Sunday, July 28, 2002


1) My flame lily plant produced two flame lilies.

2) I finally rigged my one telephone line outlet to accommodate two wires, one for my phone and one for my computer modem. I no longer have to unplug the wire from the phone, string it behind the filing cabinet, table, and desk to plug it into the computer in order to access the web or e-mail (then reverse the procedure to be able to use the phone again).

3) Yesterday morning I took my two cats to the vet to be de-wormed. Putting them into their carrier rear first was much less traumatic then previous attempts to cage them head first. I learned that cats get tapeworms from swallowing fleas.

4) Then I went to the local branch of the public library and finished going through the ms. checking the Hebrew transcriptions. I need to go there more often: I am not distracted by my (messy) house; it's not so lonely; and it's air-conditioned.

5) Late yesterday afternoon I accompanied Suzuki violin players at a recital. The children with their tiny violins are so cute!

6) This morning I did laundry and hung it out to dry, read the newspaper, and soon will be heading off to church.

This is the record of occurrences, of interest only to myself, which, for some reason, I wish to document.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

O inspiration, where art thou?

Still tired. The subsidiary of my company that took over our little department has been taken over itself by yet another subsidiary. So that means another round of reports trying to explain what our group does. Just leave us alone so we can do our job and make you lots of money.

It's very hot and my house is very messy. And I have a 600 page ms. (not my own, unfortunately,) I need to go through and edit.

That's all, folks.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002


Tired, mentally and, therefore, physically. Not much inspiration to write here. But hop on over to Susie's site to see some excellent photos from Munich. I love the one of the little boy climbing into the fountain!

On the front page of today's WSJ is a disturbing article about manufactured food: Marketers Push Single Servings And Families Hungrily Dig In (paid subscription required). You can now buy pre-made, individually wrapped, frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Then there's the woman whose pantry includes individual serving size packs of:
Oreo, Fig Newton, Nutter Butter and Chips Ahoy cookies, wrapped several to a package. There are packs of Quaker Oats s'mores flavored chewy granola bars and Goldfish crackers. And there is Gatorade in bottles with pull-up sports tops, Poland Spring water and Capri Sun juice pouches.
Here's another quote explaining the popularity of breakfast hot pockets: "People were saying putting cereal into a bowl, adding milk to it and eating it is not convenient."

The focus of the article is on the individual serving packs and the fact that larger individual-size packages sell better. What the article doesn't investigate is the accumulation of all the excess packaging for individual servings, much of which is not recyclable or even eventually biodegradable.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

How to be a foreigner

I thought of Susie when I read in the LA Times Book Review this excerpt from the new foreward by Pico Iyer of The Inland Sea.

Iyer describes Donald Richie, the author, as "a writer on the peculiarly modern art of learning how to be a foreigner." Although The Inland Sea is about Japan and was first published in 1971, Iyer writes that Richie
tour[s] around the human landscape with a tolerant acuity. And he has more to say than anyone I know on the expatriate condition, the freedom of the man abroad, and the poignancy that underwrites it. He needs to be read by people with no interest in Japan and by those who never plan to visit that far-off island.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Bridge party

Saturday night I helped my boss at the Pasadena Heritage Bridge Party. The party is a fundraiser for an organization that works to preserve historic and architectually significant buildings. The entire bridge (which was preserved by the organization) is closed to traffic and set up with food booths, music stages, and other entertainment. It is a big, fun block party for our city.

[Edited 1/22/06: Removed image of bridge painted by R. Kenton Nelson, which was used on T-shirts and posters for the event.]

Thursday, July 11, 2002


From the WSJ:

July 5, 2002


With Their Feel-Good Scents, Clotheslines Make Comeback


With four kids and a pool, Deb Johns used to run her clothes dryer every night. But last month the fashion consultant installed a device that's even hotter -- a clothesline.

After years of disuse and despite conjuring up an image of the nomadic Joad family in "The Grapes of Wrath," clotheslines are suddenly popping up in even the most exclusive ZIP Codes. Makers like Butts Manufacturing of California say demand has jumped as much as 40% in the last year, and Stacksandstacks, an Internet retailer, says sales of air-drying devices are soaring 60% to 80% -- a month. Of course, unlike the cheap rope or metal versions of yore, these can get pretty pricey: One sleek chrome rack from Switzerland, designed for mounting on a laundry-room ceiling, goes for $75.

Why would anyone want to make the drudgery of laundry last even longer? Cost, for one thing. Californians started buying clotheslines during last summer's electricity crisis. Then word spread about the scent of air-dried laundry, something most people hadn't smelled in years. "Once you sleep in a bed of outdoor-fresh sheets, you can't imagine linens from the dryer again," says Elena May, a Kentucky garden-center owner.

Besides the feel-good scent, observers say, clotheslines appeal to boomers' nostalgia for the days when their mothers did the laundry. A more self-indulgent reason: These days more people are shelling out for high-priced Italian cotton, silk and linen sheets that they're afraid to put in the dryer. (Indeed, Americans so distrust their dryers that they air-dry more than 30% of their household laundry, according to appliance-maker Whirlpool.) Last year Procter & Gamble even introduced a "wrinkle-reducing" spray designed for line-dried items.

One wrinkle homeowners may not have thought about: Many homes built in the past 20 years are part of homeowners' associations -- and nearly all of them ban permanent clotheslines. (Florida, in contrast, actually has a law protecting them.) That's why the newest models fold up and store away. Butts's best-seller, for instance, works like a deck umbrella, with a base and removable pole. Also available: multiple-line models that hang on a wall and retract when not in use, so people don't think the Joads have moved in next door.

Veronica Jones's neighbors aren't bothered at all. In fact, says the Minnesota homemaker, they ask to borrow the line for their own sheets. Her children are another matter, though. They're so appalled at the idea of their mother doing something as old-fashioned as hanging out the family laundry, they practically hide inside on laundry day. And the next step, they fear? That "I'll move them all to an Amish colony in the middle of the night," she says.
Le Menu

Wednesday Night Dinner
Messiah/Mesias Lutheran Church

West African Groundnut Stew - Vegetarian
Jasmine Rice
Garnished with Mangoes and Banana Slices

Molasses Crinkles Cookies

Ice Water

My dinner turned out to be delicious, although I'll be eating stew for the next month; I slightly over estimated the amount of food I'd need. It was fun to prepare, except chopping the sweet potatoes. I forgot that sweet potatoes are like squash, not regular potatoes, and my wrist is still sore. I got the stew recipe from The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd: Recipes With a Vegetarian Emphasis for 24 or More.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Busy, busy

No time to think. I'm in a tasky, deal-with-all-problems-with-dispatch mode at work. It's quarter-end. Reports have to be compiled. Accounting errors must be corrected. Everything needs to be lined up for the up-coming marketing campaigns. And corporate attorneys need to be negotiated with.

For future weblog posts:
  • Skunks
  • Berg Hardware Store
  • TLS article in the Atlantic Monthly
  • Something else I forgot
  • Oh, the article in WSJ on the comeback of clotheslines
  • Saturday, July 06, 2002

    The weekend, so far

    The only thing I did to celebrate the fourth was to watch the neighborhood kiddies' parade. Children of all ages, riding bicycles and tricycles and being pulled in wagons, all of which were decorated in red, white, and blue, paraded along a three to four block route. It was very cute although a little overwhelming to see so many children in one place—like proverbial ants coming out of the woodwork.

    This morning I went to the annual cactus and succulent sale at the Huntington. I picked up some sort of Haworthia, "Royal Highness," (the label isn't very clear and I can't find the name in the reference books I have); an Echeveria secunda HGB 85639; and a Crassula capitella ssp. thyrsifolora. I planted them in a low, round earthenware container with another sort of flowering Crassula (I think) I dug up from the garden and a cactus my parents gave me. The container is clustered on my front porch with two other pots of cactus; a Euphorbia milii (crown of thorns) I got last year at the sale; a ficus; an Epiphyllum; and the ivy I grew to cover the peeling paint on my (rented) duplex.

    Thursday, July 04, 2002

    More food

    Last night, after getting back from the weekly church dinner, this week a BBQ in one of the church family's backyards, I watched Babette's Feast. What a wonderful film! It had been years since I'd seen it. If you've not seen it, go rent it. I volunteered to cook for next week, and although it will not be Babette's feast—not even close!—I am reminded that when people eat together, more can happen than just eating food. Now I have one week to figure out what the heck I'm going to make!
    My market

    From yesterday's LA Times:
    Pasadena's Weekend Pleasures
    David Karp

    July 3 2002

    With its fine selection of growers, devoted customers and veteran manager, the Pasadena Saturday farmers market ranks in the top tier of markets.

    One of its special pleasures is the just-picked produce grown by Mike Taylor in his West Covina backyard, such as luscious Brown Turkey figs, aromatic Santa Rosa plums, purple Japanese eggplants and a bevy of heirloom tomatoes, including flavorful Brandywines, fuzzy yellow Peaches and Enchantment plum tomatoes.

    Joan Kaplan from Altadena offers fresh sprouts. Some, such as garbanzos and lentils, are grown in jars indoors and have sprouts just emerging from the moistened seeds; in others, like the sharp radish and mild alfalfa, the sprouts have pushed out an inch or so, while her sunflower and pea sprouts are actually infant plants, grown in flats outdoors. Many shoppers are drawn to the spectacular display arranged by Jose Hernandez, the vendor for Suncoast Farms of Lompoc: huge mounds of broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus and artichokes, ornamented by zucchini with their yellow blossoms.

    Gary Ondray sells pristine shiitake mushrooms from Squaw Valley. Tanaka Farms of Irvine has giant, mild-flavored Maui onions weighing up to 4 pounds.

    "That's more than I can use at one meal, so when I buy one I chop it up and freeze the leftover portion for use later," says Gretchen Stirling, the market's manager. Stirling has managed the market since it began in 1984.

    Valencia oranges, one of the Southland's classic crops, are at peak quality, and Manuel Alvarez sells superbly sweet and juicy examples from Fillmore. They come in 20-pound bags for $4.

    At the Regier stand, customers gobble samples of superbly flavorful June Pride yellow peaches as fast as Tami Taylor of Dinuba can slice them; this Saturday she'll also have Redtop, a classic 50-year-old variety.

    Pasadena (Victory Park) farmers market, 2800 block of North Sierra Madre Boulevard, between Paloma Street and Washington Boulevard, Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    Hot tip: Look for intensely flavored sweet-tart Persian mulberries from Kim and Clarence Blain at today's Santa Monica market, and at Hollywood on Sunday.

    Tuesday, July 02, 2002

    Catching up

    This is going to be a random entry: I haven't posted for a while and I have a lot to say. [Edit: As usual, I ran out of energy way before I ran out of things to write about, so the rest of the topics will remain on my new "action" list, Weblog.]

    First, this rather inspiring article in the LA Times last week about a high school science class raising worms and using the worm castings in their container gardens.

    Next, the self-help book of the month: Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. Like many self-help books, it's not much more than codified common sense, but I found some useful reminders in it. The notion of developing a system to keep track of all the things my mind is going to try keep track of anyway so that I can free my mind to concentrate on what I have in front of me at the moment was a timely nudge! I even finished a way overdue booknote yesterday and submitted it to the editor. So, common sense it may be, but I'll take help from where ever I can get it!

    Then, at work, my new mantra is, "What Would H. [my former colleague] Do?" I really admired the way she tackled problems head on without fretting over them, always treating people graciously while making sure they did what she needed them to do.

    Meanwhile, back at home, my calathea is unfurling two new leaves. I am very pleased. My white African violet buds, however, shriveled into brown berries. I think it's too hot for them in my living room. I don't know where else to put the plant, though, where it would be cooler yet still receive enough light.

    Finally, currently reading: Markings by Dag Hammarskjöd. I have written pages of quotes from him in my off-line journal. Here's one of his passages (p. 76).
    Now.  When I have overcome my fears—of others, of my-
    self, of the underlying darkness:
    at the frontier of the unheard-of.
    Here ends the known. But, from a source beyond it,
    something fills my being with its possibilities.
    Here desire is purified and made lucid: each action is
    a preparation for, each choice an assent to the unknown.
    Prevented by the duties of life on the surface from
    looking down into the depths, yet all the while being
    slowly trained and molded by them to take the plunge
    into the deep whence rises the fragrance of a forest
    star, bearing the promise of a new affection.
    At the frontier—