Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tight Life

I rarely post night shots--not because I don't like them, but because I don't get out much. Time for a change.

I don't know about you, but lately I'm tight-fisted with my time and my money. These days we're all working hard and not taking much time off. Even then we don't spend much. I don't know about you, but I'm saving up for the next recession.

Sometimes, though, you've got to take your battered psyche out to happy hour. Yes, a glass of Two Buck Chuck poured by your own tight fist at home is cheaper than a glass poured by a server in a downtown bistro, but you're paying for elegance, leisure, and the festive feeling of being out with your friends and their psyches. And don't forget the server has a recession to pay for, too.

Doesn't tonight seem like the time? The weather's balmy, the summer's new. A glass of wine at a balcony cafe and a stroll through Old Town, or along South Lake Avenue (for ice cream) would be an indulgent, healing way to waste an hour or two, perhaps with fists unclenched long enough to hold hands.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Don't They Have to Pick Up the Horse Poo?

The other day I posted a photo of Boz at a Hollywood cafe, contemplating a pair of LA's mounted police. In comments, Laura mentioned the volunteer mounted patrol that assists the mountain rescue unit in Altadena, adding that there was once a mounted patrol in Old Town Pasadena, too. Old Town gets so crowded now; maybe that's why we don't see horses there anymore. Unless you've seen them?

Lo and behold, there's a mounted patrol officer in Lower Arroyo Park. Apparently she's not fully ordained, as she doesn't issue official warnings or make arrests. However, I can attest to the fact that she can and does issue threats.

Boz and I recently came upon her engaged in heated discussion with a dog owner. Basically, the argument went like this this:
"The dogs aren't bothering anyone and they ought to be able to walk off-leash in the Arroyo."
vs.
"The law's the law."
There were more words, and exclamation points.

They each had a point, though neither won the argument. Somebody, and I'm not saying who, could benefit from Nice lessons.

For some, the dog park is not an option. It's too stressful for dogs of a certain (uh, omega) temperament. As much as I approve of the concept, I wouldn't take Boz there. It's not for everyone.

The Lower Arroyo is for everyone, yet not everyone is comfortable with dogs. I haven't heard of any unpleasantness, but then again, I don't hear everything.

What do you think? Should dogs be leashed in the Lower Arroyo?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pic of a Twit

When I was a kid, my nickname was Tweeter.

Please don't laugh, but yesterday I finally figured out how to upload a photo to Twitter using Twitpic. The first time I looked at Twitpic I must have been distracted or upside-down or sleep-walking, because it's about as easy as an application can be. Yesterday I cleared my desk and sat down with a cup of coffee, determined to figure it out, and it was like figuring out how to open an envelope.

This is the photo I posted. I hope you don't mind me posting it again here. I don't know if most of you follow me on Twitter. (There's a little birdie button over there on the upper left if you should choose to do so.) Even if you follow me, the chances that you were on at the moment I posted the picture are so slim that I don't mind posting it again.

I took the shot from my antique iPhone. My thought when I saw this was, I hope I never have to choose between natural light and bookshelves.

You know, when I was a kid, besides the fact that we
had no windows
or bookshelves,
walked to school ten miles in the snow,
made our own toys,
slaughtered our own chickens,
churned our own butter
and
made our own clothes out of burlap bags,
"twit" was something you called someone you thought very little of.

But I was Tweeter which, as I remember it, was quite another thing.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New Tricks

With summer officially here, it got officially hot yesterday. I have no official complaints.

You may wish to brush up on local water use regulations. Pasadena's water shortage has been declared officially over (yay!), but certain instances of water waste are still out of line, baby! Sprinklers are for running through, but not between 9am and 6pm.

That's okay. Yesterday it was good and toasty long after 6:00. Boz and I went for an evening walk and it took us about an hour to go eight blocks. I know he's an older pooch, but jeez. Or maybe it's me. I don't mean I'm an old pooch, but it did feel good to stroll, stop where we wanted to, take a few pictures, smell things, etc. But I didn't pee on anything. Honest. And as tempting as they were, I did not drink from the sprinklers.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bulgarini

They don't spend money on fancy bowls and utensils. And you'll see when you arrive at the Altadena strip mall they call home that they haven't splurged on rent. Bulgarini Gelato Artigianale puts everything into the flavor. Seriously. (Quite seriously.)

I suggest you browse the website. That's where I learned that Leo Bulgarini, a native of Italy, returns there regularly to purchase (for example) Sicilian pistachios (because they're the best), or he travels to Santo Domingo for cocoa (guess why) or to Hawaii (do you know a better place to find macadamia nuts?).

There's a simple reason Leo goes to all this trouble. The flavor of Bulgarini gelato is unequaled.

It's going to be hot this week. Gelato time.

Pictured above: grapefruit, mandarin orange, and chocolate with sea salt. How much do you want to bet Leo went to Florida, China, Santo Domingo and Great Britain to make my gelato?

It was worth it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Zen Monday: #151


Zen Monday is the day you experience the photo and give us your thoughts rather than me telling you what the photo's about.

I took today's Zen Monday photo in Hollywood. Okay, so I'm cheating. At least I'm an honest cheat.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blackberries

A friend posted on Facebook about picking apricots with his dad. It reminded me of the hot summer days of my Illinois childhood, when blackberries were in season. My dad would give us each a bucket or basket and load us into the station wagon, and we'd head along the country roads outside of town. We'd find a patch of brambly bushes and pick until our baskets and bellies were full, our fingers purple.

My father had grown up poor in western Kansas. He knew where to find wild food, although I think it was less about having been poor than it was about having lived in the country. In summer we sought blackberries. In winter, walnuts.

As we grew older we kids lost interest. My dad got busier. The little forest near campus where we hunted walnuts was torn down and a new building took its place.

I'd forgotten about the blackberries until long after I moved to Los Angeles. I was back in DeKalb for something--a class reunion, maybe--and I drove my rental car out along the country roads south of town on my way to visit my father's grave. Along the way I stopped, and now I can't remember why. It could have been a whim of exploration, I like to do that. I pulled off the main road onto a dirt road.

Something about the bumpy old road was familiar yet not, and I didn't know what drew me until I saw the blackberries. I stopped the car and got out. I was beginning to remember, but it had been so long the memory itself was as scratched as an old photo. The road had once been lined with trees; those were gone, and to one side I looked out over plowed fields. To the other side there was a house that hadn't been there before.

A woman stepped out onto the porch. She was younger than me and her smile was tentative. "Can I help you find something?"

"We used to pick blackberries here when I was a kid."

"Okay, so you're not lost then."

"No. Thanks."

She smiled, but not happily. "This isn't the road anymore."

"Are you saying I'm on private property?"

She nodded.

"Sorry, I didn't realize," I said.

"'s okay."

I took a longing look at the blackberries and got into the car. Back on the two-lane blacktop I continued driving to the little hill, miles beyond town, where my father lies buried. His grave looks over a stand of virgin prairie grass.

I don't need to set aside a day to think about my father. I miss him all the time. Around Father's Day, though, it's impossible not to miss him more.