Saturday, May 8, 2010

Small Town Masters

I'm attracted by the weather-beaten sign at Masters Building Supply on Woodbury Road in Altadena. This is another of those places that doesn't have a web presence--unless you count Ace Hardware's website, which I don't. Masters may be an Ace affiliate, but it looks like a hometown Altadena business to me.

I don't mind a place that doesn't have a web presence. That says "small town" to me, and Altadena is a small town. (It's officially not even a town.) Parts of Pasadena have that feel, too. That's one of the reasons I like it here.

Have you been to Masters? What's your review? I found one five-star review of Masters on line, but there are two problems with it: one is that from the description I don't think the reviewer meant to give it five stars, and the other is that I'm not going to base my opinion on a single review.

Where do you go in the Pasadena area for hardware?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nothing Lasts Forever

Since September, 2009 we've been checking in at the same spot on the last day of every month to see if southern California actually has seasons. We've noted slight variations. "Subtle" isn't normally the word one uses when speaking of southern California, but it applies in certain situations. My plan is to keep taking photos at this spot through August, giving us one year of views.

I missed April 30th's Last Day post because I was in the throes of computer hell. But as I've returned to computer heaven I can catch up and post these two shots. The one above was taken May 4th. The grass (full of what the locals call nettles, my socks can attest) is high and dry.

I took the photo below yesterday, May 6th, with my iPhone. The mowers have come.
They have to mow. The grasses, pretty as they are, pose a fire danger.

At first I was angry to see my little tree mowed down. But I think it must have been an accident. It's not my tree, really. I miss it, though.

Update: 5/10/10--
the Pasadena City Council will NOT be discussing soccer fields at Hahamongna tonight, as originally planned. The issue is scheduled to be revisited at the Council's June 7th meeting.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Real Estate Primer

I read a lot of blogs (too many or not enough, I haven't decided). One I particularly enjoy is Pasadena Real Estate With Brigham Yen. Brigham is full of ideas and enthusiasm for a better Pasadena. He regularly posts about what's going on real estate-wise in town.

I took today's photo from a window in one of the offices of the Pasadena Professional Building at Union and Madison. This empty lot on Union St. is part of the Fuller Theological Seminary Campus. Here's a link to a view from the rooftop when the Herkimer Arms still stood there. That's City Hall in the background.

What's happening with the lot? As usual, Brigham has the scoop. When Fuller Theological Seminary removed the Greene & Greene-designed Herkimer Arms (not destroyed, thanks to preservation efforts, but relocated to Raymond just north of Maple), the Fuller Worship Center was supposed to go in. If you want to know why building hasn't begun, read Brigham's post. After all, it's his scoop.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Have you been to Celestino Ristorante at 141 S. Lake Avenue?

It looks romantic. They've got this front patio and another one in the rear courtyard. They've sheltered the one out back with a little forest of potted plants, but the courtyard is surrounded by offices. I prefer the less corporate street atmosphere for a romantic dinner. (I'll meet you out back for a business lunch.)

There's a dining room indoors, and the website has a virtual tour, but I couldn't get it to play. I couldn't manage to download the menu, either.

Not having been to Celestino I resorted to Yelp reviews until Mr. Earl corrected me in the comments. I won't be recommending Yelp anymore. My commenters, however, recommend Celestino.

But I'd rather hear yours.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Now it Has a Google Image

The web offers precious little information about the Pasadena Motor Inn. I learned more about it from the sign at the entrance to the parking lot.

weekly rates
over 80 tv channels
free!! wireless internet

In this age, how is one to know without web reviews if the Pasadena Motor Inn is a reputable establishment?

The colorful stripes light up at night. They give the place a singular bit of kitsch.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Zen Monday: #94

photo by Tony Minutelli

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. Unless I absolutely must say something I stay out of the comments box to avoid influencing the discussion because when I get in there everything goes down hill.

But something tells me today I may not be able to resist.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Then and Now: Merritt Gardens

Update: Please see the comments for corrections about this post.

A relative of Hulett C. Merritt emailed me after I posted about the Merrit Mansion last week. He was kind enough to send me clippings of obituaries and some lovely old post cards. Above, the sunken garden. Below, as it appears today.
To quote Mr. Merritt's relative:
"I was in Pasadena for a week in December 2008, the first time I had been back in nearly 25 years. I walked around both Hulett's mansion as well as Lewis' mansion [the nearby Tudor]. My great grandparents used to come out from the Midwest to spend the winter months in Pasadena back in the 1930s. To some degree, I found that parts of Pasadena still have that slow pace of life that attracted snow birds in previous times."

(If I've got it straight, Lewis was Hulett's father.)

The gentleman sent me even more great information which I'll save for another time. Perhaps we'll do a post about Lewis' mansion one of these days.