Saturday, September 5, 2009

Boz Loves the Beach

Last weekend, to get away from the smoke, Boz and I went to Huntington Dog Beach. Maybe it wasn't the best idea I've ever had; the weekend is chaotic at the dog beach because everyone else has the same not-their-best-idea at the same time. So if the weekend is the only time you can go and your dog isn't under excellent voice command, I recommend a leash. But if your constant companion has been pent up in the house because you're trying not to inhale the smoke--oh hell, just go! Head on out and get yourself and your pal some negative ions. Pooch will think it's the greatest idea of all time.

But go on a weekday if you can.

(In case you were wondering, yes indeedy, the name Huntington Beach is tied up in history with that of Pasadena's own--okay, California's own--Henry Huntington.)

Don't carry too much. Poo bags, drinking water, your dog's bowl. We were there for two and a half hours and Boz stopped moving only long enough to have a treat and a drink, and he's no spring chicken. Although he would be happy to have a spring chicken, bones and all.

Update: Altadena needs a party and tonight is it! Head up to North Lake Avenue at 5pm for the Altadena Arts Coalition Project: Altadena Open House!

Friday, September 4, 2009


The Station Fire has seriously stressed me out. The smoky air, the online discussions about bad (or nonexistent) news coverage, the talk of costs in money, not to mention lives. And now that we know it was arson my mind is completely blown.

It's all relative. I live in Pasadena. My home has not, at any point, been threatened by the fire. Yet I'm stressed to the point of near-illness because of the effects this thing has on my community. My stress is nothing compared to that of the people who live up the hill in Altadena, or over the hill in Acton, or across the valley in Sierra Madre and Monrovia--the people whose bags are still packed in case they have to evacuate.

And the animals. It's too horrible to contemplate.

Then I think of the people who did have to evacuate. That's stress. But those who lost their homes are going through worse. Real people. I don't know them but I can put myself in their place, or lack of a place. It's devastating.

Real lives have been lost, too. Two lives, two firefighters. My heart goes out to their families. I'm so glad I married a guy who works at his computer. Having him here, now, is a great stress-reducer.

We talked about the firefighters last night. I imagine you have to love fire to be a firefighter. You have to love the challenge, the teamwork, the danger, the heat. The kudos, too, when you get them. You have to be able to deal with some major stress on that job, I would think. Maybe you even have to relish that stress.

We can never give them kudos enough, but we can try.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


It has been a very tough week thanks to the Station Fire. I wanted to post a picture of something beautiful and sweet. Yesterday at dusk we sat on our front curb and visited with our neighbor, Olive. She let me snap photo after photo and I got my wish.

Here she is in color.

Excellent information on the wildfires may be found at
kpcc, our fab local public radio station

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Altered Arts

Besides interfering with vision, the Station Fire is altering vision as well. I keep finding strange light, and I've heard of unusual sunsets all along the coast.

The smoke is doing stuff to my throat and nose, too, but I haven't figured out how to make art out of that. At least nothing I'd want to share with you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Theme Day: Big

Update, 3:50 PM: in case you missed it, here's the alternative link for updates from Mount Wilson while the regular site is down:

For two days I've been trying to capture a compelling photo of the pyrocumulus cloud that hangs over the San Gabriel Mountains north of Pasadena and Altadena. It can be seen for at least 70 miles. I know this because I shot pictures of it yesterday from Huntington Beach. (100 miles my friend Michelle says--she saw it from Santa Barbara.)

But I can't do it justice. There's no way to show you how big the Station Fire is--how much acreage it has burned in our hearts, how the sound of the air conditioner has become the sound of the flames, how we listen for the water-dropping aircraft overhead, how we wonder and worry about the creatures, the views, the smells, the land and the paths we walk--because the fire burns differently for each of us.

There are over 1,000 City Daily Photo blogs around the world. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in today's theme.

(Take a look at Gem City Images. Keith captured the cloud extremely well. Or view the cloud from San Pedro Daily Photo, where Lori Lynn got a great shot of it.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Zen Monday: #61

Last night, from our back porch. Flames at left are above Altadena. Small lights at right are Mount Wilson buildings and towers.

Firefighter Blog
LA County Fire Department
Los Angeles Times (coverage has been excellent and up-to-the-minute)
Mount Wilson News
Mount Wilson Towercam
Welcome to The Meadows

this morning

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I was offline most of the day yesterday. Karin, Tim, Deb and Greg will be good blogger sources for what yesterday felt like in Altadena. It sounds to me like it was tense and scary. But people supported each other and helped each other face the tasks they had to face.

We were kind of doing the same thing here in the old 'hood, except it didn't require aircraft. We had a bon voyage party for our friends who are leaving Pasadena.

Yesterday in the comments here on PDP, USElaine said, "When we love nature, we have to accept all of it as a package." Yes, I think so. I think we have to accept it all in order to love it.

Life has such sadness sometimes, such hardship. If we embrace the hardship, might that enable us to find life's goodness? Is that how we locate happiness, by slogging through pain with our eyes and ears and hearts wide open?

"Accept all of it as a package"?

Yes, I think so.

They say some of that brush up in the hills hasn't burned for 60 years. Well, it's a process of nature. That brush has got to burn.

(Update: Thanks to Bellis for reminding me to check LA Creek Freak. Always excellent information there from Jessica and Joe.)