Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Earthquake damage!!!

Guess I'd better finally plant it

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lasagna with toppings

Week two of the lasagna garden experiment. Messy looking, but tomatoes seem ok, and there are a few blooms. Cukes & zukes look a little sad during the day, but perk up at night. Still have the little flies -- I could say there are fewer, but that's probably denial. Spread some of the excess paper/alfalfa/straw in the other beds, and a two-year old meyer lemon almost seems to have doubled in size in just one week. Yuckiest thing: Some evil looking mushrooms I pull up every morning. At least the dogs are now disenchanted with the box, so I can't blame any failures on them.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dr. Dolittle, I presume

The Altadanish are an exotic lot, both human and otherwise. Several flocks of feral parrots provide 6 a.m. wakeup calls. They scream from branch to branch, tree to tree, HEY! WHAT? I SAID HEY! WHAT? WHAT? They seem a happy bunch -- hysterical, actually. But this is the wild, wild west, and drama happens. Dave hand-raised these parrots from infancy after their mother met a raccoon. Now, at three months, the kids are obviously all right.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Not chic

Ok, so my hiking attire is shabby. And maybe there's a hole here and there. But I have two things Debbie doesn't: A dog and the water.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fashion statement from Echo Mountain

Where is she? Well give her a minute.

While hiking Echo trail, should a stranger ring the cell phone and say "uhhhh, what are you wearin'," Debbie can describe the red striped shirt with matching red shoelaces. Perfect ensemble to celebrate mile 2. Onward and up up upward.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lasagna gardening

Trying out the no-dig garden, one raised bed at a time. This means an untreated wood frame with a few layers of newspaper on bottom. The paper is supposed to lure worms and other beneficials to the surface. Per a profile in LA Times, the next step is some bone meal, but since I have a horse and access to all a horse can produce, I used composted manure/wood shavings. Then flakes of alfalfa hay topped by flakes of straw. Some more manure and a little bat -- what's the polite term -- guano?, and then about four inches of compost.

Right now it looks like a large messy coffin, made no better by my digging dog. (Apparently bat shit is a labrador delicacy.) And there are some teeny little creatures flying a landing pattern over the coffin all day long.

Hope this gets better with age.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

All the Sunday mornings of the world

Even though I'm ungainfully

unemployed, I still value Sunday mornings. A favorite walk is down Santa Rosa to Pine, then Altadena Drive to Tanoble, and back via Alta Loma.

Pine Street in Altadena is odd -- a mixture of old time Altadena and urban decay, all on one short block. And then the Altadena Drive mansions punctuated by, well, I'm just guessin', foreclosures. Hey, that shouldn't be the punctuation. How about some beautiful boulders.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dressed for success

Debbie H.'s first trek up the Echo Mountain trail in more than 15 years. As she pointed out, her hiking attire is trail-appropriate and color coordinated. (Let's see how she looks when we hit mile 2.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What, me worry?

I think everyone has a daily anxiety quota. Some can take this mortal coil with a grain of salt and a big smile. They really enjoy the ride and it doesn't matter if banks are failing, bees are dying, a tire's flat, or the toilet is overflowing. For others, no day is safe; no day is easy. Life is just a succession of potential calamities, and if the newest calamity isn't hanging its hat on something of international importance, then a personal problem will do. Leaky toilet! Termites!

And as with homosexuality, anxiety-level is not a lifestyle choice. Not sure if it's nature or nurture, most things are both. But given the choice, no one would choose sweaty palms, sleepless nights, worry.

I think anxiety stems from the attempt to stay one step ahead of the game AND caring about the outcome. You know you'll kick yourself (probably at 3 a.m. for many nights in succession) if you don't guess right. If you lose.

So, here are a couple of role models -- you choose one. (Even tho Phoebe was obviously too tard to moddel).

Monday, July 14, 2008

All the mornings of the world

If I'm not working (and lately I'm not), I usually take a swing up to Echo Mountain. But if I'm not there, I'm probably on a three mile or so walk along the foothill streets -- Alta Loma, Loma Alta (can never remember which), then maybe to Porter, back home by Altadena Drive and up Lake. Along the way there's some pretty wild stuff for a city that's only a few miles from L.A. Here's a grove of olive trees. Over a hundred years old? They're feral -- receive no care of any kind. The county probably owns the land. Then there's this cabin that may not be here a year from now...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Well, let's see...

A couple of years ago I took some photos of Pasadena places that were on their way out. I was right. They're gone. I'll post the results as well. This probably was a barn at some point, located near Pasadena Av and Green Street.

Monday, July 7, 2008

There are no second acts in American life -- someone said that, or something like that. Whoever it was (Fitzgerald?), I really hope he was wrong. Or I'm in trouble. After several x several x several years with The Times, I quit last week. The last position I held gave me the best title, the best pay in lo those many years, but it was a filthy job. Remember the PSA's from a few years back where kids said "I want to be a dancer," "I want to be a doctor", and then the voice-over "No one ever says he wants to be a junkie when he grows up." So, too, no one ever says he (or in this case, she) wants to work in customer service. But there I found myself, trading my life away for a decent salary and good benefits.

My fault I know, because I settled into a job for which I had no sympathy or apptitude.

Fortunately, I stashed a few bucks in the bank (not Indy Mac, thank God!) and it's pretty much now or never. I weighed hanging on to a job I really hated vs cutting the ties, losing the security, and trying to figure out a new direction. Hell, a whole new map.

So I'm making lists: What do I like, what makes me happy, what is significant. And, since I'm woefully short on discipline, I'm also making a schedule to carry me through the first few weeks. Echo Mountain hike in the morning, one hour writing, one hour gardening, one hour on financial matters, and a two mile run at night. Wave if you see me huffing and puffing down the streets of Altadena. I might soon be poor, but I'll be fit.