Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hat People

Last night I went to the Pasadena Museum of History to see the hats.

There was a reception for the Mad for Hats exhibit. Patt Morrison of KPCC was there; she spoke to the crowd and was brilliant as usual (off the cuff!). And everyone was wearing a hat. You don't see a crowd like that every day.

Can I be honest here? I have one hat. It's a straw bowler (boater). I don't know where I got it. (Actually, I have a stocking cap for winter, but I wasn't about to wear that to a fancy reception.) But I'm not a hat person. I didn't think I was interested in this exhibit. I went because my neighbor Linda invited me, and because I made her promise we didn't have to stay long.

But I had fun. I got into it. I love the Pasadena Museum of History, and the hats in the exhibit are gorgeous. It was like being in the most perfect hat store and wanting every other hat on display. The only trouble was I wasn't allowed to try them on.

I left there thinking of something Patt Morrison said: "It's time for hats to come back."

Damn. I might be a hat person after all.

Update April 25, 2011: Due to popular demand, the Mad for Hats exhibit will remain on view through Sunday, September 25, 2011.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Aquatic Creatures

Remember the Last Day Project? Once a month for a year, I posted a photo taken from this spot, to catch the changing of the seasons. Never once did I catch anything like this. Go ahead, click the link and scroll down. The difference is amazing.

Johnson Field's been soggy lately, but in my five and a half years in Pasadena I've never seen it flooded. And look! Ducks! I may declare tomorrow and Sunday "Duck Weekend" and post more photos of them.

Hahamongna was glorious, wet and chilly yesterday morning, just the way the ducks like it. By the way, dogs like it that way, too. Maybe I'll make it "Dog Weekend." I can't decide.

Either way, we expect more rain today and tomorrow. By Sunday, we'll probably have manta rays and sharks out there.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Tired from my birthday! I ate a lot. Wore me out.

These days, I don't need a party. All I need is my family of John, Boz and me, cozy in our living room.

And computers: one for John and one for me. A bone for Boz. (Addicts, all.)

And books. And crossword puzzles. And tissues to blow my nose on. And plumbing, of course. I feel like we need plumbing. Electricity, too.

But that's all. Except lunch and dinner. And bed. Stop me now, I shouldn't have started.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Self Portrait

It's my birthday, so a little self-reflection is in order.

This isn't a "big one," though they do tend to get bigger as they go. But it's as good a time as any to check in with myself and see how I'm doing:

Never as well as I mean to.
Always better than I could be doing, I suppose.

If I compare my real self to my ideal self, I'll never be satisfied, so I'd best leave that alone. I try not to compare myself to other people because someone, somewhere, said that wasn't nice. But in my not-so-nice/a.k.a. normal human moments I know I do better than some people. I do worse than others.

Maybe comparisons aren't a good idea. Maybe they're irrelevant.

The question is, am I happy? The answer is, yes. Grateful? Yes, yes, yes.

Speaking of which, John turned me on to this song.

I know you guys and you're all going to say lovely things (okay, most a few of you are going to say lovely things) and wish me a happy birthday. Thank you! Please tell us, also, how you reflect on yourself, when you self-reflect.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Guest Author: Victoria Patterson and "This Vacant Paradise"

Today I'm honored to host guest author Victoria Patterson, the South Pasadena writer whose novel, This Vacant Paradise, was published March 4th. Victoria will be appearing at Vroman's this Thursday, March 24th at 7pm.

For the most part, my fiction takes place in Newport Beach, but I live and write in South Pasadena. A tour of the places in South Pasadena (and surrounding areas) where I’ve written, and where my story collection, Drift, and my novel, This Vacant Paradise, came to life, would take quite some time, especially considering the seventeen years we’ve lived in South Pasadena. 
For years I worked at the South Pasadena Library (and I still do at times).  I’ve staked out every quiet and isolated work area at S. Pasadena Library, my favorite being the upstairs conference room, although that didn’t last long, considering there was just solitary me. The downstairs partitioned workspace desks near the teen section are great—while said teens are at school—except during “Storytime”(which I used to take my kids to), when the massive avalanche of toddlers’ feet boom from overhead.

Buster’s Coffee on the corner of Meridian and Mission was a mainstay, though ultimately I knew too many people, and would end up visiting and talking rather than working.

For close to three years, I worked at the coffee shop at Vroman’s, and I actually wrote an essay about it.

Pasadena Library, check. Starbucks, check.

For a long time, I worked at Caltech library, on one of the upper floors, with its spectacular view of the mountains. But then it was discovered that a Hummer-graffiti-terrorist civilian was also taking advantage of the library, and Caltech became understandably more restrictive.

This is a small sampling—I could go on and on, because South Pasadena (and Pasadena, San Marino, Alhambra, Sierra Madre) is home to my writing, even if the writing takes place elsewhere. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Zen Monday: #138

On Zen Monday, we experience the photo and share, in the comments, what we've learned.

Well, I don't. You hear from me all week. Monday is your turn.

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

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Doggie Tranq

Somebody's been getting all his sleeping done during the day.

At night he's up--tick-tick-ticking from room to room, tapping out his nighttime nerves on the floorboards until one of us comes to calm him, pet him, talk him to sleep.

Experts are consulted. Advanced technologies are researched. Wallets are opened and emptied. Tired humans are wrapped around little doggie toes.

This trend must be reversed.

In the meantime, who needs a rose window when life is heaven?