Stan’s Obligatory Blog

Page 1 of 3123»


Candy and telescopes

Filed under: — stan @ 9:33 pm

So it’s Halloween night. Lucinda and Mommy and Aunt Maggi got dressed up in their costumes and went out with some of the neighborhood kids. They had a good haul. Aunt Maggi even had to come back th the house to get some bigger bags so they could carry all the candy.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I did my usual thing. I set up my telescope in the driveway and handed out candy. This year was good, since Mars is well-placed in the evening right now. I’ve been doing the ‘have some candy and look through the telescope’ thing since 1998, and it’s taken on a life of its own. A lot of the kids and their parents remember me and make a point to stop by our house so they can look.

It was a fun evening for all of us.


Beverly Hills

Filed under: — stan @ 7:35 pm

Today I went out to Beverly Hills for a safety fair at the weekly farmers’ market. This means to sit at a table, hand out earthquake information, and answer the three big questions that everyone asks:

  • When is the Big One going to happen?
    We don’t know
  • Is my house near a fault?
  • Where are there faults around here?
    See those trees over there?

It’s actually kind of fun. Particularly when it’s in Beverly Hills. The town where you see two Rolls-Royces in a driveway, each with “My Other Car is a Rolls-Royce” on the back.

The Beverly Hills Police were there, showing off their rescue vehicle. Since they almost certainly need such a tank-like vehicle on a daily basis. The Fire Department was there with their Urban Search and Rescue vehicle. I didn’t see the Mountain Rescue Team this time, but I’ve seen them before. I bet the city services there are great.


Our Anniversary

Filed under: — stan @ 11:08 pm

Today is our 17th anniversary. It’s the actual day and everything. So after we dropped Lucinda off at Aunt Maggi’s house, we went up to Long Beach.

On the way, we stopped off at Westminster Mall. Cathy used to work at the Republic Federal Savings branch there, so we wanted to see what had moved in to that space. We were surprised to see that the space looked almost unchanged, even though it is now the ‘City Hall at the Mall’ for the city of Westminster. The vault was even still there. It was a fun little trip down Memory Lane.

After the stop at the mall, we went to the old McDonnell Douglas plant down the street so I could recreate the picture from my going-away party there, back in 1984.

When we got to Long Beach, our plan was to have dinner at Hamburger Henry. While this may seem an odd choice, it has great sentimental value for us. Our wedding was in Long Beach, and Cathy spent most of the evening visiting with relatives and friends there. So she never had a chance to eat her dinner. And when it was all over, she was hungry. So we headed out at 1:00AM looking for something to eat. We ended up at Hamburger Henry.

While we were there, we noticed that a lot of the people there were dressed in costumes. Then we realized that it was the Saturday night before Halloween. In all the wedding planning, that had never occurred to us. And we said that maybe we shouldn’t have changed before going there. We would have fit right in, dressed as a bride and groom.

So we got there, but there was something else there. We asked at some of the neighboring stores, and they told us that Hamburger Henry had been gone for something like eight years. The land was just too valuable to use for just selling hamburgers, so the owner had leased it to a developer and the old place was gone.

We ended up having our burgers at another place nearby. It was still a fun evening. And we got to meet a hot-pink dog while we were there.

On my mother’s grave…

Filed under: — stan @ 10:47 pm

Today we took Lucinda down to Orange County so she could spend the night at her Aunt Maggi’s house. On the way, we stopped off in Huntington Beach so we could visit my mother’s grave. When I was a kid, my mother used to talk about how she was looking forward to the day when I was grown and would have grandchildren for her to dote on. Sadly, she never got the chance. She died in 1994, five years before Lucinda was born.

I’ve told Lucinda about her, and since we were going to be passing near the cemetery, we stopped off so that she could meet her other grandma. She said that she felt sad that she never met her grandma. I told her about how excited and happy her grandma would have been if she’d had a chance to meet Lucinda.

I still like riding up hills…

Filed under: — stan @ 9:07 pm

Today’s ride was a hilly one. Just the way I like it. In my racing days, I liked riding up hills because it gave me a chance to spank the other riders and show them who’s boss. In those days, it was a Point of Honor to be the first to the top of every hill. Now, I’m no longer the fastest hill climber, but I still like riding up hills anyway. So whenever there’s a hilly ride, I go on it.

Today’s ride was just a big loop through La Cañda and Glendale with some big hills both coming and going. We met at the park in Alhambra.

We started out going north, passing the Rose Bowl and JPL before the first hill, up to Verdugo Blvd. Then we went down into Montrose and Glendale. At the bottom of that hill, we took a left and headed up Mountain Ave. This is a nice, steep climb. The top part has been closed to cars for almost a year, but the sign today said it was open again. Still, it was a nice ride, since there isn’t much traffic up there.

Coming down the other side, we took some side streets to get back to Chevy Chase at the top of the hill between La Cañda and Glendale. Then we went up and over again to come down off the hill back in Pasadena and the Rose Bowl. From there, we went south and then turned up Glenoaks, which was another nice climb up, and then we turned and came down San Rafael, passing the old Seismology Lab that Charles Richter set up back in the 1930s.

At the bottom of the hill, we went south a bit and came back into South Pasadena. We stopped for a snack at Busters, right next to the train station. Then it was time for the ride home. We went back up past the Rose Bowl and then took Windsor Road up to Altadena Drive. Then we went across Altadena and down back to Victory Park and we were done.

47 miles


Halloween Carnival

Filed under: — stan @ 10:58 pm

Lucinda’s school had a Halloween Carnival on Friday evening. Each class had a booth with carnival-type games for the kids to play. Of course, the whole thing was to raise money for the school.

Lucinda and Mommy dressed up in their costumes. Mom is small enough to get her costumes in the children’s section, so they went shopping for them together.

When we got to the school, it was pandemonium. Just the way it’s supposed to be at these things. We found one of the other kids from her class and his family, and we all went around and watched the kids play the games.

We had to do a shift at Lucinda’s class’ booth. When we did this, she decided that she wanted to do it. So we showed her how, and she ran the game for all the other kids. She was really quite good at it. And we didn’t have to do it. So everyone was happy.


Our 17th Anniversary

Filed under: — stan @ 9:50 pm

It’s our 17th anniversary. Wait – no, it’s not. That’s not until next Saturday. But Lucinda is going to her aunt’s house for the weekend, so we decided to do our official big night out tonight so she could come along. She wanted to go to “the restaurant with the moving floor” – L.A. Prime at the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Doesn’t everyone let their six-year-old choose how they are going to celebrate their anniversary?

So we made a reservation and headed down there. We’ve gone there for New Year’s Eve before, but I think this was the first time we’d gotten there before dark. Just outside on the street we saw the remnants of a day of filming. There was a rack of odd-looking mopeds and lots of strange-looking potted plants on the sidewalk. The hotel people told us that it was for “Mission: Impossible III”. Since I doubt we’ll see that, we will probably never know if they were right or not.

Once we got inside, we headed for the restaurant. As always, the food and service were superb. The view was only so-so this time, since it was a foggy evening in L.A. But Lucinda still had a fun time going around looking out the windows. And after dinner we all headed to the revolving lounge to look at the moving floor.

Overall, it was a fun evening

Hollywood Hills and The T. Marvin Hatley Estate

Filed under: — stan @ 4:16 pm

Route map and photo locations

Today I got to play ride leader for the Sunday bike ride. I made up a route to go to the Hollywood Hills and pass by the former T. Marvin Hatley Estate. T. Marvin Hatley was a composer, and he did the music for a lot of movies from about 1930 to about 1950, and he wrote the Laurel and Hardy theme song. His house had a very large sign painted on the front wall that said, “The T. Marvin Hatley Estate”.

We started out taking the direct route west on Orange Grove, Colorado, and Yosemite across Eagle Rock. Then we turned and went down Eagle Rock Blvd. That was where we saw the church sign asking if we wanted to spend eternity “smoking or non-smoking”.

Turning off on Fletcher, we crossed the L.A. River into Los Feliz. A quick bit on Rowena and St. George brought us to Franklin Ave and the Shakespeare Bridge.

Continuing west on Franklin, we passed the über-creepy Scientology Celebrity Center and moved on into the center of Hollywood. There, we took a right on Cahuenga and headed up into the pass. The road was right next to the Hollywood Freeway, and it was loud, but there was very little traffic on the road with us, so it was all right.

At the top of the pass, we turned off and crossed the bridge to get to Mulholland Drive. From there, there are two ways to climb the hill. Mulholland is a long and gradual climb, and Woodrow Wilson is two steep sections with a flat bit in between. The general consenus is that Mulholland is the easier way to go. So we took a right there and headed up Woodrow Wilson.

When we got to the top of the hill, we stopped to catch our breath, and I had a look to see if I could remember which house was the former T. Marvin Hatley Estate. Since Mr. Hatley died in 1986, I figured that the new owners of the house would have probably removed the painted sign on the wall. In the end, I think I identified the house, but being that this was the first time I’d been up there in 15 years, my memory was a bit fuzzy. And being cross-eyed and seeing stars from the hill climb probably didn’t help.

A left turn on Mulholland took us back down to Cahuenga Pass. Along the way, we passed the Hollywood Bowl overlook, and we also got to dimly see the Hollywood sign through the fog. Then we crossed the bridge over the freeway. That was where I saw the signal-box graffiti about “So many things, too little poetry”.

Next, we headed up Wonder View toward Lake Hollywood. This is another stiff climb, but it’s worth it to avoid having to ride any more on Cahuenga. It’s quiet, and there is very little traffic. Also, at the top of the hill we got to see the bright-orange house. You don’t see one of those every day.

Heading down into Burbank, we passed Warner Bros and the somewhat shabby-looking Starlet Apartments. Then we stopped at Priscilla’s for a bagel and orange juice. They have very good fresh-squeezed orange juice there. And it’s definitely worth the extra $0.25 to get the large size. If they offered a “Super Size” I’d even get that.

After our snack stop, we came home by the standard route across Glenoaks and up Verdugo to La Cañada. Then down Descanso and Chevy Chase and back into Pasadena on Woodbury Road. Finally, we went down New York Drive and came back to the park.

49 miles.


That bear cost HOW MUCH?!?!?!

Filed under: — stan @ 8:27 pm

Today we went to two kids’ birthday parties, back-to-back.

The first party was a Michael’s in Glendale. The kids all made a tic-tac-toe set, which involved much painting and gluing and pizza and cake. It looked like they had fun.

After that, it was on to the Glendale Galleria and Build-A-Bear. This is apparently quite the sensation with the young kids these days.

When we got there, they were just getting started. Each kid had a $20 budget to work with. They all started out picking out their animals. They have rows of bins with unstuffed animals ready to be picked. Lucinda picked out the rabbit, which turned out to be $20 for the animal alone. So we were on the hook for any accessories. And with racks of stuffed-animal clothing, shoes, hats and even little “Livestrong” bracelets for the bears, there were guaranteed to be accessories. A whole store full of accessories. Oh, the humanity…

They actually did a very good job with the birthday party. They had the kids singing songs while they stuffed the animals. They had them pick out little hearts to put inside the animals. They did everything to keep the kids entertained and engaged through the whole process. I guess that’s what we’re really paying for here.

Anyway, the kids had a good time. And as we were leaving, I noticed that the mall had thoughtfully provided an AED unit just outside Build-A-Bear, perfect for parents when they realize they just spent $50 on a stuffed animal.

After that, we all went to dinner at Islands. The kids had one large table, and the adults got two small tables. And cake was had by all.

More home improvement follies

Filed under: — stan @ 2:24 pm

Today was the big push to finish the window-removal project. Cathy got a piece of paneling on Friday, so I cut the old paneling around the window to make a smooth edge. Then I cut the new paneling to fit the opening and nailed it up. The final bit was to put some caulking in the cracks around the edge to fill the gaps. And now it is ready to paint.

Page 1 of 3123»

Powered by WordPress