Saturday, February 26, 2011


Because it's Saturday I considered showing you pictures of outdoor activities like hiking and biking. But because we expect thundershowers all weekend, that would be cruel. And because I don't have a picture of someone reading by a fireplace in a cozy nook, here's a picture of petals from a Pink Cloud Flowering Cherry tree settling in a puddle. You follow my logic.

I know it's a Pink Cloud Flowering Cherry tree because that's what it said on the tag I found on one of the trees lining Palm Terrace. You'd think palm trees would line Palm Terrace and you'd be right. But so do Pink Cloud Flowering Cherry trees. Now's the time to see them, if the rain doesn't knock all the petals into the snow.

The weather reports say it's possible we'll have snow in elevations as low as 500 ft today. That's about the elevation of my front yard. It's been about 62 years since the last time that happened, which was not only before I moved here but before I was born. The only snow I've seen in ages has been the snow on the mountains. Pretty, but not exactly touchable from my place.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Props for Peeps

Local folk have heard Steve Scauzillo's name. He's the opinions editor of the San Gabriel Valley Newspapers. Now his name is being heard nationally because yesterday he accepted the Aldo Leopold Award for Distinguished Editorial Writing.

According to Editor and Publisher, The Wilderness Society presents the award every year "to an editorial writer who has produced editorials that strongly advocate protection of America's remaining wildlands." We'll pardon their redundancy; the award went to Steve after all.

Steve is a local treasure, a CDP blogger at Temple City Daily Photo, a teacher, an outstanding journalist and a friend. Congratulations, Steve.

Another local treasure is Denis Callet. You might have seen Gary Altadena's piece about Denis on Altadenablog. Denis comes to mind whenever I try to photograph a bird. His superb photos of birds at Hahamongna make me think I'll just stick with clouds and the occasional telephone pole.

Thanks, both of you. You are fab guys and I'm a fan of your works.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Botanica San Antonio

photo by John Sandel

It was closed when we went for Slaw Dogs the other night. But Botanica San Antonio looks inviting, even if the world it's inviting you to is a little sideways to your own.

Check out the 5-star Yelp reviews. If you go, you don't have to tell me the details of your reading but you have to tell me everything else.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guest Author: Des Zamorano and "Human Cargo"

I'm excited to host my first local writer guest post! Please welcome Des Zamorano, an Altadena author who has just published an engrossing detective mystery set in familiar surroundings.

Isn’t it fascinating, that while even from childhood we viscerally know life isn’t fair, we still crave justice? We want a  world where good triumphs jubilantly, and evil, instead of building philanthropic foundations to cover up its crimes, actually withers, dies and rots.

That, in any case, is part of the reason I love mysteries. I’ve loved them since a friend of mine introduced me to the works of Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler, and I’m always looking for contemporary favorites, like Naomi Hirahara, Craig Johnson, and Gillian Flynn.

My protagonist, Inez Leon, a private investigator, kicked down my door  one writing morning, and refused to go away. I told her to beat it, I had a great American novel to write, filled with languorous language and sensuous subtlety. She rolled her eyes at me and sat down, then began pacing while I worked. Losing all patience, she rapped her Beretta on my desk and said, “My story’s the kind you actually read. And it’s all about right where you live, the nooks and corners you’ve never even visited.” I scowled, listened, and began writing it all down.

Human Cargo is the latest story she’s told me.  She has a knack for noticing things other people miss.

(Human Cargo is an e-book. If you can read this post, you can download it.) 

Do you have a suggestion for a local writer guest post? Are you a local (SGV), published writer/author/journalist? Email me. I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Once upon a time you learned a profession, you got a job, you worked hard at that career and you retired with a pension at the age of 65.


And I do mean, "the end." It's the end of that kind of career. The internet and the recession have radically changed the workplace and we have to change with it. We will have several careers in our lives. Many people who've been laid off or downsized (same, insidious thing) have turned to entrepreneurship or small business ownership. Many of us come from a background of working for companies that had departments for accounting, planning, marketing, IT, acquisitions. Now we run all the departments. At least I do.

Did our 20th century educations prepare us for the 21st century work force?

You may remember last year I participated in a Business Builders' Boot Camp. I loved it and promised to let you know if there was another. Now the same people who ran Boot Camp are holding a two-day strategic planning retreat March 4th and 5th at the Historic Blinn House, home of the Women's City Club of Pasadena (pictured above). Men are most welcome, by the way.

The retreat is called Re:Launch, as in relaunch your business. Donna Chaney, of Chaney Financial Services (my one and only advertiser!) and Lilli Cloud, marketing and personal branding expert at bluefeet, are the warmest, most engaging business aces you will ever have the pleasure of learning from. And for their Friday lunch speaker they've got Karen E. Klein, the Smart Answers Columnist from Bloomberg  BusinessWeek, Q&A Columnist of the LA Times Business section and all-around business brainiac.

You can waste time and money figuring this stuff out as you go, or you can learn it all at Re:Launch. For more information, click the links. Or contact Lilli Cloud at 323-466-3518 or lcloud (at)

I think I'm in the wrong career. I should be writing ad copy.

Tomorrow: I'm excited to host Pasadena Daily Photo's first ever guest post! Stop by and meet Altadena author Des Zamorano.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Zen Monday: #134

I don't write much blog copy on Zen Monday, because on Mondays I pretend I am a Zen Master.

Please experience the photo and tell us, in the comments, what you've learned.

(Your first Zen Monday? Tell us what the photo makes you think of. There's no right or wrong. There are no prizes. Just have fun.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

End of the Gallery at the End

You already know the Gallery at the End of the World is closed. But did you know Ben McGinty is selling the gallery's furnishings? Since the Gallery at the End of the World has always been unusual, the furnishings are a little eclectic as well. You never know when you might need a miniature painted shovel, an old diner counter or a disco ball.

The sale continues today from 9am to 3pm. Next weekend, Ben says he might cut some deals on Saturday (again, 9-3). Then Sunday, 2/27 is blow-out day, when he'll slash prices on what's left. There will be a final, farewell "art bender" barbecue in the cleared-out space on March 26th.

The Gallery at the End of the World has long been the spot for artists to show their work in Altadena. It's a completely unusual, funky space and I know everyone's going to miss it. But don't worry about Ben. He told me he's going to have a break; he's working on other things, other irons, other fires.