Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Seeing Red

Duarte, CA -- A major car accident occurred last Friday resulting in two deaths and a few minor injuries. It happened at 5:47am Friday morning, and by 3:00PM, that same day, the freeway was still mostly closed. The 210 is a major artery through the San Gabriel Valley, and when it closes, all the side streets become jammed.

I was on my way up to the lake and got stuck in a two-hour traffic jam. I was feeling very impatient! But then I thought about the families and friends who are missing as a result of the tragedy and soon I wasn't "seeing red" as I was before.

I took a few photos during my two-hour, 2-mph average drive and took this photo at an intersection.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lake Arrowhead

Life is good on the lake!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

VW Arachnid

Palm Springs is best known for it's fair weather, golf courses and desert playground. But did you know that every March around this time, the illusive Beetle Spider emerges from it's hole to terrify innocent tourists as they pass by? And you thought only Texas can boast of "big."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Death of The City

I was never a loyal Circuit City shopper, I preferred Best Buy. Nevertheless, it's always sad to watch an old icon fail.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A to Z in the USA

Some say the city name, Azusa has everything from A to Z in the... yeah, I hardly think so. But soon, the Metro Gold Line will be extending its track to the Canyon City, about 15 miles from Los Angeles.

I am so glad this little train depot was spared. It's art deco design is reminiscent of the glory days of train travel before commercial flight went mainstream. I would imagine the city will use this structure again, hopefully as a centerpiece for the new train in town.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Another Discriminating Sign Discovered

You would think by now someone would have complained enough for the store owner to remove any sign of discrimination! What's next, the Yuppies?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Never Forget

I took this photo on June 21, 2008. Just a reminder...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Double Trouble

Pasadena -- Poison oak entangled with cactus; a dangerous combination. I found this nasty duo along a trail in Eaton Canyon the other day. Anyone who missed a step would find themselves in a world of hurt for days if not weeks.

But today is St. Patrick's Day and I thought the green was fitting.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Hey, Soccer Moms!

Venice Beach, CA -- I ran into this guy while on boardwalk and had to get his photo. Depending on the person, environment and/or my mood, I will ask for the photo. This time, I pointing my lens and yelled out, "Are you serious?" while talking multiple shots.

His smile and stance is his initial reaction. You've gotta love it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


A cool day under cloudy skies didn't keep hikers and rock-hoppers away from Eaton Canyon. The little boy above was getting a verbal lashing by his parents for getting his shoes wet. But we all know that getting our feet wet is half the fun.

Eaton Canyon is in Pasadena, at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains--six minutes from my home base. During strong rain storms, the canyon floods, turning boulders, trees and even an occasional building down its swollen banks. Days like today, families, joggers and bird-watchers fill the trails and water ways with the sounds of frogs, dogs and people laughing.

It was a great day not unlike many winter afternoons in Southern California.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Richard's Last Ride

Yorba Linda, CA -- Sometimes we live near famous places but never visit. I heard of the Nixon Library many times but never took the time to stop by.

During lunch, I decided to follow the signs from the freeway to the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum. I didn't have time to go in but I did wander around the perimeter, taking photos of Dick's Helicopter. Other than the cheep weather stripping on the door, the chopper was in pretty good shape.

The photo on the left is of Nixon saying goodbye to the White House staff from the door of his Sikorsky VH-3A Sea King helicopter, on August 9, 1974.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sky Palm Motel

Orange, CA -- There is a part of me that's wants to stay here just to say that I did.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Playhouse

Sierra Madre, CA -- In the Summer 1970, my buddies and I went to see the Disney film, The Boatniks at the local theater. We paid our two bucks (I'm guessing) and choose our seats from a selection of about 50 velour fold-down chairs with bubble gum stuck to the bottom. Those were the days when our mom's would set us kids free all day to play. Of course we didn't have cell phones, only walkie-talkies that had a range to Ronnie's house--maybe Brad's at best.

After a full day of roaming the city sidewalks, toy stores and dirt lots, we wandered back home in time for Mom's Hamburger Helper, Craft Macaroni and Cheese and a tall glass of whole milk. Of course the conversation centered around the movie we watched at the Sierra Madre Theater.

The theater house became The Sierra Made Playhouse nine years later, featuring fantastic productions from the local talent pool.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Certain dogs have a way of making our spirits a little brighter. Others remind us our sadness. But some simply make us grin.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Old North Chuch

Sierra Madre, CA -- Built in 1890, the Old North Church still stands proud on a hill with the San Gabriel Mountains as a backdrop. I used to attend a large singles Bible study in the 90s (not to be confused with the 1890s...). Although the interior has been modified and is devoid of pews, an organ and elderly church ladies with too much makeup and perfume, it still serves a noble purpose. I drive by the antique house of worship at least three days a week and still marvel at it's charm.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Farther up The Canyon

Sierra Madre, CA -- I went back to The Canyon today, talking to people, trying to capture the mood of this foothill village on film. The license plate above tells me people here have a sense of pride of their town.

I spoke to a couple (left) who I met last August on a night hike to Echo Mountain. They are affiliated with The Nature Friends here in Sierra Madre and invited me to a poetry reading up the road. Unfortunately, I had other commitments--hopefully next time!

I also chatted with a homeowner while working on the roof of his home. He gave me a bit of history of the area while painting his 1904 clapboard house.

In yesterdays entry, Haven for the Uncommon, I mentioned the interesting and somewhat eclectic homes. Words were not enough to describe so I brought back a few examples. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Haven For The Uncommon

Not far from Downtown Los Angeles is the small town of Sierra Madre. Founded in the 1880s and incorporated in 1907, Sierra Madre is a pioneer town built on the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Many buildings still stand from that era, making this township a nice place to drive through, walk or stop for a cup of coffee.

But not many know about The Canyon. As you drive up towards the mountain, the road narrows, the trees become more dense and the homes unique. Hairpin turns wind up the steep, single-lane ways with eye-catching vistas and dwellings looking more like cabins or tree houses than your typical LA home.

Five minutes down the hill lies "Metropolis," but up here, one can find serenity, fresh air and even a grin of discovery on a newcomer's face. Many residents still display their Obama banners, stickers and homemade signs. In fact, there is a lot of "home made" around these parts. This is an art community--individualist in Birkenstocks, peace signs and Subarus, expressing their creativity in a most beautiful wooded community.

Me? On nice days like today, I don my cargo shorts, Birks and ride the Vespa into the enchanted sanctuary of Sierra Madre Canyon and try to blend in....

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tunnel of Love

"Love is the flower of life, and blossoms unexpectedly and without law, and must be plucked where it is found, and enjoyed for the brief hour of its duration." --D.H Lawrence

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Mexican Border

This morning, I cross into what some consider a "war zone." For those not involved with drugs and/or prostitution, they should be fine. I sell components to manufacturers, one of which is in Tijuana about five miles south of the Mexican/USA border. So far, I've not run into trouble, but still it's always a good feeling to cross back onto American soil. See you on the other side...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Making Lemonade out of Lemons

Our economy may be in a world of hurt but this little gal was making a killing on her lemonade stand. By the time I came back with 50-cents, she had already made over $22, including tips...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Smiling in Sunny California

Winter in California: there is good reason to smile about the weather!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Green Linx

Another gem of an arachnid! A green linx in my front garden. I took this one in September...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Balboa Island

Balboa Island -- One of the many advantages of living in Southern California is our weather. A few days ago our mountains received about 2-feet of snow (about a 40-minute drive from home in Pasadena, CA), and today, in less than an hour from home, I went scuba diving in 80-degree (f) sunshine!

Although Orange County is sometimes associated with glitz and excess money, it is also known for it's simple charm and friendly people.

Balboa Island has changed very little since I was first pushed in a stroller down Main Street. Forty seven years later, Dads (above), home of the "Original Balboa Bar" is still there, as is many retirees who have made the Island their home since the 40s.

Ruby (left) and her husband have been on the island since before I was born. She and her husband built their second home behind her in 1972. Ruby said the lot they built on used to be a volleyball court. With lots selling for over $2 million, there are not too many million-dollar volleyball courts to be found anymore.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Orange County, CA -- During a walk around Balboa Island, I couldn't help but hear a weak, yet endearing bark from behind a fence. A small, cartoonish dog with stiff legs and a gray face was militantly defending his land. Some people laughed as they walked by, ignoring the impish canine. I couldn't resist stopping.

I soon learned from Alfy's "mom" that he is ten years old and has endured 2 surgeries. Alfy won my heart and vote for "Best Face" in February of 2009.

Balboa is a small, congested yet charming island of multimillion-dollar cottages built between the early 1900s and late 1940s. Many homes have been built and rebuilt since, leaving no more than a few lots about the size of a double-wide. One lot was selling for $2 million. More to come on Balboa Island...