Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Lantern in a Tree Works for Me

Sometimes, reality can be a drag. Even when it's not awful it can be a little dull. That's why people love romantic movies, read sci-fi, dig the occult. We crave magic in our lives.

I say we should have as much magic as we want. (Probably not while we're driving--reality comes in handy when you're operating heavy machinery.) But surely at home. Candles at dinner. A fire in the fireplace. Twinkling lights in the garden. Whatever works.

So I'll ask the question: what works? What's magic for you?

Friday, November 19, 2010

PDP/PPM Books Contest, week 5

Hey! I've just found out that my newest piece is up at South Pasadena Patch. It's a short history of the Cawston Ostrich Farm, one of the most unusual places ever. I loved finding out about it, and searching out traces of where it once stood.

Now, on to today's important business, about a fascinating place that is very much still standing: What famous San Marino institution just received a $100 million gift?

That's this week's contest question, and in that sentence there's enough information to Google the answer. You might also recognize the institution in today's photo.

Why are we having a contest, you ask? Because it's the holiday season and you need books to give as presents. Because Colleen Dunn Bates, publisher at Prospect Park Media, gave me books to give to you as presents. Because why not?

Here's how we do it:

1. Email the contest question answer to me. There's a link to my email in my profile at the upper left. You have until midnight tonight, Pasadena (Pacific) time. Answers received after that time will be discarded (I got two late ones last week.) Answers in the comments section will be rudely ignored.

2. That's all you have to do.

3. Tomorrow I'll ask--well, whomever's wandering around my neighborhood, to draw the winning name from a hat. I'll announce the winner in Sunday's post.

Today I'm giving away my last copy of Hometown Pasadena 2009-2010.
Next week we're going to give away my one and only copy of Prospect Park Media's first foray into novel publishing, Helen of Pasadena by our very own local Satellite Sister, Lian Dolan. Whet your Helen appetite by reading chapter one here and check out Lian's list of appearances here. Go get her to sign your book!

More giveaways after that, believe it or not, because we have a copy of At Home Pasadena, the lovely, hardcover coffee table book about beautiful living in our beautiful town.

Big thanks to Colleen, Lian and everyone at Prospect Park Media!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


After 1,052 days of blogging (or you might like to think of it as 90,892,800 seconds) you'd think I'd run out of things to say.

I do. Often. And not always on Zen Mondays. Sometimes I run out of things to say on Thursdays.

Boz will be pleased at this turn of events because it means I won't chatter at him all day. (It's not talking to myself, it's talking to my dog. There's a difference.) Perhaps a good walk somewhere beautiful will get the words flowing again. (For me, not for Boz. His English is good, but limited.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Have a Nice Day

Sometimes you have a rotten day. Maybe you get a late start. Then traffic sucks and you get to work (late) and everyone's in a lousy mood. Someone calls with bad news. Your boss isn't speaking to you.

It's not even time for your coffee break and you're already creating a list in your head--a litany of the day's woes to recite to your friend or your spouse as soon as you get the chance at the end of the day. And when that finally comes, you're beaten down.

We all have a right to our litanies. But these are the times when it's wise to count our blessings rather than our troubles. Somebody somewhere has it worse today than I do and that's always going to be true. So I'm sending my thoughts to that person--to those people--and hoping more blessings get added to their lists.

How's your day going?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Glory Days

Not a beautiful photo, but quintessential November in Pasadena.

We're on Orange Grove Avenue at Green Street, facing northeast. The stands are going up for the Rose Parade on Orange Grove Avenue from Green St. to Colorado Blvd. You can see the Norton Simon Museum if you look behind the stands across the Elks Lodge parking lot. In the foreground is a cast/crew directions marker for a TV shoot (we see those year 'round and we welcome them).

Beyond it all: the San Gabriel Mountains and that autumn light, coming in low and gold.

And then there's some old bushy tree. I wanted to get rid of it by retouching, but my program just makes it look like I'm trying to hide something.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Zen Monday: #120

Welcome to Zen Monday. It's 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 until the end of the day to avoid influencing the discussion.

There's no right or wrong, although some critters may disagree.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Devil's Mirror

Congratulations to Mister Earl! He's this week's winner of the PDP/PPM Books Contest. Like everyone else who entered, Mister Earl guessed correctly the answer to Friday's question: Benjamin Eaton named the Devil's Gorge.

Thanks to the generosity of Prospect Park Media, Mister Earl wins a brand spankin' new copy of Hometown Pasadena 2009-2010, the definitive guide to the San Gabriel Valley.

Benjamin Eaton was an early settler in our area and he was so much more; his genius for transporting water made it possible for settlement in the Dena. The first two sections of the History section of Wikipedia's Altadena article tell you more.

You'll forgive me one more shot of Ben Eaton's devil, I hope. (I hate to waste a good hike.) Here we are, standing across from where I took yesterday's shot, viewing the devil rock formation reflected in the water. In recent years this stream bed has been dry much of the year but we've already had rain this fall--early for us, but welcome.

I wonder if the devil ever looks at his reflection, contemplates his existence, considers his sins? Not that I believe in the devil. If I did, I'd be looking up his nose.