Saturday, January 15, 2011

Home Shopping: To the Rescue

John saw an article in the Pasadena Star-News about an unincorporated area of Pasadena called Michillinda Park. A group of neighbors there is trying to save a vintage Craftsman house. We decided to drive over and have a look.

Michillinda Park is a lovely, historic neighborhood where peacocks graze on the median. Too bad it's unincorporated because that means there's no historic preservation ordinance and anyone who has the money can buy one of these...

...and tear it down to put in one of these.

To better illustrate my point, here's a panorama John made of these two houses:
I recommend you click the panorama to enlarge it. It looks like the two houses aren't next to each other, but they are. The reason the McMansion on the right is so much brighter than the Craftsman on the left is that there are no trees in the McMansion front yard. I wonder why, when all the old houses on the block have mature trees in their yards.

Click on the photos in the Star-News article. The house the neighbors are trying to save is a beauty. And the only way to save it is to find a buyer within a week.

Plus I sure hope someone finds that rodwiller.

Update 2/25/11:
According to the Pasadena Star-News, the house will be moved instead of demolished. Not great. A McMansion will be built in its place.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Moving On

At a memorial service yesterday I saw a lot of people with whom I once worked. It's appropriate for the photo to be a little fuzzy, as I discovered my memory to be.

"Remember the time we all...?"

Not really.

"You were there when so and so..."

Was I?

It was nice to see them, or at least some of them, gathered in the name of someone we once knew and liked, even loved. Some people have moved further on than others, though moving on in space and time is not always the same as moving on in spirit.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chris Cleave

I was at Vroman's last night, obviously. I might not have gone had my brother not asked me to get a book signed for him. He likes this author, Chris Cleave. I hadn't heard of Cleave but I like my brother and plan B involved doing nothing, so I went.

Chris has two books out right now: Little Bee and Incendiary. He read from the latter and it sounds riveting. I haven't read his books (yet) so I can't recommend them, but the woman next to me in the signing line afterward told me that "Little Bee" was the only book everyone in her book club liked.

Cleave drew a good crowd, but not so huge that he couldn't take a moment to chat with everyone who had a book signed. I swore to myself I wasn't going to tell him I'm a writer. With two books published and a third one almost finished, what's he going to say to every wannabe writer he meets? "Good for you, that's very nice, good luck in everything you do"?

It slipped out, and while I was ruing my blabbermouth he asked me what stage I'd reached with my book. I murmured "uh, finished, working on synopsis, it's very hard, blah blah." He gave me suggestions for how to approach the synopsis and was so kind and encouraging (as opposed to condescending) that by the time I headed for the cash register I had forgotten I was supposed to be kicking myself.

I learned a couple of things: attending such events might be a good use of my time at this stage of my career, and being a nice guy sells books.

Because I hadn't planned to buy one for myself, but I did.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Inner Light

The Pasadena Presbyterian Church is at the corner of Colorado Blvd. and Madison Avenue, a prime Tournament of Roses Parade viewing spot. For the parade, the church had bleachers in its front yard. All along Colorado Blvd. every year, every space that can fit more than two super-deluxe adult derrieres gets bleachers.

I took the photo December 30th, two days before the parade. I like it, hate to waste it, so here it is. The cyclone fence is there to protect the church grounds from revelers. The revelers are not bad people, they don't come here to destroy, but there are just so many of them. So businesses along the parade route put up cyclone fencing or plywood to protect windows and landscaping from super-deluxe revelry.

We're facing south in this photo. The Pasadena sun is always in the southern part of the sky, and it hangs especially low in winter.

Here's another view of the church, taken from the roof of the Pasadena Professional Building at the north end of the same block. This part of the church is at the lower left of that photo.

Pasadena's quiet now. John and I went out last night and--without having to wait for it--got a table at a restaurant less than a block from Colorado Blvd. That's impossible between Christmas and New Year's Day, but a normal Pasadena Monday.

The post title: I like it, hate to waste it, so here it is. It may be relevant to the photo, but it has nothing to do with the prose.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Zen Monday: #128

Inspiration for the photo: Debra H.

It's Zen Monday, 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 I stay out of the comments box until the end of the day to avoid influencing the discussion, unless you all get out of con--nevermind.
You never get out of control.

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

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sandals of Yucca

Before 1769, California was populated by native tribes. A huge area, from Riverside County to the coast, including the southern Channel Islands and the San Gabriel Valley, was dominated by people we now call the Tongva, also known as the Gabrielino.

I've been reading up on the Tongva for a series of articles for South Pasadena Patch. The first article posted a few days ago; it's about Tongva life before the Spanish came to build Mission San Gabriel. An Altadena version of the same piece posted on Altadena Patch today. I hope you'll read one or the other (feel free to read both). Your comments are welcome. Even if you don't comment (I realize it takes time and effort), I hope you'll read and think, and perhaps seek out further information about our Native American predecessors.

I can hardly explore the Dena anymore without an awareness of the presence of those who lived here before me. This is part of the joy of a place. The more I know about its history the more deeply I experience it.