Saturday, July 30, 2011

Little Things

You may recall I tried running last May. I was gung-ho which, it turns out, is an anglicized pronunciation of a pair of Chinese words that mean "work together-work in harmony."

My body thought the opposite. (Ho gung?) My body thought "I am not working together in harmony with you on this project. Take THAT!"

I thought, "ouch!" and walked the rest of the way home. It never crossed my mind that I had caused myself injury, and THAT would not go away.

THAT, however, persists, so I saw a doctor and had some tests done. I now await the results and hope for the best, reflecting on how minor THAT is, really, and how with a little help I'll be back doing the little things--the laundry, the taking out of trash, the errands--which right now my body won't do.

Then there are the bigger things, the things I really miss. The walking. The hiking. The getting down on the floor to play with my dog. The writing at my desk.

THAT is a temporary reminder that I am no longer young enough to do just...whatever. My body is no longer eager to work together-work in harmony regardless of what I ask it to do. It's easier to hurt myself now. Recovery takes longer.

Everyone else comes to this pass. I never imagined I would, too.

We think we're infallible sometimes. We do.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Must. Hike.

Some of us must hike, heat or no heat. The trails north of JPL have decent shade, and the streams still have water in them. The trails have recently been reopened after the Station Fire, though you'll find changes.

The cones on this bridge are lined up so neatly, don't you think? We couldn't figure out how they stayed that way until we checked. They're nailed down.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sidewalk Jones

There doesn't seem to be a structural reason for it to be there. We don't get snow or ice here, so it's not for traction. It's too big to be a thumbprint.

To give context:
It joins its fellows on South Raymond Avenue, in front of Jones Coffee Roasters. Could it be they're just for decoration? Whimsy? Superfluous details?

Update, 8/1/11: Robert Montano of the City Manager's Office sent some info! Very cool info. 
"TommyW has pretty much hit it," he says. "The imprints were part of a streetscape/art program for the Innovation Corridor that were meant to symbolize the “seeds” of innovation. In addition to the stamped symbols were to be solar powered "seeds" that would glow. The Seeds, stamped and installed, were to have culminated in a large, permanent art installation at the Power Plant, as the gateway to Pasadena from the south."

Here are two links to the project:

[you'll need to copy and paste into your browser]

When I told Robert it sounded like the project never happened, he said, "Correct. The last I heard, the seeds were being engineered AND, once complete, will be installed as development projects occur within the Corridor. We have one, power dependent seed in our office for demonstration."

Mystery solved! Thank you, Robert.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Guest Author: Steve Scauzillo

Today's guest author is many things:
He's a journalist (Opinion Page Editor and columnist  for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News and Whittier Daily News),
an educator (adjunct professor at Cal State Fullerton and Azusa Pacific University)
and a blogger (at Temple City Daily Photo). 
He's also the 2011 recipient of the Leopold Award for Distinguished Editorial Writing
Please welcome guest author Steve Scauzillo.
photo by Steve Scauzillo

Rip Van Winkle, I’m not.

Though I like to fancy myself as someone who lives a wanderlust life, loafing around, meandering the mountain trails, stumbling on something new that catches my imagination.

Then, wrapping my camera eye around it so I can take that moment home with me like I used to do the lightning bugs from grandfather’s back yard on Long Island, though just for a few moments. There’s only so many mayonnaise jars a kid can hold.

In the Washington Irving story, Rip wandered the “Kaatskil Mountains” in New York until one day, the sweet mountain air made him so tired he fell asleep and did not awake until 20 years had passed. You can read the story for the ending. But I’m more interested in applying Irving’s lessons to me, and to you and our local mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains. It’s true, I enjoy a hike into the back country, or even the lower canyons. These forays chill me to the bone every time. On my blog, which starts where I live in Temple City, just a few miles south and east of Pasadena, I’ve posted about the places I’ll go ….usually my favorite mountain haunts. They are timeless respites from a chaotic world. But do they change over time? If I fell asleep under an oak in Marshall Canyon and woke up 20 years later, would I recognize the place?

I hope so.

I want to tell you about a place where I had a Rip Van Winkle moment. It’s called Crystal Lake. I last stepped foot there around 1991, when I was a young reporter working on a story about habitat restoration. I’ll always remember the nudge in my rib from the ranger’s bony finger telling me to watch out! I was about to put my hand on the cleft of a rock that was home to a curled up rattlesnake.

Crystal Lake is the only natural lake in the San Gabriels. It is oblong, surrounded by pines, and filled with fresh water. It had suffered drainage problems and in 2002-03, was filling up with ash from the nasty Curve and Bridge fires. That’s when it was closed to the public. Nine years later -- about half the length of a Van Winkle nap -- Highway 39 had reopened and the place was accessible. Had it changed in those 9 years?

Since 39 reopened this past March, the lake is accessible. To get there, take the 210 Freeway east, exit at Azusa Avenue and go north. This becomes Highway 39  or San Gabriel Canyon Road. Once you leave the last house in your rearview mirror,  you enter some of the best canyons, riparian and later, pine forests in the world. And you don’t need a four-wheel drive car or chains. You may need chains in winter, so check with Caltrans first. Crystal Lake is 23 miles up the road, about 35 minutes from Azusa. You have to take the right turn-off before the 39 closure. The campground has been restored but is not yet operational.

The lake store is a story in itself. It’s owned and operated by Adam Samrah, who himself survived the Curve Fire by ducking into a low spot in the canyon and waiting for the conflagration to end. He vowed he would never leave the mountain, the place God spared his life. And he’s kept that promise. His store, the Crystal Lake Snack Bar is always open. He makes a mean chili.

If you go, don’t fall asleep up there. Well, OK, go ahead, it’s a perfect place for a nap. Just wake up sooner than 20 years later. But if you don’t, answer that question for me: Does it still look the same as it did 20 years earlier?

I hope so.
photo by Steve Scauzillo

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Pattern to Follow

I used to make my own clothes. Except pants. I was deft with darts and pleats and a total klutz with pants.

But I made dresses, shirts, blouses and skirts--not just dirndls, though I started there--I even made jackets with pockets and lapels.

I moved to Los Angeles in a 1985 Ford Tempo. Only what fit in the car came with me. My sewing machine was too big for my new life as a Hollywood actor. The sewing skill was gone.

Cynthia Harvey could give it back to me. At The Sewing Studio at 107 South Fair Oaks in Pasadena, Cynthia teaches children, teenagers and adults to design and make their own fashions, and she doesn't just whip this up out of whole cloth. She trained at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, she's created clothing for big names and she's the kind of teacher you'd polish a bright, red apple for.

I might be able to buy clothes for less than it costs to make them, but then I'd have to live with the fact that some woman in Asia took home 30 cents for making that cute top I got so cheap. I'd get to wear it maybe twice before it shrank or fell apart, and when I wore it I'd look exactly like everyone else.

I don't know if I'm going to start sewing again, but if I decide to go ahead with a project, Cynthia has options for me. I can take a class or, if I want to mess up on my own, I can rent a machine by the hour. I wonder if she'll make me sign a waiver in case I stitch my finger to a pair of pants.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Zen Monday: #156

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. This is because on Mondays I post the photos I don't comprehend.

Please share your thoughts in the comments as they come to you. Thanks. I appreciate it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Curtain Time at PMH

If you've got a hankering for something to do today, it's a Free Day from 1:00-4:00pm at the Pasadena Museum of History.

Free music, free ice cream and a free play reading of "History Lit" from Unbound Productions (starting at 2:00pm) all make this a good day to be on the Museum grounds.

They're probably not going to let you inside the Fenyes Mansion where I took this photo (yikes) three years ago. Soon, however, the refurbishment will be finished. The mansion was already glorious. Just imagine how much moreso it's going be.