Saturday, October 2, 2010

Love Tag

I almost posted this photo for yesterday's "graffiti" theme day. I see this kid-sized blackboard on my walks in the neighborhood. I've even featured it before. The messages change, as you can imagine. This time I got permission from the homeowner to come onto the porch and get a close-up.

I resisted posting about graffiti yesterday--so much so, that when I did I used an old photo where the graffiti is off to the side in the picture. I don't want to encourage taggers. I don't want to spread gang messages.

As Margaret mentioned in yesterday's comments, "tagging and graffiti art are different things." As long as the owner of the "canvas" (i.e. wall, fence, or whatever's painted on) is fine with it, it's fine with me.

I do wish we, the City Daily Photo bloggers, would vote for more ambitious monthly themes. I'd like to see us challenge ourselves more.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Theme Day: Graffiti

Pasadena's good at cleaning graffiti when it happens. If you see graffiti and you want it removed, call the Pasadena's Graffiti Abatement Hotline at 626-744-7622 and the offending tag will be removed within 24 hours. Sounds like a tall order, but so far I've seen it work every time.

I took this photo two years ago. I'm pretty sure this graffiti's gone by now. Sure, a new tagger will come along. But the City's got more paint.

The City Daily Photo family is now 1286 blogs strong, and many member blogs around the world participate in theme days. Check them out here.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Inspired Gardening

I joke that my back yard is a desert. Actually, until recently that wasn't true. It was a field of weeds.

I've mentioned I want to plant a tree. I aspire to planting ground cover one day. But a garden, lush with native plants, populated with objets d'art and a shady pergola, that's--that's--well, I haven't thought that far ahead.

Last weekend I was visiting Kat Likkel, the owner of the fantasy garden pictured above, when the Pacific Horticultural Society tour came through (yes, they were expected). They came for ideas, learning and inspiration.

Mayita Dinos, the designer behind Kat's space and Pasadena's beloved Arlington Garden, spoke to the group about the garden's creation and told them (modestly, yet truthfully) that she didn't do it alone. She had the help of Horticulturist Shayne Naudi as well as that of Marco Barrantes of La Loma Development, who did the fountains and stone work. And of course Kat and her husband have added personal touches throughout the grounds. It's a group effort, a collaboration, an ensemble piece in which even the home's previous owner participates through the things he left behind.

Here's Kat (facing us), answering questions. (You've met Kat over at Pasadena, 91105 and Beyond.) That's Shayne Naudi on the right. Hats were necessary. The sun was on a rampage that day.

Kat says, "Sometimes I pinch myself because I think it can't be real that I stumbled into such a nest of super-talented people, and have ended up with the garden of my dreams. They've not only been the people who helped create the garden, they've become really good friends..."

The other day I finished weeding the back yard. There's nothing out there now but dirt. It's a blank canvas.

I am inspired.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Playhouse Elements

I'm not an insider when it comes to the Pasadena Playhouse or to Elements Kitchen, but I'm charmed by the sight of the Elements tables set up for lunch at the Playhouse Plaza on a hazy day.

The reviewers gush over the food at Elements Kitchen. (A better word might be "slobber.") I haven't eaten there, so I can't give you a personal recommendation, but one of these days I mean to do so (eat there and tell you about it).

I can't tell you what's going on with the Pasadena Playhouse, either. For a while it looked like this grand old institution wasn't going to make it through the recession. But they've got a fall season coming up and it looks interesting. Let's hope the reviewers gush, and use their napkins.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


A bench outside Eaton Canyon Nature Center

What could get me to a workshop at 9:00 on a Saturday morning when I have an appointment at 11:30, another one at 1:30, another one at 5:00 and another one at 7:00, and somewhere in there I have to make two pies?

A $50 compost bin.

Last Saturday morning I got up early for the City of Pasadena Public Works Composting Workshop at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center. Gabriel Silva and Mike Lara, two delightful guys who work extremely hard and love their jobs, led a casual workshop about composting. They even brought worms, so you can imagine how fun it was. I left knowing everything I need to know to get started. I don't even have to use worms if I don't want to, so I am totally down with composting.

You can spend as much as $500 on a fancy compost bin. You can spend a lot less for a crappy one, but if you live in the City of Pasadena you can get a pretty decent one from your city for $50
AND they will deliver it to your door
AND the bin actually costs the City $52 so this is a deal.

Compost bins are delivered Mondays and Wednesdays following the receipt of your check, which you make out to the City of Pasadena and mail to:

City of Pasadena
Public Works/Recycling
P.O. Box 7115
Pasadena, CA  91109

Include your street address so they know where to deliver the bin, and indicate the drop-off location you prefer (front porch, driveway, etc.). I suggest you also put in a note saying the check is for a compost bin, and ask them to bring you a copy of their nifty little booklet, Pasadena Recycling Resources, while they're at it.

The City wants you to compost because composting can diminish your contribution to the garbage dump by as much as one half. If enough of us do it, we can decrease the rate at which we fill our landfill. Composting cuts pollution and saves the City money. And you know who the City is--it is Us.

John asked me why I got so excited (I'm really excited) about my compost bin. Well, I do love a bargain, and it's not only the compost bin. It's FREE DIRT and I make it myself! It's not your, uh, garden variety dirt, either, but nutritious, black dirt that plants particularly enjoy. Let Rumpelstiltskin turn straw into gold. I'll make my gold from garbage.

Composting information:
Pasadena Public Works: 626-744-4721 or 626-744-4087.

UPDATE: for those interested, I just received email notice that a meeting of the Hahamongna Watershed Park Advisory Committee will take place tonight at 6:00PM at City Hall, in Training Room SO-18 (in the basement). For ADA accessibility, use ramps to access City Hall elevator. Metered street parking is free beginning at 6:00PM. Public comment is early on the agenda (limit your comments to 3 minutes), so be on time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Zen Monday: #114

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.

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

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pie Night '10

Pie Night was so crowded this year I couldn't get near the table to take a photo of the pies. Sure enough, as soon as I stepped outside to shoot through the window the crowd cleared. I wasn't getting much of a shot so I thought I'd go back in, then cherub here stepped up and made it into something for me. Judging from my posts, last night was my third Pie Night (and my second cherub).

Pie Night began eight years ago in Altadena when the Schwartzes decided to make good use of the pumpkins they'd grown in their garden. They whipped up some pies, invited a few neighbors and a tradition was born. Now a lot more people come, and because everyone brings a pie there are a lot more pies. The youngest Schwartz is proud to say they're the number one hit when you Google the words, "pie night."

Last night was balmy. The kids got hopped up on the sugar in the pies and ran a screaming game of tag in the dark. The adults got hopped up on sugar, too. I'll bet everyone slept well, for different reasons.