Posted in Altadena, Books, Friends

Bookishly Yours

My friend Karin passed away two months ago. She wasn’t one to share her troubles so her friends didn’t know she was ill. At her passing, we were gobsmacked. If you knew her or read her writing, you know how clever and funny she was.

She really was. She hated links in blog posts but she’ll have to endure this one: Altadena Hiker

Generally speaking, books–the physical things that have spines and pages and take up space–well, those wonderful objects now rest in the delicate balance between “These are the best objects ever” and “What ever will we do with all these?”

Karin departed with no plan for her earthly possessions. On the last day her house was being emptied, I rescued her books from the dumpster. I don’t have room for any more books so I’ve been driving them around in my car all week. Along with her dusty leather jacket and a London Fog raincoat she wore in the 80’s. And a wall hanging that covered a big hole in her bedroom wall. It looked as if she’d given that wall a good kick.

Her books: gardening, gardening in southern California, hiking, hiking in southern California, the history of southern California, cook books, classic novels, a coffee table book about Norway (her parents were emigrees), a sprinkling of favorite childhood books (Caddie Woodlawn, Betsy in Spite of Herself). Jhumpa Lahiri might be pleased to know that she was quite literally snatched off the dump-bound truck, along with “Making the San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban Development and White Privilege” by Laura Barraclough.

One of the guys cleaning out the house asked if I were going to give the books to a library. My mind flashed on the huge library sale scheduled for the weekend. Even libraries are shedding their books these days.

I don’t know what to make of a world without physical books. I don’t know what to make of a world without Karin.

Posted in Altadena, Friends, Uncategorized

Community

You wrote that you were ill, but knowing how private you are I didn’t ask you to elaborate. Even asking a simple question would have felt like prying. So I didn’t ask. Nor did I offer help. But this post is not about beating myself up after the fact.

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Cultured, well-read, well-travelled, funny and clever. You had your theories about life and people, and they always rang true. You had a command of words. Your writing was funny, wistful, charming…

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I found this book on your desk, and it is a shame you are not in it. But you wrote about your own mother in this post. Brilliant.

— * * * —

Tim wrote a poem for you:

When walking on a hardwood floor,
she preferred to be bare-footed.
When sharing foodie wonders more
Green lipped mussels would be assure-ed.
Her sport ‘twixt equus and tennis soared
with blinding thought awareness.
Karin, your somber, elegant vibe
hiked out in blogger even-fairness.
To all such fancy we celebrate
the watchful eye you fathomed,
Whilst conjuring life’s circuitous course,
A leaping o’er the chasm.
Posted in Altadena, Around Town

Pizza of Venice

Pizza of Venice has arrived in Altadena, CA.  It’s been around long enough to garner rave reviews on Yelp.

Say what you will about economic recovery.  When a place like Pizza of Venice opens on Fair Oaks Avenue in Altadena, there’s good reason to rejoice.

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When the “Fungi” pizza goes for $7.00 (the one on the left), there’s even more reason to rejoice (mushrooms, caramelized onions, goat cheese, no sauce).  The chicken curry pizza on the left (the special on the day I visited) was $13.00.  It was appropriately spicy and delicious.

Congrats to Sean and Jamie, the owners.  Shout out to Leo for his expertise in the kitchen.

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Pizza of Venice, 2545 N. Fair Oaks Avenue, Altadena, CA 91001.  Telephone: 626-765-9636.

Posted in Altadena, Pasadena

Black History Parade 2012

Happy 30th Anniversary to Pasadena’s Black History Parade.

The bands played…

The politicians waved and smiled…

Mayor Bill Bogaard

Pasadena’s City Council District 1 Representative Jacquie Robinson

I was busy talking to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Pasadena) when he went by—more on that later

State Assembly Member Anthony Portantino, with a bold wardrobe choice—a John Muir HS cap

There were smiles all around

Lady Edna Bluain, honored by the Jackie Robinson Seniors.

Denise Jones of the Pasadena Deltas

There were drummers…

and the Pasadena Cowgirls…

There were celebrities…

Willard Pugh, who played Harpo in The Color Purple

Walter Richards on the right.  Didn’t catch the name of the young man on the left (but if you know, please leave it in the comments)

The Buffalo Soldiers

The kids

the youth

the Masons

the Real Ryda’z

and the Way of Life Car Club

Back to Rep. Adam Schiff—-I said hello and then pointed out that he had a hard act to follow, since his car was right behind the one carrying the Los Angeles County Foster Mother of the Year.

She is a real hero.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make the parade a successful one.

Posted in Altadena, Poesy

Fruit of the Vine

First, Altadena Hiker posts this lovely photo (you can read the original post here—it’s quite nice):

Tomato envy is a big deal in these out-West parts.  Oh, we feign niceness, we pepper each other with niceties.  But let’s face it, the green thumbs out here (I am not in their number) are in pitched battle to grow the Best Tomato West of the Rockies.

I don’t care who’s growing.  Tomatoes are better back east.  There.  I’ve said it.

The Scout has been growing Early Girls and Purple Cherokees this summer, but his plants are too much stalk without enough broad leaf.  Is he over-watering?  His admiration for the Hiker’s tomatoes resulted in the following (to the tune of California Girls by the Beach Boys):

Well east coast fruits are hip
I really dig the red they wear
And the southern shades with the way they stalk
They knock me out how well they bear

The mid-west beef marauders really make me eat a fright
And the northern looms are the heirs so fair
They keep the palate warm and bright

I wish they all could be ‘Dena Hiker’s
I wish they all could be ‘Dena Hiker’s
I wish they all could be Hiker’s early girls

What The Scout lacks in green thumbery is made up for by clever wordsmithery.  He’s my Best Boy.

Posted in Altadena, Pasadena

Hahamongna: You Cannot Be Serious

The majority of recent housing development in Pasadena has been about getting people into high-density structures near public transportation. Take the Del Mar Gold Line station, for example. If you draw a half-mile circle around the Del Mar station, you’ll see how much new (and pricey) housing has sprouted up within walking distance.

I suggest that Pasadena uses the same logic when it comes to building soccer fields. Let’s put them in neighborhoods where people can walk or bike to them. Let’s make soccer fields accessible to families who may not have a car for every driving-aged person in the house.

The field at the north side of John Muir High School has been used for soccer for a long time. Why not develop that into something permanent? What about other schools? Other sites nearer to where people live?

Taking a relatively pristine natural area, an area contiguous with the Angeles National Forest, and paving it over with a parking lot to serve a soccer field makes no sense. The area is a natural watershed—let’s keep it that way.

Did you know that JPL is a Superfund site? Here’s the web site. They are working with the City of Pasadena to build a treatment plant “to help restore lost water resources to that community and to help remove groundwater chemicals originating at the site of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.” This is yet another reason to keep the Hahamongna watershed free of any further development.

Read more from my compatriots. I’ve tried to include links to the relevant posts:

Altadena Above It All – Cha cha cha!

Altadena Hiker – Let It Be

A Thinking Stomach – Something Precious

East of Allen – Keep It Natural

Finnegan Begin Again – Hahamongna Watershed Park

LA Creek Freak

Mendolonium – Hahamongna

Mr. Earl’s Musings – Words will not be minced!

My Life with Tommy – Hahamongna: Wisdom & Gift

Pasadena Adjacent – Hahamongna

Pasadena Daily Photo – Hahamongna Blog Day

Pasadena Latina

SaveHahamongna.org

Selvege – Hahamongna Blog Day

The Sky Is Big In Pasadena – Hahamongna Blog Day