Saturday, July 2, 2011


Our orange tree is full of ripe oranges, with new little green ones coming in and needing space. Being the kind of person who has trouble growing weeds, I don't question this. I just thank the universe and pick the oranges. These oranges are juicy and goo-ood. Two-syllable good.

Some people can take 'em or leave 'em.

Other people only leave 'em when they're interrupted by predato--uh, larger people. But it's okay. We have enough.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Theme Day: The color green

I admit this one had me stumped.

Pasadena just doesn't have much green. We have other things, like hiking trails...

...famous bridges...

...and the occasional spot to sit and enjoy it all.

But there's not a whole lot of green.

We have other colors, of course.

Orange, for example...

...and even bleu.

But I don't see a lot of green around here. 


There is one thing. One Pasadena thing that's green.

Our street signs. 


City Daily Photo has surpassed 1400 in number, with 1404 blogs in our worldwide family as of 6/30/11. The newest addition is Vilnius, Lithuania. Click on over to Vilnius and say hello! And check out today's theme participants here.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Side Street Madonna

The stretch of Orange Grove Blvd. between Los Robles and Fair Oaks has Mexican restaurants, a Latin grocery, a hair salon and more. People live here, work here, get stuff done here. It's all a bit tattered--the only shiny thing besides the church is the new plant nursery on the corner of Orange Grove and Marengo. There's always a lot going on.

Google's street view photo, showing the north side of Orange Grove between Worcester and Marengo, must have been taken before I moved to Pasadena. The photo shows small homes. Now it's all storefronts.

The side streets go north and south into the neighborhoods. Just north of Orange Grove on a street called Worcester, a faded Madonna waits and watches in a meditative pose. I've driven by many times, and didn't notice until I finally stopped that she has little plastic stars glued into her thick, chipping paint. Someone must have thought the stars had value; many of them are missing.

Art like this abounds in Los Angeles, where Catholic Latin America makes its second home. Altadena Hiker did a couple of posts a while back featuring photos of murals along a downtown commute. East of West L.A., is always finding urban religious icons with which to haunt us. (Just look under "previous posts" and click on what intrigues you.)

Some of Pasadena's hidden treasures are more hidden than others.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guest Author: Karen E. Klein

Today's guest author, Karen E. Klein, is the Smart Answers columnist for as well as the LA Times Small Business columnist. That would seem to be plenty, but Karen is also much more. Please welcome Karen E. Klein.

Thanks to Facebook, I’ve recently reconnected with elementary school classmates that I haven’t heard from in nearly 40 years.

The experience has taken me back to Los Angeles’ westside in the 1960s and early ‘70s. Our neighborhood, Ladera Heights, was located near vast tracts of open space owned at the time by the Hughes Aircraft Company.

This area, where we occasionally caught tadpoles, was referred to as “swampland.” Adults hoped these ugly mudflats would soon be put to good use, like the “beautiful” Marina del Rey development, that had been built in the 1950s.

Surely something was wrong with me, I thought as a grade-schooler. To me, the Marina, with its dense tangle of masts and thick, concrete high-rises, was the ugly monstrosity.

And the deepest yearnings of my heart were for natural places. I dreamt of flowing streams and open water. Whenever we drove by the Hughes property, I would look for glimpses of meandering creeks and shorebirds, tall grasses and slender cattails. They took my breath away.

No one else seemed sorry that all of it would eventually be paved over, dredged out and channeled under. I concluded that I must be some kind of weird throwback.

Life went on; we moved to Orange County and eventually to the San Gabriel Valley. I almost never revisited my old stomping grounds. But I couldn’t have been happier when I read that a group was dedicated to saving the old Hughes holdings. And it wasn’t a mud flat after all (somehow, I’d known that all along), but an estuary, The Ballona Wetlands

It is one of the main things that make me stubbornly optimistic about the future, this ecological consciousness-raising that has taken place during my lifetime. Up and down the coast, plans to fill in and pave over wild places are being scuttled and damage done by commercial developers is being remediated.

The fight goes on, even here in our own backyard. I’m happy to be part of a new group, Friends of Peck Park, that aims to restore and revitalize a little gem located where Arcadia, El Monte, Temple City and Duarte meet. My husband, Steve, and I first stumbled onto this area, formally known as the Peck Road Water Conservation Park, on our bikes nearly a decade ago.

The 200-acre park, an abandoned rock quarry, houses a beautiful lake that attracts hundreds of species of local and migratory birds. The views of the San Gabriel Mountains are stunning. Yet right now, scruffy, run-down Peck Park is best known for gang crime by night and a county prison work-release program by day.

This Saturday, July 2, our Friends group will be hosting tours and an “open house” for the park, with the help of nonprofit Amigos de los Rios. Come over at noon, bring your own picnic lunch and enjoy a presentation about the park's restoration and potential, with tours to follow. You'll get a look at this jewel of the SGV’s “Emerald Necklace.” It's at 5401 N. Peck Road, Arcadia. Look hard for a small sign off Peck Road where you'll turn right (coming south on Peck) into the parking lot. You’ll learn about restoration and I promise you’ll be inspired.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Storied Rialto

Just because it's not Christmas doesn't mean folks--or in this case, a theatre--couldn't use a miracle.

The Rialto Theatre in downtown South Pasadena has been crumbling for a long time. South Pas residents want to see this grand old palace resurrected and put to good use. The effort is underway, and you can help by taking part in a unique project. All you have to do is share your memories of the Rialto. Quoting from the press release:

"Laurie Allee, with Glimpses of South Pasadena and will be at the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, June 29th [that's tomorrow] videotaping brief stories and remembrances of the Rialto Theatre...

Did you ever sneak in? Stay all night and all day? Meet your future mate in the balcony? Wear tights and throw toast at midnight? Perhaps you saw Art Clokey there live and caught an actual piece of Gumby? Maybe you heard a live rock band in the 80's? Or were in the band! Perhaps you simply saw a very special movie in a very special theatre . . . whatever your tale, we hope you'll tell...

So come on by...from 9am until noon at SoPas Gallery - 1121 Mission Street. It will be brief and informal, with very short interviews. And once the piece is edited you will see a copy, and so will the rest of the world, as we post it online to raise awareness that we all want to see - the return of the Rialto!

If you think you will attend, please let us know by emailing here."

Entropy's not for everyone, and surely it's not for the Rialto. I hope you'll share your stories with Laurie.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Zen Monday: #152

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

Just say what you think and have a good time. There are no prizes, although sometimes there are kudos.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Treasures on Your Block

In Pasadena, if you have an organized block with a Neighborhood Watch, you can arrange with the police department to block off your street for your block party. (Check with the Pasadena PD for details.) Children do not tire of riding their bikes in the road. No bouncy house necessary.

That's what we did yesterday on my block. When the kids could take a moment off from speeding up and down the street on their wiggle cars, a friendly representative from the Pasadena PD was there to fingerprint them. (Perhaps it's a safety thing, but you never know if one of those cherubs will turn out to be a criminal brat.)

The adults enjoyed the party even more than the children did, if that's possible. Some neighbors see each other often but more don't. It's nice to check in with folks whose schedules don't collide with yours. It builds community to welcome new people to the block, find out who got taller over the school year, and adore each others' little ones as they whiz by.

The title of this post refers to a gift John and I received when we bought our home. "The Treasures on Your Block" is a series of booklets, written by Ann Scheid in the 1980's, about the architecture in various Pasadena neighborhoods. Scheid (speaking of treasures) is a Pasadena historian, writer and community activist, among other things. The woman we bought our house from gave us her copy because our house was featured in it along with others in the neighborhood. The booklet is hard to find these days--a rare treasure.

We love our home, not because it's in a booklet but because it's so familiarly ours. It's our refuge, our place, a JohnandPetrea hermetically sealed envelope set aside from the world where we keep all our stuff, real and imaginary, in one place. We love it also because it's in this neighborhood, surrounded by these neighbors. If these people were to be gone tomorrow, the treasure would lose its value.

(Yes. It's a record player. On the front lawn. Some brought a dish to pass. Some brought paper plates and napkins. One brought music.)