Posted in Poesy

Inspired by Miss Havisham

Miss Havisham’s love poem to Pasadena aroused ‘Curmudgeon Kel.’ So here’s my sardonic lament.

You’re a living doll, Pasadena, a Twilight Zone special
Bashed, bloodied but breathing
Learning to wear your skyward spikes
Condos of stucco and tile, offices of glass and steel
Your mix your uses like a Bond martini—shaken, not stirred
Developers’ pockets dream to bulge
Dear girl, they’re in your bloomers
Your Greene and Greene’s shadowed, your Julia Morgan widowed
Your Ernie Junior’s deported, your Beadles plum gone
Your Bullock’s tea room a sea of furniture
Made in China.
I raise my Budweiser-sponsored Dodgers glass
(from Hooters) to your vertical growth
That train has left the station, the station itself dwarfed
The big boys from Chicago now pass you by
Their whistles meant for some other girl

Posted in Around Town, Current Events

War Protest

Thanks to a shove in the right direction from Miss Havisham, I went to the war protest at the corner of Hill and Orange Grove here in Pasadena last night.

It seemed an odd location at first, but it’s a very busy intersection and hundreds of cars passed by, many honking their support. Plus, we were in the shade!

You can see Patrick Briggs’ Flickr photo set here.

I bumped into Betty Ann Janssen, formerly Executive Director of Women at Work. I also chatted with Maria Isenberg, a Northwest commissioner who recently opened her own pet-sitting business. You can reach her at mlisenberg(at)email(dot)com.

Quote for the day: “There are two kinds of artists left: those who endorse Pepsi and those who simply won’t. –Annie Lennox

Posted in Around Town

Pasadena’s Orange Grove Boulevard

After the Rose Parade makes its famous right turn from Orange Grove Boulevard onto Colorado, Orange Grove continues northward, and makes its own sweep to the right to become a major east-west route north of the 210 freeway.

I heard that the liquor stores on Orange Grove open early, so I went to check it out Sunday morning. The infamous Super Liquors didn’t open ’til 7:00, but sure enough, Andy’s Liquor was open at 6:21 am:


You can read what the Pasadena Public Health Department found on their last visit to Andy’s here.

OG Andy’s Customers

So it’s 6:30 a.m. and I’m walking up and down Orange Grove observing the activity and feeling somewhat conspicuous. I wanted to take pictures of the people I saw: guys hanging out on the sidewalk, other guys on bikes going to work, other guys in white shirts and ties walking around with Bibles in their hands, one cocaine-thin woman with wild hair walking confidently down the sidewalk, another woman selling hot tamales across the street from Andy’s (I recommend the chicken). Business was brisk.

I asked ‘Ana’ (the tamale-seller, not her real name) if I could take her picture. She said okay so I did, but then didn’t hit the save button on my phone. I returned a few minutes later to ask again, but she said no. I realized that I didn’t want to post her picture anyway. As much as I think she has a right to sell tamales, there is a public health issue with people making food in their kitchens at home and selling it on the street. Yeah, I bought a tamale, but I would feel better if she were licensed.

I found micro-graffiti.

OG crossing graf

OG pole & sign graf

There are signs of development on this stretch of Orange Grove. Literally “signs.” This sign, at the site of Teddy Choi’s long-gone Arco station, says the project would be completed in 2006.
OG Gimeli

One loud windy night at that Arco station, my wallet was stolen from my car while I stood in line to pay, chatting to a friend I’d bumped into there. Since then, I lock my car when I’m filling up–100% of the time.

A new restaurant in the works—looks like the proprietors will fight an uphill battle against the graffiti-ists:

OG restaurant soon

I finished up my walk at the corner of Orange Grove and Fair Oaks with a little Magic:

OG Magic

Posted in Around Town, Cool Stuff

Bloggers United

Thanks to Jill, local bloggers had a meet-up yesterday. Here’s a photo of us taken by Debbi, who has just launched a new blog called Altadena Above It All:

Bloggers United ‘07

Development and change were frequent topics of conversation. The Rialto just closed and the Pacific Hastings last day is today. Both places fell in the crack between the theatres at Paseo Colorado and Netflix. One hopes the closing of the Hastings will not lead to the demise of Robin’s restaurant next door (the man himself brought ribs to our meet-up–thanks, Robin!).

It’s great to be able to meet the people behind the blogs you read, especially if you’ve blogged about the same thing as someone else. Susan (here) and Larry Wilson (here) both posted recently about the fabulous Linda Urban, former marketing director at Vroman’s and prime mover behind a writer’s workshop series at the store.  Sadly, the series evaporated when Linda moved away.   Some things were so good that you keep on missing them, even though they’ve been gone a long time.  I still miss Fedco.

We had a great time, and I’m looking forward to the next one!

Gettin’ on the link love:

Who was there – via Ed

Jill’s lovely photos are here

It was great to have a rep from La Canada (home to both our current and previous state assembly representatives).

Aaron’s take on the experience. K-Todd’s take at Under the Dome.

It was so nice to meet everyone, especially those from blogs I frequent: Rattling the Kettle, and Tableau Vivante.

Posted in Let's Get Visual, Self Care


Well, it’s late August, and my legs still aren’t tan. I haven’t been trying, so no wonder. The arms get tan on their own while the legs remain pasty. For the most part, my legs are not on public display. I know I’m the kind of white that blinds in bright sunshine. I keep my offending limbs under wraps much of the time.


The other day while watering my front yard wearing a droopy pair of shorts that expose me from the knee down, my next-door neighbor Steve pointed out that “my legs should be tan.”

Steve is an older (but not old) gentleman who says, “Hello, beautiful!” everytime he sees me. He’s a chatty, friendly neighbor who says if he ever sees anyone breaking in our house, he’s got a shotgun and he’ll use it. He’s given us camera equipment that he was no longer using, and a few weeks ago brought over a hunk of beef for us to barbeque. Once in a while, Steve will say something slightly bawdy, like “When I see you, I think twins, because I wish you had one.” I think he even asked me about my mother’s sex life the other day–I’m not sure. I instantly repressed it.

One can’t choose relatives or next-door neighbors, so one must learn to drop the hot potatoes when they are thrown. But Steve’s comment about my legs really irked me in that classic “men blurting out opinions about women inappropriately” kind of way. First of all, I was hand-watering the yard, and long pants are not the appropriate attire for that activity. Can’t I look schlumpy and white in my own front yard during a 20-minute babying-the-dead-grass session before scurrying back in the house to protect the public from my bleached-out gams?

Do I EVER tell Steve to put a shirt on when he wanders around shirtless in his front yard? No. Perhaps I should. Perhaps I should just bust right out and say, “Steve, I don’t want to see your nipples ever again. Please put them away.”


All this brings to mind what women endure every day. Looks, stares, eyeballing, whistles, comments, whispers, statements, yells. Have you, woman reader, ever crossed the street to avoid a construction site? Have you dreaded walking into a bar? Crossed your arms as eyes kept drifting downward? No wonder Hilary’s cleavage was national news.

Here is where I am supposed to say something wry and witty and feminist (insert your own comment here, or better, comment on this post!). All I can summon is that Steve is a good old boy, and he will continue to say good old boy (inappropriate) things. I will learn how to think on my feet, offer my objections to his comments without petulance. And my white legs will continue to make unscheduled appearances in the front yard. They really glow at twilight.


Posted in Cool Stuff, Let's Get Visual

Schiff Staff (& Interns)

A month ago, it dawned on me that I should get in contact with Adam Schiff’s office because I was going to be in Washington, D.C. Adam is my congressional representative and yes, he’s married to Eve. Adam is a Blue Dog Democrat.

Aaron Baird, Staff Assistant, wrote me back with the list of things for which one needs a congressional reservation: the White House (best to reserve months in advance), the Capitol, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (though you can stand in line at 8:00 am), the State Department (tour features notable works of art), and the Kennedy Center (the congressional tour lets you see the Presidential boxes and VIP lounges).

Aaron is a PUSD graduate (Marshall High School) who went on to UCLA. Here’s Aaron, hard at work.

Aaron Baird low res

Last minute, I was able to get in for a tour of the White House. But Aaron had said that the Capitol was more interesting, and he was right. Natalie Knight and Siobhan Bynum were our trusty guides. They did an excellent job.

Natalie (left) and Siobhan (right):
N & S in office

I met another intern in Adam’s office too, but the scrap of paper on which I wrote her name has disappeared. But here’s Natalie, another nice intern (Christine?), and Siobhan.


Back when CHAP was trying to get its Federally Qualified Health Center status, Adam’s staff were very helpful. So I sat at Adam’s desk and wrote him a note to thank him again.

I have great respect for Adam, and I think he’s doing a good job.

PS I have tried to get my image size under control. These are still a bit on the large size, eh? I can’t take the time to fix them now…