Posted in Around Town, Writing

WriteGirl in Pasadena

Thanks to Susan, I’ve known about a wonderful organization called WriteGirl for some time. Now it’s time for me introduce you to WriteGirl:

WriteGirl is a nonprofit organization for high school girls centered on the craft of creative writing and empowerment through self-expression. Through one-on-one mentoring and monthly workshops, girls are given techniques, insights and hot tips for great writing in all genres from professional women writers.

In case you missed Susan’s lovely post, let me also invite you to a fun event happening at the Pasadena Playhouse on Sunday, May 3: Continue reading “WriteGirl in Pasadena”

Posted in Issues

The Doctor is Out

My friend A is in the hospital. She had major surgery (hysterectomy) last September, and since then she has faithfully obeyed her physician’s instructions and kept all her follow-up appointments.

But something wasn’t right, and A knew it. She told the doc she was having pain. She was sent to another office for tests but when she got there she was told, “We don’t do that kind of test here.” (I’m leaving out some stuff here because I’m not clear on the complete sequence of events.) Finally A’s physician recommended that she go to the ED (emergency department—the current parlance is that the ER is now called ED). Continue reading “The Doctor is Out”

Posted in Travel, WTF?

Very Large Array

We didn’t make it to the Gila Cliff dwellings as I had hoped. One must look at the larger context here—The Scout was driving from Arkansas in the “late model” Oldsmobile Intrigue that his mother gave him (“late model” meaning, in this case, “no longer in existence”). He’d spent three weeks with his mom helping her prepare to sell her house and move into an assisted living facility in South Carolina. Major detours to historically significant sites aren’t the wisest choice on the tail end of the emotional upheaval (and fatigue) that accompanies major life changes.

On the other hand, minor detours are not out of the question.

nm-vla-scout-11

Continue reading “Very Large Array”

Posted in Current Events, Travel

Cliff Dwellers

gilacliffs

Photo credit: National Park Service

I’m on the road with The Scout in New Mexico, which is pretty much an 11 on the 1 to 10 scale of life. We’re in Albuquerque, yes we ate at Sadie’s, and now we’re on our way to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings and ponder life before running water, penicillin, and cool, crisp, dry champagne.

No home-grown photos yet, because yours truly forgot the cord thingy that makes uploads happen. However, one does travel with one’s most recent New Yorker (April 13, 2009). In the Talk of the Town item “The Bench: The Bush Six” I read about Phillipe Sands’s book “Torture Team” which posits that Bush administration officials may one day “get a tap on the shoulder announcing that they were being arrested on international charges of torture.” So I was dismayed (disheartened, horrified, sickened) to hear today that the Obama administration won’t be pursuing the purveyors of torture. This is truly disappointing from a man who spoke so eloquently against torture in the Senate back on 2006.

Obama is a great peacemaker, smoother-over kind of guy, but this was one issue to take on—an issue above politics. Taking on those who sanctioned torture would demonstrate to the world that (1) We Americans know we blew it on this one, and, (2) We are going to do everything we can to ensure we never do it again. Obama got rid of waterboarding, etc during his first week in office. Not prosecuting those responsible for torture is tacit complicity with the “bad apples” (<– that’s a Slate article by Sands) excuse of the last administration. And it leaves the door open: What will the next president do?

On to the cliffs we go.

Posted in Current Events, Issues

Secret Fear

I have been an environmentalist for a long time. I say that most advisedly, since I own an internal combustion automobile, and I live in the US of A, and at least twice this year I have left the grocery store with the kind of bag that is generally banned in places like Europe and San Francisco.

My secret fear is that the current problem with the economy is that the the jig is up. By that I mean that we have tapped out the environment, and the economy will never fully recover.

Consider:

1. There is a direct, if intricate, relationship between the environment and the ability of businesses to make money.

2. The environment has its own regenerative capacity, but aggressive human activity has pushed it over the line (earth = pair of old knees).

3. Scientists predict environmental changes, but cannot agree on them. Freeman Dyson not withstanding, it is clear that the climate is changing more rapidly than it has in the past. I’ve recommended that you go to Montana before (before it’s too late, that is)—in one of the earliest posts on this blather. Some photos by The Scout here.

Change is constant. Dealing with change is difficult. Some things change for the better, some for the worse. Sometimes we think something is changing for the worse, but it actually changing for the better.

If the current economic slowdown catastrophe results in our treating the environment like our pas-de-deux partner rather than our ho, that’s a change for the better.

The economy, the environment – such gigantic problems. No wonder infotainment is a growth industry. If you are going to face the news of the day, wouldn’t you rather have Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s writers have a go at it first and drag it through their humor mill?

I want to do the things I can do to be a responsible consumer, to be at least a fair-to-middling environmentalist. Is it really going to make a difference if I take the bus once or twice a week? Give up my car completely? Is it going to make any difference whether I recycle the church bulletins or not?

I want and need to believe that even small things will make a difference. I don’t want to be holier-than-thou about them. I need encouragement to do those things that seem infinitesimal in the broader context, because if I continue to do them consistently and repeatedly, it will make a (teeny-tiny) difference. And if you do some of the three R’s too, our cumulative effort will make a (slightly less small) difference. We need more emphasis on reduce and reuse. Perhaps all these things will work together to give the earth longevity (3 R’s for earth = knee reconstruction surgery?).

How can we use the current economic crisis to build the future economy on a model that sustains the earth’s resources? Do humans even have the capacity to do this?

In the meantime, I’ll be the one who carries a glass container for her restaurant leftovers. Something is better than nothing. The acknowledged illusion of control appeals to me more than the despair that comes from resigning myself to being a pawn of forces beyond my control. Call it my one last middle class luxury.

Posted in Altadena, Cool Stuff, Let's Get Visual

Why I Love the Internet: Reason #3

I have a lot of work at the moment, which is good, but I feel that I’m neglecting this blog. Frankly, I’m neglecting your blog too. I’ll try to catch up this weekend.

Why I love the Internet Reason #3: This morning I woke up singing “Lonely Boy” — it just popped into my head. (Sadly, the version in that link above is missing the all-important high note at the end. This is all I can find.) People, that song is classic 70’s pop. I love those lyrics, riddled with shameless sibling rivalry. Lonely Boy is a song that can really be belted out in the shower or your local karaoke bar.

Andrew Gold is the singer/songwriter. But did you know that his mother is Marni Nixon? And did you know she was born Margaret McEathron in Altadena in 1930? I didn’t, and now I do, and that’s Reason #3 why I love the Internet. AND Andrew’s father was Ernest Gold, a composer who worked on countless film and television scores, including one of my all time favs, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. (Fav line: Lennie Pike: But… this is a little girl’s bike. This is for a little girl.)

Now, let’s peek into this kitchen.

kitchenofires

It’s lovely in a timeless 20th century sort of way, isn’t it?