Saturday, September 11, 2010


I believe in our beautiful America.
I believe in the principles of
freedom of religion,
freedom of the press,
freedom of expression,
and the right of every citizen to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I believe it's every citizen's duty to take these freedoms seriously and use them wisely, without infringing upon the freedoms of others. I also believe that most Americans share my beliefs.

I believe in the duty of our government officials to uphold our Constitution. I believe our country is going through rough times, financially as well as ideologically. But if we look to these founding principles, to our freedoms and our duties, I believe we will find our answers.

Friday, September 10, 2010

No Way Arch

I've always had a thing about archways. I find the shape compelling in a way I find hard to describe. When I returned from England some years ago I had a collection of photos of archways--a small arch leads from one Oxford courtyard to another; the arch of a ruined cathedral wall frames the view over a grassy courtyard; an arched, wooden door shows scorch marks from fires of hundreds of years ago.

Through an archway my eye and imagination travel distances of time and miles. Kings stride under arched entryways, leading their armies into castle keeps. A door to a secret garden creaks open, then closes with a click. The souq spreads out beneath a Marrakesh window. Priests walk quietly in hidden cloisters then, as now.

I don't know where this small archway would lead if it could--an alley, a neighbor's yard, maybe a parking lot. Not that I care. It's fodder enough for thought.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Our house is in good shape for an 86-year-old. But bits of paint have peeled, so we're having some work done. I took this close-up of one of the shutters once the sanding and scraping began. I wonder if that screw is original.

On the windowsills and other trim, we discovered redwood under the paint. I don't think it's common to use redwood as a building material these days except in backyard decks. Briefly, before the primer went on, I enjoyed its rusty color. The redwood has aged; the painter filled great gouges made by sun, rain and time.

When it's all finished it'll be glossy. I admit I'm tempted to leave it looking just like this.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Door, 2

Many Pasadena doors are difficult to photograph because they're shaded by awnings, pergolas or little roofs. It's a necessary evil to protect the doors and people from summer's heat, which is fine for the selfish inhabitants but unfortunate for photographers trying to do a series about doors.

I have a fondness for this crazy door. Boz and I often pass it on our walks. I once spoke with the homeowners, a young couple fixing up a huge old house. I told them how much I like their door and the woman said it was just another thing on her list of tasks. Paint it, refinish it, replace it? She hadn't decided. When you have a big old house, you have a long list of tasks.

When John and I fixed up our first house we had a long list, too. I asked a friend, "What should we do first?" Her wise answer was, "You'll do the thing that bugs you the most."

I'm glad this door isn't bugging the young woman enough to make her get to it right away. I've photographed it many times but it's usually hidden in shadow. Recently I went by and the shadows were working with the door's patterns instead of against them. There. I have my shot.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Shiny Penny

Penny for Your Thoughts is my favorite shop in Pasadena. I've said it before: there's no other store like it. Vintage garden items, handmade clothes, old books, jewelry, china--plus coffee, food and free wifi--it's where you go to get a gift for someone who has everything, even if that someone is you.

When I stopped by the other day the store was in an uproar because they were getting new shelves. But I can always find a pretty vignette in this unusual shop. I'd blog about the place more often if I had more ready cash. I did spend some money this visit: got a couple of iron candle sconces for the garden. The thing I love about them besides their charm is that I'll be the only one in town who has them. You can't get anything like them at OSH.

Around the corner from Penny for Your Thoughts another delightful boutique was in a different kind of uproar. In fact, the shelves going into "Penny" came out of Motif, a beautiful gift store that's closing after several years of success. As she rang up my purchase, owner Stephanie Plumb Miller told me, "Nothing negative about this. It's all positive."

Penny for Your Thoughts is at 1365 N. Hill Ave., (626) 798-1631. Motif is at 1389 E. Washington Blvd. (The two stores share the parking lot behind.) Motif is selling off everything, including fixtures, at huge discounts. On September 3rd they had several items left, including Christmas decorations. Call first to see if they're still open, (626) 398-5038.

Update from Susan C, 9/7/10 3:25pm: "I drove by Motif today and the 'closed' sign is in the window."

Thanks, Susan.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Zen Monday: #111

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 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 discussion, which can be highbrow or lowbrow. You never know.

There's no right or wrong. We're here to have fun.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Back to the Sconeage

I know. It looks kind of like an ad.

It is, sort of. The Sconeage Bakery is one of my regular stops at the Saturday morning Farmers' Market at Victory Park because I am flat out addicted to that granola. When John comes with me he always gets a scone. He loves them in every flavor, partly because he's not picky but mostly because they're all good. And don't get me started about the cookies.

And Lionel (pronounced "Lee-o-NEL"), the owner of Sconeage, is from France. He has a French accent. He speaks French to those who speak French to him. Plus he's a nice guy. Plus his lovely daughter, who works the booth with him, is so over all that Frenchspeak.

I took all my photos yesterday at the market with the Canon 20D, which recently returned from being repaired. I'm having to learn to use it all over again. I took several shots of Dillon and Graeme, whom you may remember from last summer. They returned to the market yesterday to add a touch of class, playing their classical-contemporary fiddles with the mountains as their backdrop. (You can book the Dillon and Graeme violin duet for events; email scran7(at) The two are another year more handsome, more polished and more talented, but I'm sorry to say my photos are...not. I'm not working the camera well in bright sun and/or shadow yet.

The photo above came out okay. I emailed it to John and we messed with it on the iPad in an app called TiltShiftGenerator. Then he emailed it back to me and I uploaded it to the blog.

This stuff was probably easier in the days of darkroom.