Monday, October 31, 2011


Did I scare you? Don't worry, you'll feel better after a few Snickers bars.

(Patch reran my 2010 Halloween column. If you missed it last year, take a look at some of the many ways South Pasadena is an enchanted city.)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ghoulish Sighting

Careful if you walk past the store window at Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain. This guy might just jump out and get you.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today...

...I married the love of my life.

(And we had a baby girl and moved to South Pasadena and are in the process of living happily ever after...)

Happy Anniversary, Jon!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Jack-o-Lanterns to Be...

If you haven't taken a stroll through South Pasadena's pumpkin patch, you're missing out on one of the best parts of Halloween. (Just make sure not to look at the animatronic zombie who removes his head at the checkout stand. Shudder.)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

More Art in the Ordinary

We "breathe" in a dimension fabricated by pictures, which visibly comprise a great deal of our environment.

--Max Kozloff

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Well, a picture IS worth a 1000 words...

I was going to tell you a few little-known facts about South Pasadena's famous Oaklawn bridge, but after volunteering at Little Bit's school and then helping her with almost 2 hours of homework, I have no capacity for coherent thoughts.

Talk amongst yourselves!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Details (#7)

Look around South Pasadena's beautiful old homes and you'll find enough little details to make the CEO of Restoration Hardware gnash his teeth in a jealous rage. There are antique light fixtures, water glass set in sash windows, century-old oak plank floors,old zinc locks and brass furnace grates and enough crown moulding to land a show on HGTV. It's pretty great to live around so much history -- the subtle, sweet history of home.

You'll find this glass knob on one of the drawers of my living room built-in. It's the drawer where I keep our everyday place mats. I wonder how many other things have been kept there? How many other hands have reached for this lovely little glass pull in the 111 years since my home was built?

Today, I wrap up my week of Little Details. Thanks for joining me as I looked closely at a few familiar things around town.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Details (#6)

I can't decide which South Pas neon sign I love most. There's the historic one above Gus's. There's the Fair Oaks Pharmacy sign above the door as well as the one around the corner that, if taken out of context, makes hipsters giggle and jab each other in the ribs. We can't forget the newer Parking sign on Meridian that seems to conjure images of Raymond Chandler characters. They are all great bits of colored light.

Here, Shakers lets us know that it will always provide us with breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's a lovely reminder. In fact, whenever I walk past this sign on the way toward the entrance, it makes my mouth water. We always think of neon as a beckoning from far away, but doesn't it look great up close?

I continue my week of Little Details -- exploring South Pas in a magnified view.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Details (#5)

Those Craftsman artisans sure knew what they were talking about when they insisted function blend beautifully into integrated form. These river rocks may serve the utilitarian purpose of holding up one of South Pasadena's century-old homes, but they also offer endless artistic inspiration.

I continue my week of Details, exploring the texture and nuance of familiar objects around town.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Details (#4)

What's not to love about every single detail of South Pasadena's vintage cars?

Details Week continues here at Glimpses. Join me as I take a closer look at some familiar things around town.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Details (#3)

In schools all over the city, you'll find little details that reveal our next generation's passions, hopes and dreams. These are the things you won't find on standardized test scores or report cards. They're not usually the most important topics of discussion among Tiger Moms or guidance counselors. These are the playful, expansive little details that so often get drummed out of us by the time we reach adulthood, eclipsed by "reality," and all its buzz-killing propriety, expectation and responsibility.

But in my opinion, these are the kind of details that matter most.

Little Bit likes to swim. Her classmates like to chase butterflies, eat chocolate chip cookies and find fairies under the bed. What do you like?

Join me this week as I take a closer look at little details around our city.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Details (#2)

I continue with a week of South Pasadena details. Here, cryptic words fade into an old picnic table at Garfield Park. "You and I will always be..."

What do you think? Were they always? (Are they still?)

Join me this week as I take a closer look at objects in our city.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Details (#1)

Welcome to a week of little details here at Glimpses. Let's take a look at some of the textures and patterns that make up the fabric of our town.

Today, I bring you a squirrel's eye view of one of South Pasadena's beautiful old sycamore trees. The camphors and heritage oaks get a lot of attention -- well-deserved, of course-- but these stately sycamores are worth celebrating, too.

Join me for a week of little details as I explore macro views of the objects around us.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Love on Arroyo

These two started making out about a second after I took this picture. (And no, I won't show that shot. What kind of blog do you think this is, anyway?)

Friday, October 14, 2011


Little Bit isn't the only one still running a fever. South Pasadena sweltered yesterday with yet another day of unrelenting heat. (My garden thermometer was 101 at 3:00PM.) What happened to autumn?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ultimate Craftsman

The Style of the house should be as far as possible determined by four conditions: First, Climate; Second, Environment; Third, Kinds of materials available; Fourth, Habits and tastes—i.e., the life of the owner.

--Charles Sumner Greene, 1906, The Western Architect

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's all in the View

Long before this building was known for great Indian food and award winning cupcakes, it was the Mission Arroyo Hotel. Built in 1923, the ground floor was designated for shops, while the upper floor offered lodging. Back in the day, it advertised "New, modern, all outside rooms near streetcars and restaurants." The rate was $6 to $7 per week, depending on the view. I used to talk to an older gentleman who called himself Pal-- a longtime South Pasadena resident who liked to hang out in the shade near Mission Station. He lived in a room on the upper floor of the old Mission Hotel in the late 1940s, and apparently it was one of the rooms with a view. “When I was there, I was in love with Olivia,” he told me. “To this day, I look at that building, and I remember what she looked like walking by with the sunlight on her hair.” Now, every time I look at this old building I also think of Olivia and wonder if she married the right guy. ------------------------ Thanks to everyone who has asked about how Little Bit is feeling. The fever is still spiking high, but day by day our girl is feeling more like her old self. The poor baby has the flu on top of an upper respiratory infection. We told her that when she's all better, we're definitely going to Disneyland. We appreciate the good wishes, y'all, as well as the kind words from fellow parents who've been in the fever trenches. Keep those happy healing thoughts coming!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Reflections #1

I realized that I have a lot of shots like this -- kind of moody, abstract reflections. Since Little Bit is still sick with fever, I'm feeling moody and abstract, too.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Rosette, Shmosette

We spent hours at Urgent Care, and then even more hours in the Huntington Hospital ER with Little Bit last night. I'm worn out -- though not as worn out as a sweet 6 year old with 104 degree fever who had to have a chest X-ray, a bunch of lab tests and a near-miss with a lunatic Urgent Care doctor who tried to order a lumbar puncture and CT scan. Calmer heads prevailed at the hospital, and we're home with what looks like one hell of a nasty stomach bug.

It appears the Kindergarten Rhinovirus Fairy's 1st grade replacement is much more bad-ass, with a new slew of nasty illnesses in her arsenal.

At any rate, here's a lovely little detail from the recently restored Comerica Bank Building. Talk amongst yourselves while I have a small nervous breakdown.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stormy Weather

This year's first autumn storm caught me without an umbrella or a camera, but I managed to capture a moment without dropping my iPhone in one South Pasadena's overflowing gutters.

I'm always surprised when fall arrives in Southern California. Summer stretches out and fires up in September, making it seem like time really does stand still in this part of the world. Dropping temperatures and soggy weather bring all of us back to reality.

Fall is here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Bell Époque

This gorgeous bronze bell was cast in 1889. It was the original bell for South Pasadena's Center Street School -- the first school in the city. In 1928, the bell was installed in the tower of the brand new brick building designed by Norman Foote Marsh. That building now houses the offices of the South Pasadena Unified School District, but until 1979 it was known as El Centro School.

The tower was removed for earthquake safety reasons in 1949, but the bell was saved and mounted in front of the school. For decades, graduating sixth-graders would march from the auditorium to the front lawn and strike a celebratory blow on the old bell as a rite of passage. (I have no proof, but I'll bet at least one teacher said "Don't chime in all at once!")

Monday, October 3, 2011

Self Portrait: Shakers

It's been a busy couple of days. If anybody wants me, I'll be loading up on coffee, eggs and hashbrowns while compulsively playing hashtag games on Twitter. (As illustrated above.) Special thanks to everyone who came out to the reception for my photo exhibit, South Pas: Observed at Charlie's Coffee House on Saturday evening. I'm honored to have so many good friends. (My pal Petrea Burchard at Pasadena Daily Photo posted such a nice piece about it yesterday that I now have a head SOOOOO big, it won't fit through the door.) Another big thank you to everyone who packed the house at yesterday's Encore, Rialto symposium at the South Pasadena Library Community Room. Chamber of Commerce wonderboy Scott Feldmann put together a great afternoon of entertainment, information and inspiration. Stay tuned to my Patch column for more video interviews with other Rialto fans as well as case studies of other theaters who have successfully reopened. (If I'm lucky, I'll even convince the original Rialto cast of Rocky Horror moviegoers to do the time warp AGAIN. On video, of course.)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Calling Card

There aren't many places in the world where you can wake up and find a wild parrot feather on your front porch steps...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mystery Object

It's the first day of the month, and that means it's Theme Day for participating City Daily Photo bloggers. Today's theme is Mystery Object. Well, I hate to spoil everyone's fun but I know exactly what this thing is. At least, I have a few ideas... It's a robot stairclimber. A literal translation of cubism. An early, unsuccessful predecessor to the Rubix cube. It's an ironic take on square pegs and round holes. A National Endowment for the Arts grant winner. A temple for the worship of square dancing. Something left behind by someone who really thought outside the box. A fabulous use of unwanted apple crates. An alien DNA strand. Spare parts for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. A sign that the singularity will definitely happen sooner than we think... Or maybe not. Whatever it is, it can be found at Orange Grove playground. And as every parent knows, the way children transform from babies into big kids and beyond is definitely the biggest mystery of all. For other oddball sightings, take a look at my fellow City Daily Photo bloggers from around the globe. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants