Friday, November 25, 2011

Would you like pepper spray or a cup of tea with your shopping experience?

The LA Times is reporting that police are still looking for a woman who pepper sprayed other shoppers at an LA area Walmart.   The attack took place on Thanksgiving at 10 pm when Walmart started its Black Friday sales.  Twenty people, including children, were injured.  After the attack, the woman reportedly secured the X Box she was after, paid for the item and disappeared.   

Apparently nobody stopped the attack and NOBODY CAUGHT THE ATTACKER?   Why not?  Were shoppers and Walmart employees so fixed on buying and selling bargains that they just let the attacker go? There appear to be dozens who saw the spray attack take place.   But no one was willing to step up and do their civic duty?  The report was that people unaffected by the spray just kept on shopping.      

Walmart's new slogan: "Save Money.  Live Better.  But Watch Out for the Pepper Spray."

Personally, I prefer the world according to Websters Fine Stationers.   Spend just a little time on their super-active Facebook and you get a flavor of what's going on.  Owners Scott and Lori Webster sell fine stationery, books, gifts, and a host of goods from local artisans.  The are deeply committed to offering great quality locally made goods.   They're carrying our Pasadena-made HomeBody Botanicals products.   And, they are  staking out a place on the national map --  none other than the Wall Street Journal just interviewed them for a story on independent businesses.   Folks who live in the 'Denas actuallly do make some pretty great stuff.  If you prefer locally made stuff, you need to check out Websters.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Brown Pelicans at Bolsa Chica Wetlands
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  In past years' Thanksgiving posts, I've included photos of wild turkeys that I took near Auburn in Northern Cal.   This year, I'm going with the pelicans.  And a little story.    

November 6 was going to be a big day.   That was the day of Marcia's first Patchwork Indie Arts and Crafts show.  Set in Long Beach, it would be her first outdoor show and we hoped for big things.

Now, small businesses are a labor of love.   Marcia's HomeBody Botanicals is no exception.  And, as small business owners know, their ventures have a way of becoming family affairs.   So, her labor of love has spilled over to the whole family, and, in a way, all four of us have been working the business since it started more than a year ago at the Altadena Urban Farmer's Market.   

So, after a late night doing the final touches, early November 6, we all got up loaded the van and headed south to Long Beach.    Our expectations were high.   But, while driving on the 605, it started to rain.  By the time we reached the Marine Stadium in Long Beach, it was pouring.   The storm had arrived and showed no signs of letting up.

We found our assigned 10 x 10 space -- next to a boat storage area and under a couple of inches of water.  Marcia and I hauled out the deceptively-named "e-z up"  and with our 13 and 8 year olds, we started the set up.  There is simply no way to raise an e-z up in the rain without getting soaked and soon we were all cold and wet from head to toe.   The kids were great -- both helping and game as could be.  Still, midway through set up, our 8 year old broke.   She just stood in the rain and cried.   I could hardly blame her.   

So, that's how our much anticipated big day started.  

But, eventually, things got better.  By afternoon, the sun was out and crowds of people slogged through the fair.  There was music, great food and dozens of vendors, like us, offering homemade crafts and goods.    Really, the Patchworks shows are interesting places and if you haven't gone, you should.

Anyway, when things settled down and dried out, the kids and I spent the afternoon exploring.  We made our way down PCH to Bolsa Chica and walked the trails through.the wetlands.   The variety of birds there is  amazing and, after the rain, the wetlands were teaming with activity.   In particular, it was fun to watch the pelicans as they fished by diving beak first into the water.  

As it happened, we were at the wetlands about an hour before sundown and the light was perfect for photography.   As we walked the foot bridges and trails, we passed many photographers outfitted with big time equipment and scanning the wetlands for pictures.    

I stopped on the footbridge and took my place among a line of folks poised with their tripods and telescopic lenses.  I reached into my sweatshirt pocket and pulled out my little Canon Power Shot.   So there I stood among the tripods. But, you know, this pair of pelicans rose up from the water and soared right by me.  I barely had time to raise my camera and never saw the birds in my viewfinder.   I pointed and clicked and this photo is what I got.   Not a professional shot, but good enough to give me a big smile.


Marcia's show got better and she made a little money.  In the dark, under clear skies, we packed up, then drove home to Pasadena.       

It had been a long and trying day.   But, we all pulled together and, except for a few hours of cold and wet, had fun doing it.   The kids had jumped in with both feet to help.   We made it home safely where we all slept well.  

Now a few weeks later, the wet and cold is nearly forgotten and only memories of a family adventure remain.  Even the worst of the cold and wet is now somehow funny -- strangely even crying in the rain can get to be funny.   

And, if that's not enough, on top of it all, I have my pelican picture.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting for Black Friday - Two Days to Go

People are already lining up in anticipation of Black Friday sales.   This morning (Wednesday) we saw seven hardy souls camped out in front of the Best Buy on Foothill Blvd.  I was told that the first in line was there last Saturday.

Best Buy opens its doors at 12 am Friday for Black Friday sales.  These folks have today, tonight, then Thanksgiving Day and half the night until they get their prize.   If I'm out, I'll check back later today to see if the line has grown.