Thursday, December 30, 2010

You can't always get what you want . . .

But if you try real hard, you get what you need! In a cloud of inexperience I walked up to the volunteer coordinators today at various Float Decorating sign-in tents only to find that they were overflowing with recruits who had signed up on line, many of them months ahead. Walk-ins weren't getting in. Not wanting to walk away without having seen anything, I paid $10 for a ticket which enabled me to travel along a catwalk high above all the float making activity so that I could see what all the other volunteers were doing. I actually saw a whole lot more grazing over the activity than I would have had I been assigned to only one float. Next year, if I do a second snow bird stay in LA, I'll be sure to sign up early enough if I want some hands-on connection to the flower blossoms, seed, vegetation and all things natural that are attached meticulously to the floats by the river of volunteers who are making these giant objects (average cost per float: $300K) come alive for New Year's Day Parade in Pasadena.

Here are some scenes from my overview. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

After seven days! The rain finally stopped and x-mas appeared. Scenes of LA/Orange County at the holiday

When the rain finally stopped in Pasadena, huge wind-torn palm fronds splayed themselves along the streets.
Pasadena front yard in full display

Even though it was raining in Orange County Christmas night,
it arrived after a two day reprieve so we could bear it.

Walking along the boardwalk at Balboa Island/Newport CA on Christmas Day

My fantasy boat

Eucalyptus tree? Bark like concrete

So LA!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pacing myself into Pasadena . . .

After a mammoth effort to close down my large Somerville studio and to vacate my Boston condo in search of my snow bird Pasadena wings, I'm finding myself with an empty iCal. And it feels uncomfortable/good and uncomfortable/bad. Sleeping has been at the top of the list to recharge the batteries: physical, mental, and spiritual. A yoga studio is barely a mile away, and all the usual haunts—Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Target—not much farther. Yes, I've traveled 3K miles from home but it's not a foreign country.

Yesterday I attempted to hike the little-known Bailey Canyon in Sierra Madre, with views over the San Gabriel Valley at Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park. I got about a quarter of the way up this 3000 foot climb and turned around knowing it's best to start small and work my way up to the top. Maybe by March I'll be able to make the top but for now I'm easing in.

In any case, I felt I earned a breakfast at the local Sierra Madre coffee shop where we were serenaded by students out x-mas caroling.

Getting a library card was a lot easier and I even found—through the help of a local Altadena friend—a book group I can join. We're reading a little known Steinbeck novel, To a God Unknown which is so far reading like a biblical text.