Saturday, November 21, 2009

Autumn in Orange Heights

I snapped this just because the light's pretty. Sometimes that's all I need.

If you enlarge the photo you can see the stone pillar on the right and the stone wall at center. Both are typical of Craftsman architecture in Pasadena. In this case I'd guess the pillar at right (part of a gate) is a recent addition and the wall is original to the house. These stones (locally called "river rocks") are everywhere you turn around here.

I've got a busy weekend getting ready for more than one celebration this week. What's to celebrate? So, so much. It has been a hard year for many--including some of my loved ones. Some of it's been tough for me, too. But as a friend told me today, it's easy to look at what's going wrong; she finds it healthier to look at what's going right.

It's blessing-counting time. Can you look around yourself and find the good things? Once I start counting blessings I can't stop.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Drive-By

This isn't really a drive-by shot, silly. It's not safe to shoot photographs while driving. This is a park-by shot.

But I'm keeping up my (teeny tine-y) theme in support of the Put a Fork in Hunger food drive, which is coming up this weekend (details below). The drive was put together by The Fork Guys: Phil Coombes, Ken Marshal and Bob Stane.

Two of The Fork Guys, Ken and Bob, operate the Coffee Gallery Backstage. I shot this photo at the back side of the building. I figure it's appropriate, it's a back room. Plus I love that sign in the window.

The Coffee Gallery Backstage offers musical entertainment in the evenings. Check the website for what's coming up. It's an intimate cabaret, dressed up to look like a coffee bean warehouse. But the room doesn't sit idle during the day. "For a slight fee or absolutely free depending on the event," the Coffee Gallery Backstage is a meeting room, a community space of sorts. For me it's a cherished spot because I join there once a month with one of my favorite groups, at the combined meeting of the local chapters of the Alameda Writers Group and the Independent Writers of Southern California.

Thanks so much, Fork Guys.

Update Friday morning: just received this bulletin from Phil:
Due to major traffic and safety concerns, people dropping off non-perishable items for food drive MUST enter Bellefontaine off Fair Oaks and proceed West. We want this to be safe and successful with no danger of accidents or the city shutting us down.
BTW, we are in desperate need of volunteers for both days. Please call Phil or email him if you can assist on either day for shifts 8-11 or 11-2. His number is below.

Details of the Put a Fork in Hunger Food Drive to benefit Union Station Homeless Services:
Saturday and Sunday, November 21st and 22nd between 8am and 4pm, at the Fork in the Road where Pasadena and St. John Avenues meet south of Bellefontaine. Drive by slowly (see update, above) and hand your non-perishable food items to the volunteers in the bright orange t-shirts and holding outreach bags. The Fork guys are also looking for volunteers. For further information or to volunteer, contact Phil @ AgentPhil.com or call 626 644-3227.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Guerrilla Drive-By Donations

Update Friday morning: just received this bulletin from Phil:
Due to major traffic and safety concerns, people dropping off non-perishable items for food drive MUST enter Bellefontaine off Fair Oaks and proceed West. We want this to be safe and successful with no danger of accidents or the city shutting us down.
BTW, we are in desperate need of volunteers for both days. Please call Phil or email him if you can assist on either day for shifts 8-11 or 11-2. His number is at the end of this post.

In keeping with this week's developing theme (did you notice a theme developing?) of guerrilla art, here's a guerrilla drive-by photo, taken at dusk yesterday while I waited for the traffic light to change at Orange Grove and Lake.

I've long admired this building at 825 E. Orange Grove Blvd. I searched the web for architectural information but didn't find it. I want to say Myron Hunt because it has that early 20th century Pasadena charm. But I'm no expert. (It's next to this building. I like them both.)

I've also wondered what was housed in the building and now I know: it's the headquarters of Union Station Homeless Services, the charity that will benefit from your non-perishable food donation to the Put a Fork in Hunger food drive this weekend. Here's an undated web page with history and information about Union Station. Assuming this page is up-to-date, 825 E. Orange Grove Blvd. is also Union Station's Family Center, with an emergency center, facilities for meals, case management, parenting classes and childrens' programs accommodating 50 parents and children.

With the Put a Fork in Hunger food drive this weekend, the Fork guys are helping Union Station fill their food banks. Union Station not only holds a giant Thanksgiving dinner at Central Park, it feeds thousands of needy people throughout the year. I posted about the drive-by food drive yesterday and I might remind you again--using relevant, fun-filled and action-packed photos for your enjoyment, of course.

If you can add historical or architectural information in the comments, please-oh-please do.

(Update: See the comments: Thal Amathura of Avenue to the Sky and Darrel Cozen of Design and Historic Preservation came through with the answer: the architects are Bennett and Haskell. Google them and you'll recognize their buildings all over town.)

Details of the Put a Fork in Hunger Food Drive:
Saturday and Sunday, November 21st and 22nd between 8am and 4pm, at the Fork in the Road where Pasadena and St. John Avenues meet south of Bellefontaine. Drive by slowly and hand your non-perishable food items to the volunteers in the bright orange t-shirts and holding outreach bags. The Fork guys are also looking for volunteers. For further information or to volunteer, contact Phil @ AgentPhil.com or call 626 644-3227.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Put a Fork In It

Update Friday morning: just received this bulletin from Phil:
Due to major traffic and safety concerns, people dropping off non-perishable items for food drive MUST enter Bellefontaine off Fair Oaks and proceed West. We want this to be safe and successful with no danger of accidents or the city shutting us down.
BTW, we are in desperate need of volunteers for both days. Please call Phil or email him if you can assist on either day for shifts 8-11 or 11-2, Phil @ AgentPhil.com or call 626 644-3227.

Drive a little further south on St. John Avenue from yesterday's photo and you'll come to the Fork in the Road.

Today's photo was taken by Phil Coombes, pictured at right. I myself have avoided photographing the Fork.

This is not because I don't like the Fork. Hell, everyone likes the Fork. But everyone has also photographed the Fork, talked about the Fork, written articles about the Fork. (This is because Phil is some kind of genius publicist.) I figured I didn't need to add anything about the Fork. But now the Fork is about to be the location of Put the Fork in Hunger, "Pasadena's largest food drive ever," so I'm on the bandwagon. Um--plate.

Ken Marshal (the Fork's creator, whom you know from the Coffee Gallery Backstage), Bob Stane (formerly of the Ice House and now of the Coffee Gallery Backstage) and Phil Coombes, (local real estate broker, AgentPhil.com) are the oomph behind this project to benefit Pasadena's Union Station Homeless Services. Union Station puts on an annual Thanksgiving Dinner at Central Park. This year they're expecting 5,000 people, and I don't suppose it'll surprise you to hear their food banks are extremely low.

Ken, Bob and Phil are asking for your help. This Saturday and Sunday, November 21st and 22nd between 8am and 4pm, just drive by the Fork in the Road where Pasadena and St. John Avenues meet south of Bellefontaine. It's just south of Huntington Hospital (you'll want to stay in the left lane whether you take St. John heading south or Pasadena heading north). Drive by slowly and hand your non-perishable food items to the volunteers in the bright orange t-shirts and holding outreach bags.

(I don't know what an "outreach bag" is, either. Don't worry about it. I suspect it'll be obvious when you get there. It's not like there'll be people at the fork wearing bright orange t-shirts and holding a variety of bags to confuse you.)

Ken, Bob and Phil are also looking for volunteers to help on both days this weekend, "especially high school students looking to put in service hours." For further information or to volunteer, contact Phil @ AgentPhil.com or call 626 644-3227.

Right now my browser's napping so I'll give you more links tomorrow. I think you've got enough information for marking your calendar and for putting non-perishables on your grocery list. Wouldn't it be great if all of Pasadena turned out for this event? A traffic jam, yes, but a fun one.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

St. John Signs

I don't usually tip off Zen Monday until the following week but today I'm making an exception. Pascal Jim guessed right in yesterday's comments when he surmised there was another sign down the street.

Politics and grammar aside, your signs in yesterday's comments were more fun.

Bellis is a cagey one. She knew where we were but she didn't let the secret out. Thanks, Bellis. Let's tell it today: we're heading south on St. John Avenue. from California Blvd.

Along here, people have just hopped off the freeway and are still on their speed high, zipping by a city park and pretty, craftsman homes. Two side streets south of the park come to an end at St. John. I wonder if they ever went through? They're lined with shady, mansion grounds, quite nice and a little incongruous. It makes me very, very glad there's no 710 freeway in Pasadena.

Bellis is more than cagey, she's prescient. We'll continue south on St. John tomorrow to a photo I didn't take of that famous fork in the road. I want you to plan a trip to see it this weekend and tomorrow I'll tell you why.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Zen Monday: #72



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 15, 2009

AmyR, in Seventeen Days

Fellow Pasadena-area blogger AmyR is beyond busy this month. Besides hosting a dinner party last weekend and her mother this weekend and besides it being a busy time at work (which I learned from one of her posts) and besides operating two blogs, Amy is writing a novel.

Yes, she's writing a novel this month. November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, and Amy's participating. Her goal is to write 1667 words per day. Think that's a snap? Give it a shot.

I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo, but I know all about it. I'm participating in National Novel Writing Decade, which is totally different.

The aim of NaNoWriMo is not to complete a publishable novel in thirty days (bully for you if you can), but to get your first draft going. Just blurt it out onto the page or the screen, no stopping to edit. It doesn't have to be good--hell, it can't be, can it? The point is, maybe you've been saying for a long time that you have a novel in you and NaNoWriMo is your chance to get it out.

I'm cheering Amy on. I'm saying, you can do it! Spit out that book, my friend!

Amy took her mom to the Huntington yesterday. It was a cool day. The ginkgo trees in the zen garden are golden this time of year. I took the above photo in the zen garden last year at this time, when I came upon a group of young women kicking it up after a bridal shower in the tearoom. I don't know if this was bride or bridesmaid. I just know she was letting loose.

Something for Amy to do, perhaps on December 1st?