Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Alligator in the Avocado

We see many alligator lizards around here and I've posted about these reptiles before.   This is the first time I have seen one in a tree.   It is a little hard to spot, but this alligator lizard has kind of wrapped itself on the limb of an avocado tree. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 4th -- America the Beautiful

In 1893, poet and Wellesley College professor, Katharine Bates, came west to teach summer school at Colorado College.   The young professor was inspired by her train trip from New England, a trek to the top of Pikes Peak and by the fertile expanse of this country.   She penned a poem that first appeared in the Congregationalist magazine to commemorate July 4, 1895.  Bates continued to revise the work and, in 1911, arrived at the  final version of the lyrics to America the Beautiful.

Bates continued writing and teaching and passed away in 1929.   After it was published, her poem was quickly put to music and became enormously popular across the country.   Through her life, the professor, gave free permission "hundreds and thousands" of times to  use her American the Beautiful lyrics.   Later in life, she reflected on her poem's enduring popularity.   She wrote that the “hold as it has upon our people, is clearly due to the fact that Americans are at heart idealists, with a fundamental faith in human brotherhood.

America the Beautiful 

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine!

O Beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Bear Damage

Our first bear damage of the season -- broken fence stringer.  The lower rung of the fence was no match for the weight of the bear.   CA Fish and Wildlife says black bears typically weigh 100-200 pounds for adult females and 150-350 pounds for adult males, though California black bears have been weighed at more than 600 pounds.  These are big animals. 

How do I know it was a bear that  broke the fence?   Well, ,our trash can (with bear proof latch) was knocked over and there was a pile of bear poop steps from the fence.   

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Remembering Winter Rains

Before we get too far into summer, I wanted to recall the winter rains.   We rarely get rainbows here, but with all  the rain, we had them in February.  

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Eaton Wash

Lots of water today flowing down Eaton Wash.  

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sunrise Over East Pasadena

Sunrise earlier this week, looking east from my office near Lake Ave. and Colorado Blvd.  Among the many benefits of last week's clouds and rain.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

An Afternoon with My City in Your City

View from the Green House at Zorthian Ranch,
overlooking Altadena, Pasadena and downtown Los Angeles

Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending a "My City in Your City" brunch presented by architect David Wolf.   As was appropriate for the subject, the event was held in the foothills overlooking Altadena and Pasadena.

Wolf related the story of "My City," a 1916 exhibit in Pasadena designed to secure public input for future plans for the city.  The exhibit ran for six weeks and was attended by more than 8,000 people.   Quite a turnout considering the entire city population back then was about 40,000.

Mr. Wolf's presentation is entertaining, educational, insightful and inspiring.   He has reached back in Pasadena history, found greatness, and brought it forward for our use today.    There is a lot to take away from the My City story.   More information is at the My City website and Facebook.  


The presentation reminded me of just how highly residents of a century ago regarded this city and how lofty were their ambitions.   Materials included a 1916 Pasadena Star News article describing the My City effort.  The Star News writer, Henry James, refers to Pasadena as "one of the beauty spots of the continent" and goes on to describe the My City experience as one that will "obtain the cooperation of the citizens in choosing the best out of the good; in deciding what shall be done first and of proving to them that it is within their power to do anything they please."

I was also reminded of "Imagine a Great City," which was the theme for public meetings in the early 1990's which led to the 1994 Pasadena General Plan.    As a relative newcomer to Pasadena, I was taken by the theme -- it invited creativity and communicated a public spirit, enthusiasm and expectation that we could help make Pasadena that great city.    Maybe it wouldn't work in other cities.  Others might aspire to be good cities or nice cities.  But, with it's beautiful natural setting, its neighborhoods, trees, Civic Center, remarkable history, and past example of reaching for lofty goals, it seemed fitting that Pasadena would aspire to be a great city.