Saturday, November 14, 2009

In My Dreams

Gee, those are clean dumpsters and wow, that alley is tidy. I guess you can keep your dumpsters and alleys polished when you have hired help.

I'd love to employ someone to do that for me, but first I'd hire someone to clean the house. Then I'd hire someone to do the laundry. Wait--no, I don't mind laundry, it's the cooking I don't like. So a house-cleaner, then a cook, then a laundry person, and that person would iron. (Am I the only one who still has clothes that need ironing?)

Oh! No, wait. I need someone to plant things--like landscape the yard. I also need someone to clean out the garage, which I wouldn't mind doing except I've got to clean out my office first. Oh, and I'd love to have a secretary, wouldn't that be great? Someone who'd call the phone company and pay bills and file things, take stuff to the dry cleaners and Goodwill and go to the grocery store...I guess that's more of a personal assistant than a secretary. That's a dream, isn't it? I'd love that. I might like that even more than having a cook. Maybe.

If I had all that staff in place I'd shine the trash cans and polish the driveway myself.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tranquil Weekend

I was looking for something spooky to post for Friday the 13th and I stopped at this one. Not spooky. Tranquil, in fact.

I'm facing south under the 210 freeway overpass, toward the Rose Bowl. It's tranquil except for the noise of rushing traffic above.

The photo suits my mood. I have a lot to do today but once it's over, a tranquil weekend promises to follow.

Have you got something good coming up? It's the calm before the holiday storm, you know. The bleachers are already going up for the parade.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


So John and I go to the Huntington Library and Gardens for our anniversary. I take my camera. John's patient while I practice a few shots. I'm learning about F stop and shutter speed and aperture, and frankly I'm still not sure which two of those are the same thing. But I can tell the above photo, taken in the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, is a little blown out, so I adjust a knob to make it darker.

This is better. I'm bracketing, meaning I'm trying a few different--speeds, I think. So I'll take some more because the LCD screen's small and I won't know for sure until I see them on the computer monitor. But I think--wait. What's that in the corner?

Damn. Some kid just ruined my shot.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Taste of France in the Dena

We in "the Dena" are one, I like to think. I'm free to travel from Alta to Pasa to South Pas, and thank goodness for that because South Pas has Nicole's Gourmet Foods. Laurie will forgive me for posting about it. She herself has posted twice about this slice of paradis in southern California. Who could resist a visit to, and a post about, a cafe whose website slips in a cheese guide with the usual menu, about page and directions?

Plus there were the chocolate cups. Which I resisted. I was there for coffee and coffee only.

It was this dumb idea I had, I don't know, don't ask me why. What was I thinking? My friends said, "Let's meet at Nicole's" and I thought, great, I'll have a latte and a visit and be on my way.

Then there were the chocolate cups. And the mango mousse macarons. Mango mousse. I kid you not.

Not the best photo, but I know my audience. It's not the photo that counts in this case. It's the macarons (not to be confused with macaroons).

I didn't taste them, or the chocolate. What a fool I am.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Eliot School: Room 13

At the door to Room 13 at Eliot School, Principal Peter Pannell told our tour group, "I don't know what we're going to find in here."

We found creativity in process, where the students were running their own show (or would be, as soon as school let out and they got back into the space). Room 13 is a unique, international arts program where the kids have to be entrepreneurial as well as creative because the program has to sustain itself. There are only two Room 13 chapters in the US, both in the LA area.

Local professional artists are welcome to mentor (hint hint). Or, if your talents don't swing in an artistic direction, you can help out with the wish list:
If I hadn't already been impressed with Eliot School, Room 13 would have done it. I love that combination of creative freedom and business acumen. I had an excellent arts education but I entered the adult world without any business training and I needed it, even back in the goodle days.

Many classes at Eliot combine disciplines and invite professionals from the community to participate. For example, we witnessed a fun program in the gymnasium led by pro dancers. One of the math teachers is developing a robotics class with the help of Caltech and JPL personnel; he was extremely enthusiastic and it was exciting to hear him talk about it. (His Caltech connection is filming a documentary about the program's development.)

Eliot School principal Peter Pannell answers parent questions in Room 13.

I could go on, but Room 13 is a good place to finish our tour of Eliot School. I enjoyed myself, and it made me wonder if other Pasadena and Altadena schools are just as interesting. They probably are. Many thanks to Principal Pannell for the tour, and to Susan Savitt Schwartz of PEN for inviting me.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Zen Monday: #71

For those who've been following the Eliot School tour I have another shot or two so we'll get back to it tomorrow. But Zen Monday is PDP tradition and we must have it.

Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what I think the photo's about. I also stay out of the comments box for most of the day, so as not to influence the discussion. I look for a photo worth contemplating or, failing that, at least something odd or silly.

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

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Eliot School: Polished

I'm not going to show you every picture I took at Eliot School. I took a lot. We'll take a Zen Monday break tomorrow then I'll show you a couple more favorites. But first I have to show you the cafeteria.

Lake Avenue historian Dale Trader tells me the architect of Eliot School was the one and only Sylvanus Marston. Although the Pacific Coast Architect Database lists every other project of his I can think of, it doesn't list Eliot School. Then again, PCAD is missing out--it doesn't list Eliot at all.

This cafeteria is polished to a shine. And kind of Dickensian, don't you think? I love it.

I love the institutional look, the basement-ness of it, the dim. It reminds me of the cafeteria in my junior high school, which made me feel like I was having my macaroni and cheese at the bottom of an empty swimming pool. I wonder how the current Eliot students feel about this room.

Principal Peter Pannell told us more than one movie has filmed in the cafeteria. (Eliot's often used for movies--a film crew was nosing about the premises that day.)

It was also in the cafeteria that Pannell told us he was an Eliot alum. His family had just moved to Altadena; he knew no one and the school "felt huge" to him. He had come from Detroit where he'd been going to a small, neighborhood school across the street from his home. Suddenly he was thrust into an institution that took up a whole city block and where all 1300 students were strangers. "I can tell you," he said, "the personal touch makes a difference."

Peter Pannell is a polished man, but that speech came unpolished, from the heart.

Loren of Hearken Creative tells us "most PUSD schools have tours similar to Elliot's; for instance, McKinley's is the first Wednesday of every month." Call the main office of the school that interests you to see if they offer a tour, or check with the Pasadena Education Network.