would be different. If only I had grown up richer, smarter, more beautiful. If only I'd been more brave.

Susan Kitchens, of 2020Hindsight, tagged me with this prompt: "If I could have met with a mentor on a weekly basis when I was a teenager, I..."

I usually ignore internet tags because they are at best mindless time-wasters. This is the first one I've seen in months that hasn't in most ways resembled a chain letter.

Susan tagged me on this subject because she's passionate about WriteGirl, "a non-profit organization for high school girls centered on the craft of creative writing and empowerment through self-expression." The girls are mentored by professional writers. Today they'll be writing all day at the Pasadena Playhouse for Tonight's big event, PlayWriteGirl.

You can go to PlayWriteGirl and watch celebrities like Christine Lahti, Melora Hardin, Sprague Grayden, Dana Delaney and JoBeth Williams perform the pieces the girls write today. You can also have great food. (Even from Mozza, which--I'm telling you--lunch for two can be $70 bucks and worth it.)

If I could have met with a mentor on a weekly basis when I was a teenager, I would not have been richer, smarter or more beautiful. But I might have been more brave.

The word "empowerment" is overused, but if I let myself think about it for a moment, let it mean something to me, I remember how hard I took things as a girl, how deeply I was shaped by events large and small. How afraid I was. How long and arduous a journey I had to travel to find my power.

Life might be different for any one of us, if only... But "if only" is fantasy. I got what I got. I made of it what I could. But sometimes I didn't know what to make of it. Kindnesses from adults I trusted are jewels I treasure to this day. If I hadn't had the help of those adults, I might have turned out to be someone I wouldn't care to be.

2020 hindsight and life experience tell me even little things can empower these WriteGirls and make them brave: your presence in a seat at the Pasadena Playhouse tonight, for one little thing. For another: your applause.

Other bloggers who've tackled this subject: West Coast Grrlie Blather, Mademoiselle Gramophone, Altadena Hiker and Life Under a Tin Roof Sky. I'll add more as I find them, or you can follow the links to people they've tagged.

Open Mouth, Insert Fork
Plumbing the Deeps

I haven't tagged anyone, but it's a worthy subject to blog about and I don't think it has to be limited to women. How about you? What's your take on the phrase, "If I could have met with a mentor on a weekly basis when I was a teenager, I..." ? Let me know if you blog about it so I can link to you.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Big Weekend

Need something to do this weekend?

Check out and lend a hand on a local project of your choosing. Or participate as a customer: you can shop at a flea market, get your nails done or buy a glass of lemonade at a volunteer-operated booth. Your money goes to a good cause.

Activities are all over the Southland. I didn't find any in Pasadena, though there are lemonade stands in Glendale and La Crescenta. But the list of BigSunday's beneficiaries is long and includes groups with offices here (Ability First, for example, and Rebuilding Together Pasadena).

Sounds to me like a worthy cause, even if all the money goes to Burbank!

Below is a look at this giant tree trunk from the other side. It's near the entrance to the trails at Eaton Canyon in Altadena.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Theme Day: Shadows

I've noticed this shadow many times, but hadn't thought of it for theme day until I drove by a couple of days ago. I like how the brick has faded, showing traces of what used to be.

The sign on the door directs you down the street to the main building of Villa Esperanza Services, a school, adult day care facility, support group and endless resource for people with developmental disabilities and their families. The facility takes up more than a city block along Villa street just west of Craig. I found the website inspiring. Take a look.

To see how City Daily Photo Bloggers around the world have interpreted the theme today, Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.