Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tangles and Locks

Tangles and Locks barbershop, at 2025 N. Lake Avenue, has been an Altadena business for over 23 years. I've been meaning to stop by for a long time--not 23 years but a while, nonetheless--because I wanted to take a picture of the suit of armor standing in the back corner.

Yesterday I was in the neighborhood, I had the time and I had my camera. So I stepped inside and asked.

The owner introduced himself as D.L. He said, sure, I could take a picture. He even moved a few things out of the way of the suit of armor, and I took some pictures of it. But I quickly realized what I really wanted was pictures of the people and the shop.

I'm uncomfortable asking, but it helped that one of the guys there was a photographer. We got to talking and he showed me some of his photos via his flickr page on his iPhone. The shots were outstanding, and many were of people. I asked if he was comfortable asking people to pose. He said you basically get back what you put out there. In other words, if you're comfortable and friendly about it, people will react that way to you.

So I asked the men in the shop if I could take pictures while business went on as usual. I don't know why I find it so hard to ask. Everyone was fine with it.

D.L. also owns one of those gorgeous red cars you often see parked at the vintage gas station across the street. I'll show you those tomorrow.

My pictures of the suit of armor turned out fine. The shop has a medieval armor motif, and D.L. told me he created many of the decorative pieces himself. But despite its technical imperfections, this is my favorite shot of the day. That's D.L. on the left.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Garages, 3

Mild-mannered garage by day...

But by night, it's...
(cue 1950's scary movie music)
Garage! of! Evil!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bet and Breakfast

Here's the view you're missing if you're not having breakfast at Clocker's Corner.

Actually, this is only a peek into the panorama of peace for eyes and brain as you watch the horses take their morning workout. From the deck overlooking the Santa Anita Racetrack you can't see much but the track itself, and beyond it, mountains, as far as your eyes will go. Although you're conveniently located to the 210 freeway you can't see it, and you can't hear it. You can, however, hear the horses thundering by while you enjoy your eggs and coffee.

Can't beat it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

No Trash, Either

Don't fill up your weekend yet! I've got something for you to do Saturday morning: fill up some trash bags.

Join Wilson Lau, watershed coordinator at the Arroyo Seco Foundation, in an Arroyo clean-up day!

Yessssss! It's going to be fun! I love cleaning! You should see my house! !!!!!!!!!

Okay, you should not see my house. I don't love cleaning. But I love the Arroyo, so I'll be there. That's a big deal, because it means I'll miss the farmers' market and I'm out of granola.

Meet Wilson in the parking lot by the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center Saturday, July 9 at 9:00a.m. Gloves and trash bags will be provided. Wear work clothes and closed-toe shoes. Although it's supposed to be cooler this weekend than last, "cool" is relative. I recommend a water bottle, sunscreen and perhaps a wide-brimmed hat as well. Something jaunty.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bougainvillea Killer

This wildflower grows alongside one of my favorite mountain trails. I'd like to grow things like this in my yard, along quiet (if short) pathways.

The holiday and Karin Bugge's recent Patch article (Why You Should Plant a Native Garden) inspired me to work in the garden yesterday. I want to create a native plant garden but I've decided not to buy any new plants until I figure out how not to kill the ones I've already got. It gets frustrating--these two thumbs I have, which are the color of pale flesh. The closest they ever get to green is garden envy.

But learning involves making mistakes. Or you could call it failing or, in my case, killing. This all takes a lot of time. It's okay, I'm not going anywhere.

About ten days ago I moved a small, weedy bush to the rear of the yard and transplanted a bougainvillea in its place. The weedy bush was a volunteer--it was kind of ugly and spiny--and despite the nice hole I dug for it and the compost I planted with it, it died. Ungrateful little bush.

I didn't care. What I cared about was the bougainvillea. I moved it from a place where it was getting too much water to the spot vacated by the bush, where it would get good sun and the dry soil it likes. I had read on the web about how to transplant a bougainvillea. I knew it might drop all its leaves.

It did. It died.

Today I dug up the weedy bush and put it in the yard waste bin. I smoothed over the hole with a shovel. A volunteer pumpkin or squash or something is growing there. I watered it. I decided it was best not to transplant it.

Then I went to dig up the bougainvillea. I didn't want to. I felt bad about killing that plant. I don't know why; I can get another bougainvillea. But it seemed like another failure, maybe because it didn't volunteer--because I yanked it from its perfectly nice pot and planted it first in too much shade, then moved it to another place with too much water, then moved it to a third place, stressing the poor thing to death.

I make fun of my garden failures, but honestly I want to be done with them. It's a story I tell about myself: "I'm not good with plants." I don't want it to be true anymore. I'm tired of the emptiness, the lack of life, in our back yard.

I leaned down to pull the dead bougainvillea from the ground. Close up, I saw tiny green buds on its branches.

My bougainvillea is not a failure. I am not a bougainvillea killer. I am one step closer to telling a different story about my garden.

Susan Campisi found a pair of gorgeous dogs on Saturday. They're at the Pasadena Humane Society, for now. Are they yours? Would you like them to be? Click the link, please, their time may be limited.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Zen Monday: #153

It's a Monday two-fer! Zen Monday and Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July and Happy Zen to you all.

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.

Independence Day is the day Americans celebrate their independence from the oppressive British Crown. Huh.

Just write your thoughts as they come to you, like the chalk artist did.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Peck Road Park

When Karen Klein spoke with passion about Peck Road Park in her guest author post here the other day, I had no idea where the park was. Apparently I'm in the majority. And that's one of the park's many pluses.

Just get off the 210 at Myrtle and head south. Myrtle becomes Peck and there you are.

You may want to see this on a map.

It took about 20 minutes to get there from my place in Pasadena. If you live in Arcadia, Temple City or Monrovia it'll be even less.

The park is undergoing improvements, thanks to the volunteers at Amigos de los Rios. Talk about urban interface. It's right in the middle of everything. That's the gist of Peck Road Park; right in the middle of everything you've got an oasis of trees (mature beauties plus acres of new plantings), picnic tables, walkways, bike trails and a lake--a lake which was once a quarry. I never saw the quarry but I'm going to stick my neck out here and say the lake is an improvement.

Speaking of necks: ducks and geese! Living together! Is nothing sacred?
Amazing, isn't it, what's right in the middle of everything, right under our noses?