Saturday, April 7, 2012

Altitude Adjustment

Everything's pleasant when you have the right attitude. It's a simple notion, but I had to discover it for myself by trial and error. Try taking a bad attitude out into the world and it's striking how many errors you can make.

Not that I'm always aware I have a choice. Sometimes the world looks so bleak that's all I can see. Then I find out all I have to do to shine it up is clean my glasses.

Wasn't it nice of these people to pose under a tree? And wasn't it helpful of that branch to curve out above the path and frame the shot? Lucky me, the world was out to do me a favor that day.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bike Bike Bike Bike

When John and I pulled up behind these wheels we were thankful for the red light. We needed time for the camera scramble, plus we wanted to figure out how many bikes were attached to this car.

But I can beat this. Take a look: it was a Zen Monday in 2010. Not quite in focus, but enough to see the difference between sane, happy family off to ride bikes on the mountain trails and insane someone who MUST HAVE BIKE BIKE BIKE BIKE BIKE.

I have a jar where I throw change. Do you collect?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Door, 5

You'll find this doorway on/in Electric Drive/Alley, just north of Holly Street in Old Town/Old Pasadena. I took the photo a while ago so it might have been painted since then, but Google maps has it looking the same.

Electric Alley was named for the Pacific Electric Railway Company. "The now-vanished Pacific Alley intersected Electric Alley at mid-block," says the historical marker. "Owned by Henry E. Huntington, the Pacific Electric System was the largest electric railway in the world, covering southern California with over 1,100 miles of track. By 1906, Pasadena was served by three interurban routes of the Pacific Electric."

The building just north of this door looks like a private home. It might well be and if it is, its location is unique, to say the least.

A couple of commenters have emailed to tell me the proper term for Old Town is Old Pasadena. It certainly is the proper term, but until I got those emails I had never heard the area referred to that way in day-to-day conversation. What do you think? Long-time Pasadena residents know this one better than I do. Set me straight, will ya? What do locals really say? I mean really?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Echo Means Comeback

Yesterday was a spectacular day, so John and I went hiking. John's been up the Sam Merrill trail several times in past months, but I haven't hiked it in almost a year. It's such a beautiful trail that I don't go on weekends because every cute family and dating couple and gaggle of teenagers in the San Gabriel Valley agrees with me.

Mid-week, though, it's dreamy. Karin, the Altadena Hiker, calls it "my mountain." She shares the mountain with me and the gaggles, of course, but she's not really kidding and I know how she feels. You climb switchbacks, steep scree and stretches of relentless sun, up, up, always up. In rest stop shade you can feel the faeries watching you (except on weekends, when they fly to higher ground). And all the time you revel in the smells, the light, the sound of your breathing and the beating of your heart.

Some of you may remember I decided to take up running last spring, which was fun until I injured my hip. After the MRI, months of physical therapy, several setbacks, miles of walking, endless podcasts, boring stationary biking and colorless cussing, it was time to take my mountain back.

Atop Echo Mountain after a 2.7 mile climb, which I used to do in just over an hour, you'll find traces of the Mount Lowe Railway and ruins of a hotel that burned down in the early 20th century. You'll also find views of the San Gabriel Valley, with Los Angeles beyond. On a spectacular day like yesterday was, you can glimpse the Pacific Ocean and Santa Catalina Island.

I didn't get that far yesterday. John could have made it, but he was nice enough to stick with me. I got about a mile and a quarter and decided it was enough for my first trip back up the hill. I won't be having more setbacks. I'm going forward from now on. Make that upward. A mile and a half next time. A mile and three quarters the time after that. And so on, until I can do 2.7 miles in just over an hour, just to glimpse the ocean on a spectacular day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


We're looking north on Raymond Avenue outside Castle Green. Somebody's missing a license plate, though I guess he'll be easy to spot if he needs catching.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Zen Monday: #190

If you're just joining us, here's the deal: Zen Monday is the day when you tell us what the photo's about, rather than me telling you. It's not a test. There is no right answer and as far as I know there's no wrong one, either, but I suppose it could happen.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Theme Day: Cobblestones

There may be cobblestones in Pasadena. I don't remember any offhand but that doesn't mean they're not here. The city was founded in the late 1800s and vestiges of the early town remain.

But mostly when I think of the stones we walk on I think of what we sometimes call "river rocks." They come from the Arroyo Seco and the mountains as well, and they're everywhere: lining walkways, decorating columns and adorning every other garden. Pasadenish have been building with them for the last century. Entire homes are made of them. They're part of our architectural vernacular.

This path leads off the main road into the Angeles National Forest north of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL). I haven't climbed it in quite some time. Boz declines to take it anymore (it's a bit steep) and for now I don't mind, because most of that greenery you see is poison oak. But I think the photo gives you an idea of our rocks. They're embedded in each woodland path, every trail, even in the history of our Pasadena home.

City Daily Photo's website was the victim of -- well, not nice people. So the wonderful Julie of Sydney set up a special page for us to use this time around. I posted a little early this time to make mine work.

If you'd like to see how other CDP bloggers around the world are handling the cobblestones theme, go here. And many thanks to Julie!