Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Gates of Entry

"I am the dream and you my gates of entry,
The means by which I waken into light."

--Alec Derwent Hope

Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Dreams

You could feel the hope and determination at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center yesterday as dozens of San Gabriel Valley kids practiced their strokes and imagined their own gold medals.

Here's to all the future champions.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Portrait

Look at who was patient enough to let me take his picture! (Everyone else is too busy working, camping, hiking, going to summer school, taking swimming lessons, vacationing...)

I'll take what I can get.

Friday, July 27, 2012

the fig tree languisheth...

The Bible sure mentions palm trees a lot.
I barely remember this part of my Lutheran elementary school education. In fact, what I remember most about my school Bible studies is the fact that my 6th grade teacher Mrs. Lange told me that I would burn in hell if I kept passing notes to David Bethke instead of concentrating on learning the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11.
But that's a different blog post, altogether.
I take a lot of pictures of palm trees, as many of you may have noticed. (Or, to quote my dear Shanna, "There she goes again with another old car or palm tree!") One can only say so much about Los Angeles' most iconic and ubiquitous tree. Occasionally one must look for quotes to, you know, add something to the conversation.
Quotes like this:
“The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, even all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.”
Yeah, the Bible made palm trees seem about as boring as all the verses about who begat whom. Let's try another one: “They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.” I think whoever added that to the Bible had been sitting out in the desert sun for too long.
There's always this: “How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! / This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.”
Now, we're talking! I definitely didn't study that part of the Bible in Mrs. Lange's class!
(Next time I post a palm tree shot, I'm going to make Shanna come up with a quote for me...)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pondering on a Summer Morning

There are flowers on the table, coffee is brewing and the parrots are gathering in the camphor trees above my house. I know it's the big things in life that we always remember -- the births and deaths and graduations, the promotions and colossal failures and serendipitous acts of grace.
But I wish we'd remember more of the little moments. You know what I mean ... all their clarity, ease and boring, wonderful idleness.
I'm sure I won't remember these specific pink roses from Trader Joes. Not after a few weeks, anyway. I'll remember the concept of pink roses from Trader Joes -- after all, they're always there and always bright and ridiculously beautiful -- but I probably won't remember these roses. Little Bit picked them out the other day because "they looked like they needed us."
(Well, maybe I'll remember them now.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Yet Another Shameless Birthday Post!

Screw cake, where's my champagne?! It's my birthday, and I hereby grant permission for all readers to take the day off and have a party.

Speaking of birthdays, Glimpses of South Pasadena turned 4 years old this month. That's 1473 posts and pictures as of today. (Hey bartender! Make mine a double!)

Thanks for being here, everyone. This blog has turned into a hell of a fun obsession.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Caption This Photo (#92)


Got Pagans?

No, that's not it.

Joan of Arc fired her realtor when he showed her the home with THIS backyard patio...

Nope, that's not quite right, either.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Trippy Dustbusters

Who says cleaning house can't be artistic? Or, at least weird?

You, too, can pick up one of these psychedelic creatures, er, feather dusters in the cleaning section of Ralphs.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Goddess Lounge

"Ok. So I’m on my way to The Goddess Lounge, the coffee house/knitting salon/menstrual palace that Fox News calls, 'A man-hating elevator to hell, another example of debauched LA, a sinful hideaway for modern-day polytheists and the Hollywood types who forever confuse spiritual wholeness with liberal narcissism.'
Yeah. It’s not a good morning." Thus begins the first chapter of The Goddess Lounge, the debut novel by South Pasadena's own Margaret Finnegan. Margaret charmed everyone who attended her book signing and reading yesterday at SPACE Arts Center. Many of you already know Margaret's writing from her hilarious and inspiring blog Finnegan Begin Again. Well, everyone should put her new book at the top of their summer reading list. The Goddess Lounge is funny, smart, magical and undoubtedly the coolest riff on The Odyssey ever devised. (Yeah, Margaret manages to be super brainy and hysterical all at the same time. A goddess in her own right, that Margaret.)
San Gabriel Valley locals, you can find The Goddess Lounge at Vromans -- that way you will support not one but two of our local treasures. For everyone else, it's here at Amazon and here at Barnes Noble.
(Go ahead and read the entire first chapter right here!)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Most Mysterious Cabinet in the World!

Hey, does that thing belong to Dr. Caligari?

I'm betting there are wizard hats, magic wands and a few books by Linda Goodman stored in there. What do you guys think?

Friday, July 20, 2012

All the World's a Stage...

Ever feel daunted by the sheer heft of a book of Shakespeare? Never fear, fine people, the wacky comic masters at Metamorphosis Theatre Company have streamlined the canon. Opening tomorrow night, July 21, at Fremont Centre Theatre, The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged) offers a madcap, family-friendly rendition of the bard's tragedies, histories, comedies, sonnets and as well as numerous cool wigs, kooky accents and costume changes all in under 90 minutes!

I had a chance to sneak a peek at rehearsal earlier in the week and the bard was right: brevity is the soul of wit. Shakespeare's masterpieces are taken to hilarious extremes by these cross-dressing, vaudeville hooligans. I don't say this very often but don't miss this one, folks.

The show runs weekends through August 12. (SPARC members, check your email for a special discount code for tickets!) Click here for more details.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Parrot Whisperer

Last year I had the great fortune of meeting and chatting with Mark Bittner. (Read my interview with him here.) You may remember him as the subject of the award winning 2005 documentary The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.
I've often wondered if South Pasadena had its very own parrot whisperer. You know, a special human being closely connected to our own flock.
I have my answer!
Take a look at the parrot magnetism above. Ever wonder what happens to the little baby parrots who fall out of those nests waaaaaaay up high in the trees? Well, if they're fortunate enough to be discovered by Yvonne, they get rehabilitated and given the all around royal parrot treatment. Here, Yvonne hangs out with Lucky, her latest rescue. Lucky screeched at me when I got too close to the great human love of his life, but he was kind enough to let me photograph him from a few feet away. (Finally! I managed to grab a shot of one of South Pasadena's parrots up close and in focus!)
Friendship. It's for the birds -- and us, too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Now That's a Big Balloon

Is this the coolest balloon you've ever seen in your entire life? Just when I thought I'd seen everything I could see at a kids' balloon show, the South Pasadena Public Library brought Buster Balloon to perform his awesome act as part of the summer Wonderful Wednesdays series, a segment of Dream Big, Read! Summer Reading Program.
And it blew my mind!
Buster was eventually engulfed by this large, pink monster making the Blue Man Group look like a bunch of amateurs. The kids loved it, the parents loved it and I was reminded all over again of how much I love our thriving library and all of its programs.
Today's Wonderful Wednesday presents storyteller Padraic Keohane weaving folk and fairy tales with his own observations in Once Upon A Time, and Happily Ever After. (2:00PM in the Community Room. It's free! With great air conditioning!)
Find out more about our library's inspirational summer series for kids of all ages right here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Blur of Little Ballet Dancers

I'm convinced if Degas had been able to get access to an iPhone, he would have had as much fun snapping away at his dancers as I had snapping away at these...

Photo shot with iPhone, processed with Photoshop for iPhone and the MoreLomo app.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Groovy Food

What do we need after a week of noir shadows? Some technicolor fruit!

Summer is busting out all over Southern California. Here is just one of many recent Allee family fruit salads incorporating organic goodness from nearby growers. Pluots, nectarines, peaches, watermelon, apples, honeydew ... even those grapes are from a local farm!)

We stock up on beautiful produce from the South Pasadena Farmers Market, and also take advantage of Farm Fresh to You -- an organic produce delivery service bringing boxes of yummy stuff harvested from area farms. We subscribe to the Valley Box, which brings all kinds of delights from small farms in the Los Angeles area. Every other Wednesday we wake up to a crate of nature's bounty. It's a fun way to get out of a culinary rut and force ourselves to eat a variety of fruits and veggies we might not think (or have the courage) to pick out on our own. Beets? Rainbow heirloom carrots? Italian Kale? You betcha!

Look for the Farm Fresh to You stand next time you're at the Farmers Market. (And if you want an interesting new way to use a huge bag of golden potatoes and pile of ripe avocados, just ask me about the recipe for Equadoran Locro de Papa I made last week...)

Bon appetit!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Noir Week (#7)

What? You think I'd do an entire noir series and not pretend, just once, that I'm Barbara Stanwyck or Veronica Lake? Ha! Give me a blast of afternoon sunlight and a camera self timer and suddenly I imagine detectives and danger and deep mysteries. Where's my scotch, damn it?

And now, I leave behind Noir Week. Thanks for indulging my dark side.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Noir Week (#6)

One of my favorite film professors in college taught that the simplest settings offer the most subtext. It's all in how you reveal (or don't reveal) the scene.

I'm getting mighty pretentious with Noir Week here at Glimpses, but it's all in good fun. Just a few more days of my darkness and light.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Noir Week (#5)

The reason I love dark shadows and bright light is not for what we can see there, but for what we imagine is there that we can't see.

Join me for a few more days of Noir Week where I turn South Pas into my own mysterious playground...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Noir Week (#4)

Yeah, South Pasadena's 4th of July Parade is about as homespun as apple pie and Andy Griffeth. But just look at the parade route at night...

I'm having fun with Noir Week this week, everyone. Join me as I go crazy with black and white.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Noir Week (#3)

“It seemed like a nice neighborhood to have bad habits in.”
― Raymond Chandler,
The Big Sleep

Noir Week continues here at Glimpses. Join me as I lurk around in the shadows for a few more days.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Noir Week (#2)

It's always the most innocent looking ones that you have to look out for: the sweet girl next door with something to hide, the devoted wife with a big secret...

This lovely lady looks like she's up to something. Is that a small pistol in her hand?!!

(Actually, she's my sister Judy, and she's just texting her son from my office.)

Welcome to another day of Noir Week where I play around with shadows and light. (And let my imagination run wild.)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Noir Week (#1)

Mayberry's dark side? Well, maybe I'm stretching a bit. (Especially here at Charlie's. The only thing dark about my favorite coffee house is the fresh roasted coffee brewing daily.)

It's Noir Week here at Glimpses. Join me as I pretend I'm John Alton for a few days...

Sunday, July 8, 2012


If there was ever a question about whether South Pasadena loves its trees, let this homestead offer up a hearty affirmative. For generations, homeowners have allowed the front yard tree to have its way with the lot -- front door be damned!

I've featured this home before, but I haven't quite captured the whimsy of it. I mean honestly ... that tree!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Steampunk Border

People throw around the term steampunk, but just below Raymond Hill's north side is a great example of the real deal. Pasadena's Department of Water and Power Glenarm Steam Plant was built 104 years ago when our region was just finding its industrial groove. You've probably admired the elegant Depression-era fountain and iconic building at the very border of South Pasadena.

Now under the umbrella of Pasadena's Integrated Resource Plan, the Glenarm Power Plant is slotted for updates and renovations, while supposedly preserving the historic integrity of the buildings and fountain. (That fountain was designed to function as the cooling tower for the generating equipment. How's that for an example of bygone ingenuity?)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Just Next Door...

San Marino may be the official city of the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, but South Pasadena is so close it feels like our very own backyard garden.

Our very own biiiiiiig backyard garden!

It only takes me about ten minutes to drive there, but once inside it's like being transported to another dimension.

Summer butterflies are fully aflutter in the Rose Garden, the sunflowers are about to bloom in the Children's Garden and the orchids are peeking out among the rocks in the recently renovated Japanese Garden.

I think the name should be changed to The Huntington Oasis.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

South Pasadena Fourth of July Festival of Balloons

There is no way that anyone in South Pasadena could possibly be reading this blog post right now ... because half the town is in the parade and the other half is watching it!

Start early with the 7:00AM Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast at the fire station, watch the parade starting at 1100AM on Mission and end the day with fireworks at 9:00PM at the high school. For full details on all the day's events, locations and times: click here.

Monday, July 2, 2012

With Feathers

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

--Emily Dickinson

Sunday, July 1, 2012


"Mommy, all I know is that if I were Santa I'd hope this family was on the naughty list. Just look at that chimney. It's impossible!"

(Today is the first day of the month and that means it's Theme Day for participating City Daily photo bloggers. Today's theme is Chimneys. For a look at some of Santa's other worldwide choices, see the contributions of my fellow bloggers. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.)