Posted in Writing

Sunshine on the Blather

I’ve been interviewed by none other than AP, and you can read about it here. AP notes that this blog is photo heavy, and for sure I have to give a shout out to The Scout for that.

Breckenridge Road, Bakersfield (photo by Tim Down)

An invitation – me to you. For the past few years, I’ve been attending Terrie Silverman’s Life Stories Workshop. Terrie has helped me gain confidence as a writer, and believe me, the starting place was somewhere down near the center of the earth. I still make an occasional trip into to those soul-sapping climes, like right now as I’m typing this. Still, thanks to Terrie, I’m generally breathing fresh air and maintaining this blog which has lots of photos.

We’re hosting a reading this Friday in Pasadena. There will be 7-8 writers reading their work, no more than 10 minutes each (and believe me, Terrie will not let anyone go over). Afterwards, we have wine and a nosh. Tickets are $8, but half off if you mention this blog! Susan of Cancer Banter and Open Mouth Insert Fork will be performing (not reading!) her Pole Dancing piece, and she is fabulous in person.

Date: Friday, June 13, 2008

Time: 7:30 pm

Place: Church of the Angels Parish Hall, 1100 N. Ave 64, Pasadena (south side of Church Street).  Street parking is available.  MTA bus 256.  I can give you a lift home if needed.

[ Yahoo! Maps ]

Directions to
1100 N. Avenue 64, Pasadena, CA 91105

I hope to see you there!

Posted in Let's Get Visual

Summer Light

You may have noticed this morning that summer light has arrived here in Southern California.

You know summer light is on the way when you see the jacarandas blooming.

Jacarandas at Caltech. (Photo courtesy of Eye Level Pasadena.)

We had a lot of rain this past winter, but we (meaning the able-bodied two of us in my humble abode) have not cultivated our own green thumbs.

Our back yard has been busy cultivating itself.

The lemon tree, untouched by human hands. Our style of gardening gives “organically grown” new meaning.

The inclination of the back yard is to shield us from too much summer light, knowing it to be directly related to summer heat.

That’s very kind of you, Back Yard, but you’ve outdone yourself.

You’ve subsumed the clothesline by doubling a plum tree. The clothesline is metal, Yard, and you are not. Know that you must return the clothesline to me when the time is right for me to hack the plum tree into submission. I don’t know when that time is, but I’m going to google it and find out.

You’ve let this bush go from huge to massive:

I don’t know the name of this bush. I’ll find out, I promise. In the meantime, could you please make it go to sleep? Just look (below, left side) how big it is. That is big enough, thank you.

Oh Back Yard, the Ume (Japanese apricot tree) is lovely. You know I love the white blossoms every January.

But whatever am I to do with the fruit from this tree that has been carpeting the back yard for the last couple of weeks?

I’m not going to work myself up into a lather of guilt about the fact that I’ve actually thrown quite a few of these away. But please, they are still dropping at the rate of 2 per minute. You know by now that I’m not going to make Umeshu.


Years ago, a woman who owned a Japanese restaurant in Long Beach would stop by once a year and take the apricots—she made Umeshu. She may have retired; I don’t know. Here’s Ume for Beginners if you want to have a go. If you’re local, I’ll drop the fruit off to you.

I know I’m very fortunate to have a plot of earth to call my own. One of these days, it would be nice to rise to the occasion of actually taking care of it. I mean, a bit better than I do. Does one grow into this sort of thing? (pun – ouch) Will I wake up one day and long to be in the garden instead of reading a book?

In the meantime, there are those who regularly inspire me with their domestic aplomb. Each of them understands deeply the garden-to-table connection:

The Fabulous Kitty – Check out her blog post on how to make biscuits.

Pasadena Housewife

Tableau Vivante

A Thinking Stomach

and of course Miss “All Politics is Personal” Havisham, aka Purple Wysteria Hysteria Chili Queen of Sierra Madre

Posted in England, Travel

Old Blighty – Part 7 (The End)

London is not like the rest of England, just like New York City isn’t like any other place in the US of A. So if you really want the full meal deal, I’d recommend some time in London, and some time out of it. Most people go to Oxford, but Cambridge is much prettier (and relatively close to London). There are many other outstanding cities to visit: York, Chester and Bath leap to mind. There are dozens of others as well.

Traveling with an older person magnified the quick pace of London vs the pace of the rest of the country. Here’s my dad in Savile Row, his own sartorial splendour courtesy of the National Press Club, contemplating the meaning of “bespoke tailors.”

We ended up in Savile Row because I happened to read that Linda McCartney’s photographs were on view at the James Hyman Gallery (5 Savile Row).

(sorry, that’s a bit crooked, and I can’t take the time to fix it…)

One of the greatest things about travel is the serendipity of stumbling upon things. After we went to Hamley’s to buy the Tardis coin collector (piggy bank for you Yanks), it was an easy walk to see this exhibition. A perfect thing to do in the morning before going to Heathrow for an afternoon flight.

Heathrow’s Terminal 5. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seemed like we checked in, dropped the luggage, then had to go up two long escalators, only to walk through a large, expensive retail area, then find our way back down another escalator to get to the correct gate.

I hope to be back in that green and pleasant land soon.

Here endeth the Old Blighty series. Cheerio!