Saturday, August 15, 2009


This photo has layers. In the top right corner you see Altadena in the distance. I think of the next layer as the row of sagebrush that lines the path. Then there's the sunny part of the path, then the shady part. Then, in the shaded foreground, see that curved mark like someone took a wide stick and marked the dust? It's the path left by a rattlesnake. You may have to enlarge the picture by clicking on it to see it.

This time of year if you want to hike during the warm times of day you have to watch for snakes. It's just the way things are. They live here and so do we. They watch for us, too, and avoid us just as we avoid them. Case in point: John and I were walking Boz last week when we saw one on the path after it had seen us. The reason we hadn't seen it at first was because it had stopped moving to wait and allow us a wide berth.

What you don't want is the situation where neither you nor the snake is paying attention. Whoa! Surprise! Biting! Excuse me! Ouch! Poison! Sorry, man, I didn't realize it was you. Too late.

I never saw the snake who left this mark on the Sam Merrill Trail. Another hiker told me, breathlessly, that she'd seen it go into the underbrush. She was afraid it would turn around and come back. But I'm pretty sure once that snake got wind of us, he wasn't coming out until until every last hiker was long gone.

(This one's for AmyR.)

Friday, August 14, 2009


Sometimes I think I struggle. And it's true, I do. All humans have struggles. But our struggles are relative. So after a long working day it's good--no, it's a blessing--to enjoy a glass of wine, a backyard garden and good literature. Literature, in a variety of forms (reading it, writing it, discussing it) is my recharging fuel. Good friends and wine never hurt, either.

Everyone needs that thing that fuels them. (Maybe you recharge with music or a football game or a workout.) Last night while we discussed writing and literature, lights twinkled in the bushes and candles flickered on the window ledge and I was renewed.

I wasn't the last to leave. I walked home feeling fortunate, having forgotten whatever struggles I thought I may have had. Behind me, the voices of my friends spilled into the darkened street and saw me safely home.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Moi Aussi

I usually do my posts in the early evening, then set the timer on this here Blogger thingy to post at a minute after midnight. (Don't ask me why I set it for a minute after; I don't have an answer.)

I've spent a good deal of time researching a post and I've come to realize I don't have time to finish it tonight. So I'm forced to post something completely frivolous that has no educational value whatsoever. You will not be enlightened here on the blog today. I'm terribly sorry. I hope you'll at least be entertained.

Here's a self-portrait I took in the main floor hallway of the Westin Pasadena when I met friends for drinks at Ventanas, the lobby bar. It's a nice bar.

There--that was enlightening, right?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Swinging to the Bard

Is it already Wednesday? I'm still telling you about my weekend.

On Sunday I crossed over into Laurie's turf and caught the last of this year's free concerts in South Pasadena's lovely Garfield Park. My neighbors had been taking their kids every week this summer and I didn't want to miss my last chance.

The crowd really enjoyed the Irish folk band, Wake the Bard. The music had folks dancing, especially the kids.

When you're in South Pasadena in a park on a summer evening and there's live music and food and kids all over the place, you walk slower, if you walk at all. You might lie on a blanket or on the grass, or put your head in your lover's lap. If you need to prop yourself up to see anything you do so on your elbows. If anyone mentions work you don't understand a word they're saying.

My choice of black & white for this photo was easy: it's a tribute to Laurie's depiction of last year's final concert.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Precious Heirlooms

No hothouse tomato ever came close.

I bought a huge bag full of heirloom tomatoes from the Jaime Farms booth at the Pasadena Farmer's Market last Saturday. I got a few of each color: light green and dark, subtle yellow, bright orange and all varieties of red from pale to brassy. We've been eating them every day.

We've had them with:
pasta (saute them with olive oil and fresh basil, then top with parmesan);
BLTs (I like mine with fresh avocado on miner's sourdough, both also from the Farmer's Market);
sliced and piled piled on a plate with chopped shallots and some more of that fresh basil, with a splash of balsamic vinaigrette...mmm....
by themselves.

How do you like your heirlooms?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Zen Monday: #58

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what the photo's about. I look for something provocative or, failing that, at least something odd.

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

Sunday, August 9, 2009

District 3 Block Party 2009

I got to the District 3 Block Party as things were winding down. That might have been a good thing. Had I gotten there much earlier, City Councilmember Chris Holden and his son Nick might have been too busy to pose for me.
Holden is mostly but not entirely responsible for the annual party. Above, you see his Field Representative Jackie McIntyre (standing, in the black dress). She had a lot to do with putting the party together. I got to meet her but she'll never remember. I think she was pretty well exhausted by that time.
If I'd gotten there earlier I'd have heard the band. Everyone said they were fantastic. There was even a carnival ride and a huge water slide. I know this is so because I saw the crews packing them up. They'd packed up the food, too. The ice cream man showed up just in time.
Remember Celeste? She's going to be sporting some new teeth soon. That's her brother Cesar behind her. Everybody got a free prize. (I had Cooties when I was a kid. No, I didn't have cooties. It's important to make the distinction.)

I'm not much involved in local politics. Yes, I have opinions. I vote. But I don't visit the local political blogs and I don't go to city council meetings. However, I know this much: I live in District 3 where Chris Holden is not only my City Councilmember but my neighbor. And I can't imagine leaving.