Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Market Itself

My old Nissan, fondly nicknamed "the Snot Comet" (don't ask), finally took a nose dive. I am between cars. This temporarily makes me and John a one-car family, which wouldn't be difficult anywhere but here in soCal.

I enjoy a good walk for local errands. We have the ARTS bus for getting around town if I need to go further afield. The Gold Line will be getting us to and from Azusa within a mere four years. (Of course most of my driving takes me in the other direction and public transportation takes a tad less than four years to get me where I need to go, but only a tad.)

John and I have been taking turns with the car. It's working out. (Good thing it's temporary.)


One thing I keep having to miss, schedule-wise, is the Saturday Farmer's Market. This is a horrible, terrible, dire problem. Grocery store fruits and vegetables are not the same. I don't care what store you get them from, they're not as good. We've managed without them, but we suffer. I am not managing, however, without granola from The Sconeage. Lionel's company makes such superb granola that I've become addicted to it. I am miserable without it.

My stash had run out. Last week I was craving my granola and lo and behold! Friend Bellis called from the Farmer's Market and offered to pick up four containers to tide me over! Bless her!

I still owe her five bucks.

Now that I've found The Sconeage website I realize I can order online, but that is beside the point.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Superfluous Detail: The Singer Building

When I need a dose of superfluity all I have to do is check out the almost unnoticed Singer Building on the southeast corner of Colorado Blvd. and Oakland Avenue.

Everett Phipps Babcock designed the Spanish Colonial Revival structure for the Singer Sewing Company. It was built in 1926 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The current main tenant is the Pasadena branch of Sofa U Love, which may not seem dignified at first glance but it's better than an empty landmark. Another furniture store that occupied the building went out of business not long ago, so I'm glad to see the sofa place there.

Colorful tiles line the street below the windows. Iron filigree decorates above. Then you have these "somewhat ornate" columns outside the front door. I even like the cracks and rust. It's gems like this that make Pasadena charming.

We do have ugly office buildings. I just don't often photograph them!

UPDATE 3/27: Further information thanks to Laurie Barlow, AIA: The Singer Corporation made/makes more than sewing machines. In the early days of the company, corporation presidents made lots of money and built incredible homes. Laurie says "On Saturday [today] there is a public sale of arts and antiques at the house [see "incredible homes" link]. In case anyone wants to go over and see the house and browse the arts and antiques."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pasadena Architectural Salvage

I love my house. Someday, however, I want to replace the front door. When I do that I won't want just any old door. I'll want an old door from Pasadena Architectural Salvage.

Every time I visit there's something new to be delighted by. I picture a wrought iron gate re-imagined as wall sculpture. I envision a pair of reclaimed columns in my garden with vines trailing down along their peeling paint. I wonder if those antique light fixtures would work in our kitchen or if the glass drawer pulls would spruce up our built-ins.

When I perused the website I discovered this sentence on the home page: "We welcome children and pets!" Boz likes architectural salvage. We have an outing planned.

The store will soon be moving to a new location. I got myself on the mailing list so I can let you know about it. When you visit, proprietor Gayle Stoner will answer your questions, but don't let her fool you. Kitty is in charge.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Yesterday's birthday didn't turn out like I thought it would. We picnicked at Vasquez Rocks Monday because I thought John had to work on Tuesday. I figured, on my actual birthday I'd do a little writing, have a nice walk with Boz and clean up the pile on my desk (forget it, that'll never happen).

Surprise! John took Tuesday off. I got a two-day birthday and the second day was entirely serendipitous. We had no idea where it would lead us but we started out hungry, so we headed to Green Street because I knew we'd find something there.

Restaurant 561. Of course. I've driven by many times and always wanted to try it. What a revelation. I don't know of anywhere else--anywhere else--where you can find this kind of dining for this kind of price. Everything was fabulous from soup to nuts--or in this case, from the amuse-bouche (compressed watermelon with...I think it was basil sauce with garlic chips but whatever it was, mmmmmm!) to the "roasted pine nut dust" on the chocolate mousse--and we got out of there for about thirty bucks with tip--which goes to a scholarship fund.

Restaurant 561, at 561 E. Green Street, is the teaching restaurant of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Los Angeles which has campuses in Hollywood and Pasadena. Click on the links to learn more.

As a patron I couldn't have been happier in any restaurant, teaching or not. This was delicious food, beautifully presented and served. Even the coffee was tops; John kept exclaiming about it.

I'm adding a photo because Susan C asked about the entrees.
Plus, why not?

Tomorrow I'll show you another place we visited on my birthday: one of Pasadena's most eclectic shops.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It Takes Years to Make One of These

Sometimes I need to let my lungs expand into wider spaces than city streets can hold, let my eyes rest on something other than what they see day in and day out, and give my ears some alone time.

Vasquez Rocks is named for Tiburcio Vasquez, a nineteenth-century outlaw who used the rocks as a hideout and even reportedly passed through Pasadena. The park was a good place for eyes and lungs and legs to go do something different yesterday.

John and I ate a picnic among the rocks, climbed into the wind and wore ourselves out.

Today's my birthday. I'm living the life I love. What good fortune I have to be grateful for!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Zen Monday: #88

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. There's no right or wrong. It means what you think it means, or what you want it to mean.

I look for a photo worth contemplating or, failing that, something odd or silly. And unless I absolutely must say something I stay out of the comments box to avoid influencing the intellectual path of the discussion, because when I get in there everything goes downhill.

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

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Primavera II

Apparently it's my tradition to post a photo of Timothy Rutt for the annual Primavera celebration. Tim is the brains behind Altadena's powerhouse Altadenablog, and Primavera is the San Gabriel Valley Blogger potluck Tim hosts along with Altadena Hiker Karin Bugge, Susan Carrier of Open Mouth Insert Fork and Cancer Banter, and Debbie Swanson Patrick of Altadena Above It All and Altadena Daily Photo. Thanks, you guys! We had a wonderful time.

I took this photo early, before things got crowded. Later on we had about 45 people, says Tim. Maybe we'll see more pictures of the picnic on their blogs. The food was great and the people were even better.

If you weren't there we missed you.