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Before and After the Wind Storm - Pasadena

Posted on December 5, 2011 at 1:15 AM Comments comments (0)


Day before the wind storm Day after the wind storm


The wind storm swept away the leaves of the ginko tree in my backyard. The golden leaves were as ephermeral as cherry blossoms. Our city lost 600 trees from the wind. Very scary driving highway 110 at night after the test run at Breadbar.  I hit a few branches that were scattered on the road. Sakai's sculpture fell over but didn't break. Neither did the ginko tree.
昨晩の風であっという間に葉が全ぶ散る。この嵐で倒れた木はなんと600本。結構悲惨なものでした。

 


Ginko Tree - Pasadena

Posted on December 4, 2011 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)



The ginko tree in our back yard turned from green to bright yellow.  I can see why my landlord adores this tree more
than anything else.   He doesn't let the gardner touch it.  An arborist from the Huntington Gardens comes to prune the tree once a year.  I don't know how old it is, but it is probably close to 100.

限りなくイェローに近いグリーン. この銀杏の木と庭に挽かれて,パサデナに引っ越してきたようなもの。みているだけで目の保養になる。うちの猫も野生のインコやリスもこの木の中で遊んでいる。

 


Tree Swing - Pasadena

Posted on August 5, 2011 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)




Snow Cones Stand - Pasadena

Posted on July 26, 2011 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Arman's own design

I am a Good Cat

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 10:17 AM Comments comments (0)



Kinchan is adjusting well to the new house in Pasadena.  Though, at first I was not sure if she would because she disappeared on us for 4 days.  I didn't listen to my sister's advise to keep the cat indoors when you introduce her to a new environment.  I called the Humane Society to see if someone had turned Kinchan in but she wasn't there.  It turns out, she was hiding under the house the whole time.  She resurfaced when she got really hungry.  Now, she goes in and out of the house, as she pleases.  She loves to climb on the Ginko tree in our yard to chase squirrels and look at the world from above. She is a small cat but she has some regal qualities.  She may soon take over the reign of Miles Street from the black cat next door.  

Just the other day, I saw a small shadow moving in my closet.  I was terrified because I knew it was a mice.  I immediately called for rescue. Noone else but Kinchan.  I brought her inside.  Sure enough, she sniffed around and smelled something good. She instinctively went into hunting mode and positioned herself right by the door of the closet.  When I came back to check on the progress an hour later, however, I found Kinchan stretched on the floor, fast asleep.  A rather unreliable old guard if you asked me, but at least she stayed put.  In the middle of the night we heard a cat and mice chase like you see in cartoons.  Kinchan used the whole house to chase the mice. We heard all kinds of noises of things being knocked over and animals screaming.  Even our dog Ana got excited.  Then everything went silent.  Next morning, we found the dead mice under the couch. It was big, much bigger than the shadow I saw. It had a long greasy tail.  One thing Kinchan doesn't do is eat her prey.  She gives it to Anachan and they both play with it, until it turns into a fur ball. But Kinchan didn't play with this mice. I asked Sakai to take it away. Kinchan deserves a piece of meat, which is what she is waiting for in this picture. 
 

My Soba Studio - Pasadena

Posted on June 28, 2011 at 11:39 AM Comments comments (0)



In the mornings, when I am making noodles in my studio, I hear the frequent singing of mocking birds and wild tropical parrots that reside in the trees of Pasadena.  Since moving here two months ago,  I  am using one of the two bedrooms in our house as a soba studio. The studio faces my neighbors' fence, so there isn't much of a view, but it keeps my eyes on the noodles, and my ears  tune into the music of nature.

Fresh soba noodles made by hand.

The studio like the rest of the house is quiet; it stays cool all day, which is good for my dough.  Pasadena can get dry and hot in the summer and hot weather can quickly dry out my soba, and makes binding the dough very difficult.  It is a bit of a challenge but I keep my eyes on the humidity gauge and try to make soba when the humidity is in the 60s. 

Making Udon by hand.

The work table is where everything begins for a noodle maker.  I suppose it's like a painter's canvas. My table measures 42 in x 40 in x 30.  Sakai made it to suit my 5'4 height.  The table is made of simple plywood like many of the furniture in our house. Sakai made the table with just function in mind. But something that functions well has it's own aesthetic beauty.  I have set the table against the wall, so I can use three sides.  I measure and mix the flour and water, I knead the dough, I cut the noodles. I can store my large bowls and pots underneath.  I can roll out my dough as big as this table, if I want.  I do everything on this table except cook the noodles.  My rolling pins are stored in a box near the window. My books, soba knives and other utencils are on the side table  For art, I have Sakae's collage and Sakai's two watercolors.  Everything is visitble and within reach. 


Soba made with 20 wheat/80 buckwheat flour.
    

Wild Flowers in a Copper Vase

Posted on June 7, 2011 at 12:26 PM Comments comments (2)



Sakai wanted a studio in the desert. He liked Tehachapi, which is in the high desert, near Lancaster.  The high desert is cooler than the low desert and the vegetation is different.  When I first went there in April, there were cherries and apples in bloom.  Then I visited again in May, and I saw lilacs and wild poppies blooming everywhere. The area is known for the wildflowers and oak trees.  

When we sold our house in Santa Monica in April, Sakai decided to pursue his idea of a studio in Tehachapi.  He(we) bought a horse ranch in Cummings Valley.  No horses though. Everyone thought it was a crazy idea.  I thought it was crazy, too. And still wonder if it was.  But I am slowly being converted because the valley is so beautiful.  

I will be blogging about our ranch more.  I picked some wild flowers that grow on our ranch. The only flower whose name I know is the purple and lavendar lupine.  They look nice in the copper pot in my office in Pasadena.
Maybe this dual life will work after all.  

Baby Owl

Posted on June 7, 2011 at 1:43 AM Comments comments (4)



There are many birds in Pasadena.  I've already blogged about the hummingbirds and wild parrots. This morning, Sakai brought back a rare baby owl from his walk.  Apparently, it fell from a nest in the palm tree on El Molino Street, a beautiful street with lots of trees.  The baby owl looks like a stuffed animal, a gray marshmallow -soft and warm; it was clucking its beak to say something. It looked so sad.  It must be a couple of weeks old. I tried to give it water and chopped meat but I was not very successful.  

This baby owl was so wise already. Look at its eyes. I wanted to do everything I could to get the owl back to the nest - so it can reunite it with the mother owl.  I called the  Humane Society in Pasadena for advise. They told me to bring the owl in but and they will see what they can do.  Then I read a website on wild owls and it said, it's best to leave it where we found it.  It's a wild animal after all.   What can we possibly do?  So after some talk, we decided to put the owl where it was.  

I realized how close we are to the wild, even in the city.  We see wild birds everyday, but it's when you encounter something so precious and delicate up close that you know we have to take care of our planet more.

Lemon Tree - Pasadena

Posted on June 5, 2011 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)



I never thought I would miss a month of blogging but I did.  How time flies when you are busy.  We sold our house in Santa Monica and moved to Pasadena.  We bought a ranch in Tehachapi. Then I travelled to Japan for two weeks, and to Portland to attend Sakae's graduation and to Seattle to see Sakae and Bina's apartment.  It's been a physically demanding six months.  I caught a really bad cold in the middle of all this, so it didn't help.  But I am feeling much better now.

I love the view of the lemon tree from my office in my new house in Pasadena.  The tree entertains me all day. Hummingbirds and squirrels visit. The fruit is good.  I make lemonade. I want to make a lemon poundcake, soon. These lemons are not too sour. 

  

Frog day afternoon - Pasadena

Posted on April 28, 2011 at 3:26 AM Comments comments (0)








Pasadena - Our new comfort zone

Posted on April 24, 2011 at 1:59 AM Comments comments (0)

Ana exploring the new neighborhood 

We've now been in Pasadena for two weeks.   I've been very busy unpacking our stuff, organizing our finances, making soba for a charity, and going to traffic school, and monitoring my mother's condition in Japan.  Life has been pretty intense but I cannot complain. We have a new home in Pasadena and we are more relaxed than we have been in a long time.

First the good news.  My mother beat the odds and got her lungs back.  She is breathing normally again and checking out of the hospital today.   When my sister Fuyuko told her that I moved to Pasadena, mother's eyes opened wide and she smiled. She loved living in Pasadena.

 As expected, we had a bumpy start  with Kinchan. We tried to keep her inside but she is an outdoor cat. She snuck out and went missing for awhile.  I went around the neighborhood looking and asking my new neighbors if they had seen a gray cat but no sight of Kinchan. I checked the website of the Humane Society of Pasadena and found a very similar gray cat posted on the lost cat list.  I was pretty sure it was Kinchan.  I went down to the Humane Society to see. Unfortunately, it looked like her but it was another cat.  Poor thing, it was very pregnant.

Even though many changes were taking place at home, I went to the westside to attend a charity event in Culver City, and stayed with my old neighbor, Ellen for  the night. I didn't want to take a chance driving at night on the 110 freeway.  

My old house in Santa Monica was intact but had a strangely different feeling. The garden was well tended and cheerful.  The grass looked  greener.  Ellen said they have a gardner working on it twice a week.  The old English rose bush was blooming.  So were a few of the beared Irises. The climbing rose would be next.  I know the cycle of this garden by heart.  I wanted to step in and smell the old rose but a young guy came out of the house, and that sort of put me right back in reality.  I sold the house.  It was no longer mine.  So I said goodbye to the house once again and left.


When I got home, Sakai told me that Kinchan resurfaced this morning.  I reunited with her later in the evening, after the house painters left. Kinchan was very hungry and very happy to see me. She followed me around all day.

Bird in a tree - somewhere

The big old trees in Pasadena invite all kinds of birds  - what fascinates me most are the wild parrots!  Apparently, there are hundreds of them in this area. Legend goes that a pet shop in Pasadena caught on fire and the owner of the shop released the parrots and they went wild. I never paid attention to trees and birds in the city as I have in Pasadena.

The old California bungalows are also attract the eyes.  A lot of social activity happens in the front lawns of these homes.  Children play hide and go seek, sell lemonade, run around in their bathing suits.  Grown ups read the paper in their front porch and practice golf.  It reminded me of the early days in Santa Monica. I remember there was a pair of wild ducks that would hang out in my old neighbor's front yard during the spring time.  The neighbor would put a tub of fresh water and food out for the feathery couple.  I loved that they made themselves at home.  Pasadena feels that way.  I am an older bird returning to Pasadena after 35 years, and finding my comfort zone.

Dog meets Dog

By the way, I got a call from the Humane Society today. The gray cat I inquired about had kittens. The lady asked me if I wanted to adopt a kitten.  I wish I could but not now.  Maybe later.