Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 23rd

It's Shakespeare's birthday. I thought I should say "Happy Birthday, Will!" seeing as we--okay, I--so ill-used him on the blog merely a week ago.

It's also St. George's Day in the United Kingdom. From what I understand it's not exactly a big deal on that precious stone set in the silver sea, but it makes a good excuse to go to the pub. Luckily, this year the day of St. George (who wasn't British and never set foot on the sceptred isle) falls on a Saturday, because the day of Britain's patron saint is not a holiday. But Happy St. George's Day to our British friends nonetheless.

I didn't have any pictures of dragons, or knights, or even pubs for that matter. But I'm a sucker for an archway.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I walked out onto the Colorado Street Bridge yesterday to see a memorial. I had driven by earlier and seen flowers and balloons, so I went back on foot. Knowing someone had jumped from the bridge on April 12th, I thought it might be a tribute for him.

But now I don't know. Near where the balloons had become stuck in the cement columns, someone had taped a piece of paper. On the paper were photos of a young man who jumped a year ago, and a poem, and words of love and sorrow.

I took pictures of the memorial, or memorials. Then I sat for a while looking out over the Arroyo.

I decided not to post the pictures. But you could go and spend a few moments with this small tribute.

Thursday, April 21, 2011


My life was profoundly changed when a friend brought me a bag of the famous Sea Salt Caramels from the Little Flower Candy Company. You may already know you can find a jaw-dropping variety of handmade candies there. But did you also know you can sit inside the charming shop and sip a cup of coffee or tea while you eat homemade soup or (and) a tasty tartine?

Now you know, and now you have a new favorite spot. Isn't that convenient? Just in time for the second biggest candy weekend of the year. (Do remember them come Halloween.)

I'll be going back soon. There were some marshmallow things that looked like ice cream bars and I haven't been able to sleep since I saw them.

Speaking of sweets: every so often, Postie checks in here From the Sidelines. In fact, one day he clicked the "follow" button and won a t-shirt. Here he is, modeling his prize. Thanks, Postie!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Gamble House

photo of the Gamble House pond by John Sandel

Oh, gush gush gush.

After nearly six years of Pasadena living, John and I finally visited a Pasadena icon--thanks to the generous invitation of the Public Relations Manager at the Gamble House. We loved it. Our tour was so interesting I want to go back again and again.

In case you don't know, the 1908 Gamble House is one of America's finest examples of Arts and Crafts architecture and the crowning achievement of Pasadena architects Charles and Henry Greene. I especially loved how much of it (a lot) is intact. With the exception of the velvet ropes that keep one from bumbling about, catching one's heels on rare Persian rugs and knocking over the Steuben glass, the home is furnished as it might have been 100 years ago, with many original pieces. 15 watt bulbs glow softly in the custom light fixtures, thanks to the original wiring. It's dim! I guess in those days people had to depend on sunlight coming through the custom-made stained glass windows.

photo of the eaves by John Sandel

Thank goodness John came with me. His photos are inspired. Mine--enh. Some days you have it and some days you don't. But don't tell that to Greene and Greene. Real artists create whether they're inspired or not. That's how you make it your life's work.

The architects designed not only the home but every detail from light switches to furniture, with thematic motifs running through chair backs, window glass and mantelpieces. Even the piano was custom made.

I could go into further detail about the details, or you could take a tour of the Gamble House and stand in that famous foyer yourself while you learn things like:
Why is it called the Gamble House?
Who built the items that Greene & Greene designed?
Is there a ghost?
How old is that creeping fig out front?
Who owns the house now?
Who lives there? (Someone does!)

For information about tours, call the Gamble House at 626-793-3334. You can take a general tour like the one we took, or find out about more detailed tours. Check the website.

Then let us know what you thought. If you like Pasadena history, I think you will gush gush gush.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Here, Right Here

L.A. CO. F.D. Camp 2
To our brothers Art Ruezga and Chris Herman
who will always live in
our hearts and never be forgotten
August 20th 1993

Two firefighters died in the Glen Allen Fire on August 20th, 1993, in the steep canyon beneath the Altadena Crest Trail. Their colleagues are quoted in this LA Times article.

This memorial stands alongside the trail. If you look carefully, you can see a second cross in the canyon below where you're walking. The memorial is a heart-catching sight. It punctures the solitude hiking can create and makes you realize you're not alone.

The plaque (quoted above) doesn't lie; a couple of those fire station caps on the cross are brand new.

Sure, people have died here. People have died everywhere, we just don't always think about it. That's what a memorial is for.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Zen Monday: #142

It's the day you experience the photo and share in the comments what you've learned. We call it Zen Monday.

Is this your first Zen Monday? Tell us what comes to mind--what the photo makes you think of or how it makes you feel. It might be helpful to click on the photo to enlarge it.

There's no right or wrong, no secret, no prize. Just have fun.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Moving On

Before everything dries up, I want you to remember Pasadena's not always a desert. We do get moisty things here. We do get sylvan things, faerie things. In the heat of summer, when everything's the color of straw and it feels like if you light a match the very dirt will catch fire, think back: remember the rain that wouldn't stop; remember the clouds that rolled across the mountains to reveal snowy peaks; remember how depressed your pets were and how many umbrellas you went through and all the green, green green that resulted from the storms.

Remember how glorious our winter was this year, and don't forget to enjoy our beautiful summer.

Are we going to have spring, or are we just going to plunge right in?