I have a soft spot for old-school late 20th Century garage doors. Maybe it's because I grew up in Texas in the 70s and early 80s. Those garage doors were as ubiquitous to my neighborhood as Craftsman houses are to South Pasadena.
I watched a lot of cute boys jamming with their bands inside garages like this. More than one shaggy-haired guitar player stole my heart while covering old T-Rex and Bowie under fluorescent tube lights. I kissed the cute guy who moved from Hawaii in the 10th grade in a garage like this. I had my first lukewarm beer tapped from a keg in a garage like this.
Most of my late night whispered telephone conversations happened in a garage like this: my parents' garage. I would perch on a paint can, giggling to my best friend Mary with the kitchen wall phone cord stretched through the back door and pulled around the front of my mom's Cordova...
I'm sure the teenagers walking through the book stalls in Paris have the same confusing/mad/wonderful dreams as those of us who grew up hanging out in garages. We're not so different. In fact, I remember arguing with Paul from my drama club about whether Godard or Truffaut was the better French New Wave director, all while leaning against his dad's workbench in a garage like this. It's not a grand setting that makes youth so grand. After all, the setting is just the launch pad for where we eventually end up. (Which, more often than not, turns out to be an awful lot like where we started out.)
I know, I know. Garage doors like this don't call for a Gershwin soundtrack. They don't inspire the same homespun nostalgia as picket fences or porch swings. But for those of us who cut our teeth on the edges of American suburbs, garage doors like this are familiar touchstones. They welcome us right back into our past, with or without the remote control.
Oh, a wonderful horse is the Fly-Away Horse - Perhaps you have seen him before; Perhaps, while you slept, his shadow has swept
Through the moonlight that floats on the floor. For it's only at night, when the stars twinkle bright, That the Fly-Away Horse, with a neigh And a pull at his rein and a toss of his mane, Is up on his heels and away! The Moon in the sky, As he gallopeth by, Cries: "Oh! what a marvelous sight!" And the Stars in dismay Hide their faces away In the lap of old Grandmother Night...
The Allee holiday cookie tradition continues! Here is one batch of Christmas tree ornament sugar cookies. (Not shown is Little Bit's menorah cookie. She just had to eat that one. Also, the blue and purple abstract one in the upper right is supposed to be a Diwali elephant. Hey, we celebrate ALL winter festivities around here!)
Next into the oven? Gingerbread people. (And possibly a couple of gingerbread parrots as requested by Little Bit.)
So, what's everyone eating during the holiday season?
Patch.com is launching a nationwide contest to find the best holiday home, and the winner's school district will receive $100,000! I say we make the hard work of South Pasadena's own Todd Shroeder pay off. Every year he turns his home into an electric gingerbread house -- that is, if gingerbread houses had animatronic Santas waving from the porch.
It's glorious, it's magical and it just might net our school district some cash.
I got caught in the freak thunderstorm that passed over yesterday. As the clouds broke up, the sunlight painted a few amazing pictures in the sky. For the briefest of moments, this is what I saw out of my car window while sitting at a light on Mission.
I figured we could all use a break from power outage updates and pictures of destruction. How's this for a beautiful bird's eye view from Pasadena looking toward South Pas? (And just look at those hundreds upon hundreds of beautiful trees still standing tall and strong!)
Walking through Garfield Park yesterday was a complete shock. Our shady central oasis is considerably less shady, with at least six trees toppled, awaiting the chainsaw and wood chipper.
Yes, many of the park's trees still stand. (This one is fine.) For that, I am glad. But with each passing day, I find another landscape dramatically changed and it's starting to wear down my nerves. The tree in this picture crashed right on top of the picnic table where Little Bit and I loved to have after school snacks. It's unsettling and creepy and sad.
I know it's not Darfur. It's not Somalia or Iraq. It's not Katrina or Fukushima or the World Trade Center. I know our own Station Fire destroyed so much more. I know.
We're very lucky. I know for the most part that structures did not topple. It wasn't human lives ripped apart. We didn't have damage from bombs or bullets. It could have been so much worse. I know, I know.
But I also know that we dearly loved all those uprooted trees. We loved the way they shaded us. We loved the way they turned our hectic urban jungle into a beautiful urban forest. Like contemporary pagans, we don't just like the landscaping -- we love the company of trees. When one falls, we feel it like the loss of a spiritual cousin. When hundreds of trees are lost, it starts to feel like there is some kind of rift in the rightness of things.
While I'm grateful that most trees were spared, I've seen so many fallen ones in South Pas and Pasadena in the last few days, I feel shaken. Familiar landscapes are changed and I can't pretend that I won't miss what used to be. And one thing is for certain: the Christmas tree lots with all those chopped-down trees seem a bit ghoulish now.
"Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse, and, just as the reliably long and bitter winters of New England determine the way life is lived there, so the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are."
There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight.
Today is the first day of the month, and that means it's Theme Day for participating City Daily Photo bloggers. This month's theme is Action Shots.
I'm not sure why I decided to post this picture. It's not particularly action-y in the just-caught-the-football or running-and-about-to-miss-the-train kind of way. But it is a quick snap of the normal, everyday action on Mission Street. And anyway, there just has to be a story behind that guy waving at a headless mannequin in a window. A secret sign from a spy to a hidden action hero? You decide.
In December of 2007, after many years on the west side of Los Angeles (and at least a third of those years spent stuck in traffic on Pico Boulevard) my family settled into a happy little house in South Pasadena. This daily blog covered over 4 year as I put down roots in my new home town.
My New Blog Launching 2013
Check out my multimedia column archive: Views from the Front Porch
Published at Patch.
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Thank you Charlie's Coffee House for hosting my recent photo exhibit, South Pas: Observed. From October 2011 through January 2012 my pictures graced the walls of the best place in town to get a cup of coffee!
Read the nifty story on photo bloggers Petrea Burchard, Ben Wideman, Kat Likkel and little old me featured in the September, 2011 issue of Pasadena Magazine.
For over 4 years, I presented a picture a day from South Pasadena, California -- an incorporated city within the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. All photos up to November, 2008 were taken with a Fujifilm Finepix E900 camera. I added a Fujifilm Finepix S2000HD megazoom in December 2008, a Nikon D3100 in 2010 and a Lumix DMC-DS8 in 2011. I shot with them all. In August 2010 I joined the iPhone camera craze and sometimes included pictures captured by my phone. I regularly cropped images and used basic editing software to adjust the brightness, intensify the contrast, and increase color saturation. Other than that, all images came straight from the camera with minimal alteration. (If I couldn't have done it in a darkroom, I wouldn't do it with a computer.)
The bigger picture:
Consider it a love letter to the place I call home.
You can click on any picture to see a larger version.
All photos and prose on this blog copyright Laurie Allee. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited. (Plus, it's really uncool.)
Run, don't walk to the nearest bookseller and pick up a copy of Margaret Finnegan's delightful debut novel, The Goddess Lounge -- undoubtedly the kookiest, most wonderful riff on Homer's Odyssey ever written. Margaret never ceases to inspire and make us laugh at her blog Finnegan Begin Again. Her book is magical, silly, smart and a wonderful love letter to the all the goddesses among us.
Kevin McCollister of East of West LA blows our minds with haunting images of Los Angeles. But since we can't put his blog on our coffee table, we can buy his fantastic book. I believe Kevin's images truly capture the quixotic and often heartbreaking soul of LA. Don't take my word for it, see what The LA Times had to say.