Saturday, September 12, 2009

Looking Up

You recognize this, don't you?

I think what I'll do here is make a link for those who don't know what it is. Some folks are so familiar with it they don't need a link. Either they're looking at the picture saying, "Don't tell me, don't tell me!" or it's a complete no-brainer.

It's not a contest. It was just fun to take a picture of a cloudy sky today. We have clouds so rarely. The moisture comes in handy when we've still got fire in them thar hills after 17 days. The Station Fire is 81% contained at this writing. A week ago it felt like we'd never see that. Today, things are looking up.

Friday, September 11, 2009


My friend took me out for coffee and a sandwich yesterday. We both feel like we're mourning for the landscape. It's going to take a while to learn to live with the changes wrought by the Station Fire. Bad things happen and sometimes they're so bad you can't get over them. But you learn to live with them.

We talked about other things, too--things we enjoy, projects we're working on, ideas we have--there are other things, good things. My friend cheered me up and I still feel good today.

I thought about posting something cute and happy, but I'll wait one more day. Today it's appropriate to mourn about those things we will not get over, but are still learning to live with.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Here's my favorite loading dock in Pasadena.

Now there's a sentence you don't hear every day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Somewhere There is Always Beauty

To those who participated in yesterday's rant, thanks for helping me get it off my chest. Everyone gets angry sometimes and there are healthy ways to express anger other than defacing property or burning things down.

The Station Fire symbolizes too much loss in too short a time.

Boz and I took a walk today. We didn't go to Hahamongna or the Cobb Estate or the Arroyo. We just went around the block. It took forever. I let Boz stop at every bush that beckoned him, every titillating telephone pole, every come-on curb. It was a chance for me to relax, look around and realize there is beauty. No matter what happens, somewhere there is always beauty.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Litterin' Low Life

The Sam Merrill Trail gets a lot of weekend trash. So does the west end of the Gabrielino Trail, north of JPL. These spots also get a lot of graffiti, especially on the lower reaches. The preponderance of litter and graffiti on the low paths is because getting up high on the mountain requires effort and agility, and these are activities of the lazy.

Here's a sampling of what Boz and I found on a short walk Sunday from the west end of Altadena Drive to the ranger station, a 30 minute walk if you're not in a hurry. As you can see, our litterers are athletic (Gatorade), watch their weight (light beer), care about their skin (Neutrogena lotion) and occasionally indulge in candy. I notice one wrapper got out of my little arrangement. Perhaps litterers like to follow their Bliss.

The litterers might disagree with my low opinion of them. Obviously, they have a high opinion of themselves. But I'm right and they're wrong. They're lazy, slothful and stupid. How do I know this? Slothful: self-evident. Lazy: I found a good deal of this trash within about thirty feet of a garbage can. Stupid: See the cigar wrapper in that pile? And I didn't even pick up the cigarette butts. CIGARETTE BUTTS. WHAT ARE PEOPLE THINKING? (At first I thought, oh gee, maybe it was the coyotes, but wait, no, coyotes are too smart to smoke cigarettes in the middle of a forest full of dry tinder, which is more than I can say for some people.)

There's no sense complaining to you, you don't litter. You don't paint meaningless code words on rocks where only lizards can read them. Yet I want to vilify these trash-dropping mofos. Do they decorate their homes in early twenty-first century Garbage Dump? (Yes.) I'd like to scream and swear at the halfwits who think their spray-painted gangspeak--the secret language of morons--actually enhances a rock or a bridge or even so much as a pile of dung.

But I also call myself a writer and writers are supposed to be inventive with language. Supposedly we don't need to swear to express ourselves (though The Seven Words come in handy).

Let's see what we can do. Today I invite you to invent incendiary invective in the comments. Rail! Accuse! Vituperate! Tell the litterers how big a pile of offal you'd like to force them to sort, by hand, at gunpoint. Let the taggers in on your plans for their edification in a federal facility. Or perhaps you'd have them clean, under the hot sun, with a toothbrush, every inch of wall they've ever defaced. See how vicious you can be--without using The Seven Words. In fact, if you use one (or a variation of one) I'll delete your comment. But anything else goes. And I do mean anything.

And while you're at it: tell the Station Fire arsonist what painful punishment you have in mind for him (or her?). Heated words are welcome, my friends. Go ahead and get mad. But please: no swearing.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Zen Monday: #62

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, September 6, 2009

High Chaparral

It's funny how a girl from Illinois corn country becomes a woman of the San Gabriel chaparral.

I want to get up into the hills right now but for reasons of my own I can't go. I'm afraid the trails don't look like this anymore but that's okay. I still love them. I still want to be there. I still want to photograph them, and I will.

Until then, others are photographing the trails and the hills. Larry Wilson. Altadena Hiker. Keith Durflinger, for Pasadena Star News. Gem City Images. Mount Wilson Tower Cam. Rose Magazine. And oh, man, LA Daily News. Many more. I'll add today as I find them, or I encourage you to link to more in the comments.
The Truant Muse

Take time, if you will, to read Nancy Steele's post, How do we do nothing after the fire?
I think it'll help you begin to come to terms.