Saturday, July 10, 2010

Plate 38

I'm not one to stand in line for the opening of a movie. I won't camp out to be the first to buy the latest product from Apple. I figure if these things are any good, they'll be around for a while and I can take advantage of them when sanity sets in and the crowds die down.

This was my thinking about Plate 38. As interested as I was in this new Pasadena restaurant, I wasn't in any hurry to get over there. But my usual method of operations didn't work for me this time. Just days after opening, a serious fire closed the place yesterday.

The location, on the northeast corner of Colorado Blvd. and Sierra Madre, had long been empty. (The window signs promising coffee taunted me cruelly.) The new owners put a lot of work into the place and took their time to make it right. I was willing to wait and I was glad when I heard they'd opened. I figured I'd get over there sooner or later.

Well, later. Robert Humphreys, the chef and owner, is quoted in the Pasadena Star-News saying he's not sure when he'll be ready to open the place again. Not soon. Maybe October. I wish him and his staff all the best.

Next time, I'll wait in line.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Bridge is Back

Do I recall we didn't have the Colorado Street Bridge party last year? Sure enough. The 2009 event was canceled due to budget cuts. Well, hallelujah! It's back.

Food, music, food, people, fun for kids and more food all begin at 6pm on Saturday night--that's tomorrow, July 10th. Discounted advance tickets are available until 5pm today. Sponsored by Pasadena Heritage, the party is a unique opportunity to hang out on the bridge without traffic--auto traffic, that is. There will be plenty of people traffic, I guarantee. And the extra information link at the bottom of the event page warns of other traffic as well: there's a soccer game at the Rose Bowl tomorrow night (what a great place for a soccer game!), so be forewarned.

Have a good time and take pictures!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thank You

As Bellis said, it was "like Christmas."

Thank you, Barbara Ellis (aka Bellis), Karin Bugge (aka Altadena Hiker) and Michael Coppess (aka East of Allen) for helping create a terrific groundswell yesterday, a blogging extravaganza to express our communal desire to keep soccer fields out of Hahamongna Watershed Park.

And thank you, Pasadena/Altadena blogging community, for teaming up to make a powerful statement.

When I spoke with Janette Williams of the Pasadena Star-News for her story about our efforts she asked me, in so many words, how one rallies a bunch of disparate bloggers in this world of online snark. I told her I've heard of snarky blogging but that's not my community. San Gabriel Valley Bloggers like each other. We tend not to go that route.

We bloggers don't always agree, we don't vote the same way, we don't care about the same stuff. But we're nice to each other.

Not everyone we invited to participate in yesterday's event responded to the call. Chances are those people want soccer fields at Hahamongna and it's their right to feel that way. But they didn't sabotage, send nasty messages or shout us down. (And blogs we didn't even think of added great posts to the mix.)

So thank you. We were heard on many levels. We made a statement about Hahamongna, and about community. People can work together. People can be nice to each other. At a time when hatespeak has become the vernacular of politics and TV news, I'm proud to say I hang with a crowd that doesn't speak that language.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hahamongna Blog Day

Counselors from Tom Sawyer Camp set up a learning center on the shore of a natural lake at Hahamongna Watershed Park (click to enlarge).

This Monday, July 12th, Pasadena's City Council will discuss and probably decide once and for all whether or not to build soccer fields in Hahamongna Watershed Park.

One field is planned for the location pictured above. This natural lake fills with the spring floods, then slowly dries out in summer. It provides habitat for coyotes, bobcats, ducks, swallows, rabbits, ground squirrels, toads, egrets and herons. These are the animals I've observed there.

Soccer is more popular than ever before. Yet the City Council recently voted millions in budget cuts, affecting salaries and city services. Caught between this rock and that hard place, what's the City Council to do?

We have alternatives. Vacant lots and little-used playing fields all over town lie waiting to be repurposed. There's no need to spend millions during a recession to fill in a lake and build unsustainable soccer fields in a flood plain when we have access to other, more appropriate land.

In almost every issue of Pasadena In Focus, the city's useful and effective newsletter to citizens, we're urged to reuse and recycle. Repurposing unused lots is recycling on a grand scale. Let's use land that's already flat, already outside the flood plain and all ready to be played on, to make financially and environmentally sustainable soccer fields for Pasadena.

If you'd like to email your council member, you can do so here. And thank you.

Today several bloggers have teamed up to talk about why we think Hahamongna Watershed Park isn't the place for athletic fields. Please visit all the blogs (and one website!) participating in Hahamongna Blog Day:
Altadena Above It All
Altadena Hiker
Arroyo Lover
A Thinking Stomach
Avenue to the Sky
East of Allen
Finnegan Begin Again
Go Deep...Find Truth
Greensward Civitas
LA Creek Freak
Mister Earl's Musings
My Life With Tommy
Pasadena 91105 and Beyond
Pasadena Adjacent
Pasadena Latina
Temple City Daily Photo
The Sky Is Big In Pasadena
Webster's Fine Stationers Web Log
West Coast Grrlie Blather

My thanks to Barbara Ellis and Karin Bugge for helping put Hahamongna Blog Day together.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


John and I are a little in love with the light in our house, especially at the day's extremes. Sometimes, around sunset, I'll catch him standing still, head cocked as though he's listening for something. But I know better. He's watching the light work its magic. I do the same thing.

If you peeked in our windows in the early morning or late day you might see one of us with a camera, following the sunlight around as though it were a butterfly and the camera a net, attempting to catch light as it flits from faucet to hinge to windowsill.

photo by John Sandel

Of course the light has been here longer than the house's 85 years. These old doorknobs aren't old after all. Amazing, really, that something so fleeting as light comes all the way across the solar system and finds its way through our windows to touch these inconsequential things.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Zen Monday: #102

Welcome to Zen Monday. In case this is your first: 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. We're here to have fun.

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 downhill.
Or comes to a complete halt at the curb, as the case may be.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Amber Waves

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

America the Beautiful, the 1895 poem by Katherine Lee Bates set to music by Samuel Ward, has several more verses. (Read that first link if you want to know why the poem was originally entitled "Pike's Peak.")

For all its flowery drama, I think it's a beautiful song no matter how you sing it (and some ways are more interesting than others).

Happy Independence Day.