Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mycology, Anyone?

I get all my big words from my husband.

Mycology is the study of fungi. To get a close-up of this yellow burst of fungal joy I had to poke my camera under a cyclone fence. I left some of it in the photo for scale, and you can see its shadow manifested in lines on the puffy, yellow, mushroomy, whatever-it-is. You know I googled. All I got was yellow fungus.

Any ideas?

Friday, October 23, 2009


It's still more than a week 'til Halloween and the pumpkin patches are up all over town. They're like Christmas tree lots. (Sure enough, once the pumpkins are gone the same lots will be stocked with trees set out to dry.)

You've got eight days--well, nights--to get on over to East Jackson Street and see the Halloween decorations. I don't want to build it up too much for you. It's just a nice block with nice decorations, better than most blocks. There may be others that do it up bigger. If you know of any let me know in the comments and maybe I can get some pictures. But if you go to Jackson, start at El Molino and walk west. The Pumpkin God, at the west end of the block, tops it off.

And you must go at night.

If you see me out there with my tripod, say hello.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Debris at the PWP Corral

In yesterday's comments the Altadena Hiker reminded us of the high waters behind the Devil's Gate Dam after a storm in spring of 2005. Greg Sweet wrote of the debris that builds up behind our local dams after big storms. That gave me the idea to post these pictures from spring of 2008 to show what Pasadena Water and Power does with storm debris behind Devil's Gate Dam.

In the first two photos you can see JPL in the background. I didn't know what the line of connected logs was for at first.

But as the water recedes it becomes clear that the logs are in place to corral the debris that has gathered in the flood.

A lot of the debris is twigs and logs. But if you enlarge this photo you can also see plastic bags, styrofoam cups, a flashlight and a lot of unidentifiable stuff. If the water gets high enough, plastic bags and all sorts of weird junk hangs in the trees.

Sprocket and Boz find it absolutely delightful.

I'd say the PWP does a fine job. But I have no idea where they put it all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Water Control

There's water under the Devil's Gate dam again. We were told that last week's rain wasn't much and truly it's only a stream, but it's good to see.

Click on over to the Pasadena PIO's recent Mystery History piece about the dam and scroll down to the well-known photo of the "completed project." The dam is no longer a public road, but that square control tower or guard house is still there. From where I was standing when I took this shot, all the water in the PIO's photo would have been behind me, where this is now.

The dam was built back in the days when there was enough water that it needed controlling. We don't have that problem now.

I check in at LA Creek Freak a lot. I don't comment much because I don't know what to say. But they do, and they're worth reading.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Embracing Our Diversity

Folks said 7:30 was a little early--not to be out of bed, necessarily--but to be showered, dressed and out in public being civil on a Monday. But none of us would have missed it for anything.

It was the Pasadena YWCA's Women for Racial Justice Breakfast, chaired by Ellen Portantino, emceed by NBC's Beverly White and put together (obviously) by a lot of unsung but dedicated people. I was one of the lucky women invited to share a table with my friend and Pasadena's Public Information Officer, Ann Erdman. Did you know the YWCA's whole mission is "Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women"? And the YWCA in Pasadena is huge.

I knew I'd enjoy it. I even knew I'd be inspired. But I didn't know how much.

This year's recipient of the YWCA Racial Justice Award was Marge Wyatt, a Pasadena activist for more than 50 years. Sandra Davis Houston gave Wyatt a rousing introduction, saying there's no way we can know how many lives she influenced over the years. Wyatt has fought for equality in many ways: by writing about it, by standing up for desegregation, as the founder and former board president of Child Care Information Service and as an active presence on the PTA. When asked what his mother did, one of her sons once said, "She goes to meetings." She has spent the better part of 50 years going to meetings to make Pasadena a better place for people of every heritage.

Dr. Joy DeGruy, yesterday's keynote speaker, holds more degrees than a hot day in Pasadena. Her speech was funny and poignant. Most interesting to me, she challenged my assumptions and those of everyone else in the room, from the responses I heard. She spoke for about half an hour but I could have listened to her all day. If she writes like she talks then her book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Enduring Legacy of Injury and Healing, promises to be a hell of a read.

All thousand or so of us took a Racial Justice Pledge together yesterday morning. You can take it, too.

I believe that every person has worth as an individual.
I believe that every person is entitled to dignity and respect.
I believe that every thought and every act of prejudice of all kinds is harmful; if it is my thought or act, then it is harmful to me as well as to others.
Therefore, from this day forward I will strive daily to eliminate prejudice from my thoughts and actions.
I will discourage prejudice by others at every opportunity.
I will treat all people with dignity and respect; and will strive daily to honor this pledge, knowing that the world will be a better place because of my effort.

Other posts about the event: An Inch At A Time, Hometown Pasadena
If you see other posts about it, let me know and I'll link to them here.

If you think about this pledge, it's not an easy thing to do. But let's all take a good shot at it, shall we? And when we mess up, let's keep trying. That's what Marge Wyatt did, and she's succeeded in making the world a better place.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Zen Monday: #68

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 worth thinking about or, failing that, at least something odd or silly.

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. This time, frankly, I have no idea.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Plein Air

Plein air painting is a southern California tradition. (It's a tradition anywhere there's lush scenery and decent weather.)

To me, a plein air painter can be scenery, too. (Though it depends somewhat on the painter.)

I'm so glad to have a dog who needs walking.