July 2009

We drove by this site yesterday while sheriffs were still on site and yellow tape cordoned off the area.

This area is very dangerous with several incidents occurring in the past few months.


The Sheriffs are very aware of what’s happening, but what will be done is still a question. Liquor stores are magnets for this kind of activity and a lot of Altadenans are getting fed up with them.  How do you feel?


Pop your head into yards in Altadena and there’s no telling what you’ll find. Sunday, Altadena Heritage held its Golden Poppy Awards Sunday at the home of Kazi Petelka and John Steinmetz, on Mar Vista. And in their yard you’ll find a few dozen chickens among the crops of fruit and vegetables. Part orchard and part farm, this urban spread is what people mean when they say “urban farm.” Pumpkins are even growing on the roof.

Kazi, a first violist with the L.A. Opera, gave teaching tours of the property to dozens of eager students drooling over the packed avocado trees. I was sorry to learn she offs the poor squirrel who gets in her way, but we all have our own karma to deal with said my unusually understanding pal, who has been known to keep an orphaned baby squirrel warm in her bra until she could get it to a rescue center.  Farming is a sometimes brutal business.

I’d say about 100 Altadenans enjoyed the cooler early evening atmosphere, grateful the event was moved back from 4 p.m. when all would have wilted.

Four residents were chosen to receive the Golden Poppy Award, this year given to those with sustainable gardens. Chair Mark Goldschmidt explained the new criteria, which also resulted in an $11,000 grant from Edison to promote sustainability. Mark also presented the awards. I was unable to get all the names, but I’m attaching a number of photos. One couple, Jennifer and Ham, live just down the street from me. They’re the ones with the farm in their front yard that I’ve been meaning to visit. So now we’ve met. I’ll be getting down to see their yard up close very soon.

Patrick Reagan was out touting the benefits of having a co-op in Altadena. And in gardening spirit, bags of iris rhizomes were out for the sharing. Richard Davies promised a major event in late October at the Mosoleum, so stay tuned. Hoping it doesn’t involve the dead, being so near Halloween.

Thanks to Carolyn Seitz for this info.

Come on out to the National Night Out on August 4. It’s a great potluck event.  Hot dogs will be provided.  Please bring an appetizer, side dish or dessert to share.

What is National Night Out?

It is America’s night out against crime!

National Night Out, a unique crime/drug prevention event sponsored by
the National Association of Town Watch, is scheduled for Tuesday,
August 4, 2009.

The Altadena Community is invited 

to be a part of

Altadena Sheriff Station’s 2009 National Night Out.

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is designed to:

Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness

Generate support for, and participation in, Altadena anti-crime programs

Strengthen neighborhood and law enforcement-community partnerships in Altadena

Send a strong message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized


HOURS: 5 to 9:00 p.m.

Hot Dogs provided–you bring the sides! 

Law Enforcement and Fire Department Displays Contact Deputy Sam Estrada (626)798-1131

No matter how many great events you attend or hold over the summer, these 100-degree temps just burn your desire to do much. I heard on a gardening show the other day say that over the summer you shouldn’t be doing much with your garden other than dead-heading and keeping weeds at bay. That’s exactly how I feel. If i could pull off my own head and give it a rest for a while, meaning stop the chatter going on inside of it at the most inopportune times, that would make for a relaxing summer vacation.

My dad was a pilot and when he referred to dead-heading, it was when he had to fly as a passenger to either get to or from his next turn in the cockpit. That sort of applies, too. Taking a break in between being in charge. This has been a uniquely stressful few month’s with my husband’s cancer treatment, so I’m fully appreciating the concept of being a dead-head. Just wish I had time to be one for an extended period.

Since I don’t, I’m snatching a few moments here and there by swimming either at Caltech or, like today, with my husband at the Rose Bowl early in the morning. It’s beautiful and so calming for me to get in the rhythm of the backstroke. I’m learning my own pace and breathing technique to stay relaxed. Breathe in, left arm in the water, breath out, right arm in the water. And I kick with the alternate foot to keep going in a relatively straight line. My husband keeps reminding me of the rules in sharing a lane: circle right. Translated that means stay on the right side of the lane no matter which direction you’re going. That way, theoretically, you won’t slam into your lane partner. This is a lot easier in wide lanes, as I experienced today. If you miss your partner you may instead slam a hand into the lane floats.

As with anything, it’s the joy of finding your rhythm that makes an exercise, a hobby, a job, feel good. You may be all jumpy nervous at first, so befuddled by childhood fears of drowning or of imagined sharks in the water, that you struggle and wear yourself out. Just ask yourself, what am I in the water for, anyway? For me, it’s to soothe aching muscles, enjoy the buoyancy of floating, and stretch more easily than I can in yoga. So today I not only found my stride, but learned to do it sharing a lane with my husband.

Here’s an update on the Golden Poppy fest. Starting at 6:30 now, not 4. A great idea considering the heat.

When: Sunday, July 26, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Home of Kazi Petelka and John Steinmetz, musicians with the LA Opera

2027 Mar Vista Ave.

What: Kazi is a passionate rare fruit grower, gardener, poultry raiser, and culinary artists who uses her produce to set a fine fresh table, and also bottles, cans, cordializes, pickles, and otherwise preserves her boungy. Feathers from her poultry are used in millinery or costumes for the opera! In addition to the feathery fowl and live music, enjoy home-made baked goods, salads, and desserts while the annual Golden Poppy Awards to gardeners who use water wisely.

Cost: $10 members, $20 non-members.

Reservations: 626-797-0054 and altadenaheritage@earthlink.net

Check out pictures from last year at http://altadenaaboveitall.com/?s=Golden+Poppy, or just search this blog for Golden Poppy

See you there!

 Here’s my new blog in Digital Photographer Magazine on Politics and Photography…the Power of the Picture.
And here’s the magazine cover, with my photo of a glorious Orient Express epiphyllum that bloomed recently in my backyard. Bought it at the Huntington cactus sale about 4 years ago. Got first bloom last year, and three this time around, two simultaneously. What a sight.
Go ahead, subscribe! It’s an online publication delivered through www.Zinio.com

This link doesn’t show it, but the hardcopy of the paper bills this house as Above it all in Altadena…hmmmmm


Sincerest form of flattery?

I happened to arrive at Photography by Walt on July 1st just in time to have the ever handsome, wonderful, and wiley Walt Mancini capture the moment for the Star News. Guess I’ll have to take some darn shots now, won’t I? Here’s the link.

Hope you’ll get your camera at Photography by Walt. For $20 they’ll give you the camera, and when you’re done with your 27 shots of Altadena, bring it back (by July 31st, my birthday btw) and they’ll develop the film. Then on September 5 they’ll show 2700 of the best shots. What are you going to shoot? I’m still deciding myself…

For more details, visit Tim Rutt’s altadenablog.com
We’re all gonna have a great time on this great project. I’m not quite a daily poster on my altadenadailyphoto.wordpress.com blog, but check it out anyway. Maybe you’ll get some ideas there.

Happy snapping!