Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fair Oaks at Night

Is it just me or does traffic look prettier in black and white?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Location, Location, Location...

Want to know what the view looks like from this house? A bit of this. And some of this. And occasionally this...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

And Many More!

Happy Birthday to my darling husband. (Now, everybody go out and celebrate!)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Salad Days

"I didn't start cooking until I left home to go to college and had to learn to live on my own. What I didn't realize then was that I had already learned something primal in the kitchen in Michigan. I knew that taking simple, fresh ingredients into a kitchen and turning them into a nourishing meal was part of the natural rhythm of life."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Winter White (#2)

These pear blossoms are too wonderful for just one post...

(In fact, these pear blossoms make me think of this, which makes me oddly think of this, and that has nothing to do with these pear blossoms at all.)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Defiant Rose

Despite a thorough winter pruning, this rose bush sends a new flower reaching for the sky.

(I like that.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Caution: Here Be Dragons

Did you know that Pasadena has a park made especially for little pirates? Last April, the city opened Reese's Retreat at Brookside Park. (Walk east from the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center and you'll find it tucked behind the pools.) Reese's Retreat is the region's first universally accessible playground for kids of all ages and abilities -- and it's so cool that the even the most exhausted parent will be tempted to get off the park bench and join in the fun.

The entire setting resembles a pirate ship, complete with bells that clang and wheels that turn and even a plank for the most scurrilous little scallywags to walk. There are multiple levels to explore either by climbing or by using ramps. The setting offers kids of all physical abilities a safe place to scramble around. Even the soft, rubberized ocean floor is wheelchair-friendly.

The design is beautiful, blending into the landscape both playfully and artfully with lots of natural elements and neutral colors. The playground equipment offers the standard variety of things to climb up and slide down, but it also encourages exercise of the imagination with enough high seas props to inspire your inner Jack Sparrow. (Honestly, try not to bust out a hardy "Arrrrrr!" while pretending to hoist one of the ship's sails.) In a word: wonderful.

It all makes me wonder why South Pasadena can't create something similar in Lower Arroyo Seco Park? We certainly have the right setting. For four years I've driven by our city's forgotten park and wished that the gorgeous space could be put to better use. Garfield Park and Orange Grove Park have lovely play areas with safe, charming equipment while Arroyo Seco Park looks like a forgotten leftover from The Wonder Years.

I know there is a certain hipster fascination with rusting jungle gyms from the 1960s, but wouldn't it be more fun to have a safe playscape that local kids (and their parents) could actually enjoy? Not to mention the fact that our large, isolated park area attracts a certain element that really should walk the plank...

I guess it would take a bit of pirate treasure to make it happen, huh?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Author Night With Dr. Kevin Starr Tonight

Calling all history buffs!

Tonight, the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library will feature an Author Night with Dr. Kevin Starr, California's favorite historian. Dr. Starr is best known for his brilliant 7 volume series, Americans and the California Dream. His latest book is called Clio on the Coast: The Writing of California History, 1845-1945. The event will also serve as the SoCal Centennial Celebration of the Book Club of California.

South Pasadena's own singer/songwriter Brad Colerick will open the program with classic songs of the Golden State, as well as a few surprises.

Festivities start at 7:00PM in the library Community Room. The event is free, and no tickets or reservations are required. You can read more about the event here, and read my gushing fangirl praise of Dr. Starr here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Winter's Bones

January's trees epitomize the austere, retrospective feeling of the season. (Even in sunny, 70 degree Southern California.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Grocery List

I went into Ralphs and got eggs, milk and potatoes. I came out and got this amazing sunset sky.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Mod Pad

Craftsman is king in South Pasadena, but if you pay attention you'll find a few rather noble examples of mid-century modern. This is one of my favorites by noted architect John Galbraith. (Here's a night shot of the same home.)

I heard about another Galbraith house in the Altos, but I haven't scoped it out yet. In the mean time, check out examples of Galbraith design here and here.

Friday, January 13, 2012


The next time you head over to Mission in the early morning -- maybe for coffee at Great Harvest, or perhaps a class at Mission Yoga, be sure to notice the amazing shadows cast by the trees...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beautiful Anachronism

I see a lot of old cars around town, but this is the first time I've seen a Kennedy for President bumper sticker. Are we sure South Pas doesn't have a time machine? (I'll lay odds it's here. Or maybe here.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Look Up!

I appreciate the massive trees in Garfield Park all the more now since several were lost in the recent windstorm. This one is downright inspirational, even without most of its leaves.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Film Guy on the Move

When you live in South Pas, you get used to yielding the right of way to film and TV crews. Here, a production company guy wheels a mystery machine across the 110 Freeway overpass on Arroyo Drive.

I can't complain. We just got a check from NBC for the use of our driveway last month. Woot!

For more on South Pas as a backlot for Hollywood, I did a piece about it for Patch back in November, 2010. Check it out here. (And yes, for those of you who have asked, my Patch column will be back soon. I have just been on hiatus. Isn't that what they call it in Tinseltown?)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Public Service Announcement...

For those of you having trouble keeping those new year's resolutions to eat healthier: the South Pasadena Farmers Market offers plenty of incentives. (Just don't tell anybody about the Cool Whip you pick up at Vons.)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Field Trip: Pasadena's Macys on South Lake

Wait a minute. This picture isn't from South Pasadena!

You're right, I crossed the border into Pasadena for this one. I was so charmed by the multi-textured planes of this walkway, I just couldn't resist snapping and sharing. Besides, generations of South Pasadena shoppers have ventured over to this department store on South Lake Street. It's part of our shared history.

Originally a Bullocks and now a Macys, it was designed in 1947 by the divine Welton Becket. Becket's design house created several other iconic Los Angeles structures. Here's one of my favorites. And here's another one.

Back in 2008 the South Lake store was closed for renovations. I was afraid it was going to be stripped of all charm, but instead it was thoughtfully restored and revitalized with beautiful attention to the store's historic period details. (I'm particularly fond of the Men's Department mural and the etched brass elevators.)

For more on Welton Becket, click here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Blue Sky, Bright Light, Back Door

Maybe I'm just giddy from the unusual 85 degree weather, but even back alleys look beautiful in all that cheerful sunlight...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hangar On...

At first, I thought this was the Goodyear blimp, making one last flight over the San Gabriel Valley after the Rose Bowl. Then I saw the words "Hangar Vodka" on the side of it...

Hey! That's just another way to have a good year!

For more on blimps in South Pasadena's history, check out my post here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

immense sublime

Oh, gaze ye on the firmament! a hundred clouds in motion,
Up-piled in the immense sublime beneath the winds' commotion,
Their unimagined shapes accord:
Under their waves at intervals flame a pale levin through,
As if some giant of the air amid the vapors drew
A sudden elemental sword.

--Victor Hugo

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Looking Toward a New Year

It's January 1st, and that means it's Theme Day for participating City Daily Photo bloggers. Today's theme is Photo of the Year.

I don't know if this is my best shot of 2011, but it's certainly a favorite. I grabbed it on Arroyo Drive last summer right after the San Gabriel Valley had been drenched by a storm. The receding clouds created all sorts of bright, happy colors in the sky, and made the view from my favorite look out seem all the more expansive and hopeful.

A nice mood for a great new year, right?

To see a panorama of incredible images, please take a few moments to check out photographers from all over the world adding their best shots to today's theme gallery. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Happy New Year, everybody!