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Friday, March 28, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events March 28 to April 3

Here are my top picks for events scheduled from Friday, March 28, to Thursday, April 3.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare tell me there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

From the Gutenberg Bible to the Ann Erdman blog, all media in every format had to be invented. But how did it happen and what does the future have in store? And how might you and I participate in the process of media invention? Robin Sloan, author of this year's One City, One Story novel, will lead a discussion Friday, March 28, at 6 p.m. at Idealab.

The Pasadena Community Orchestra will perform Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 and Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F Major Friday, March 28, at 8 p.m. at PazNaz.

The Pasadena Police Department's Curbside Coffee & Chat get-togethers have become quite popular and take place at a different location each time. Chat it up with officers, connect with other Pasadenans and enjoy some refreshments Saturday, March 29, from 9 to 11 a.m. in front of Urth Caffe. There's never an agenda or speech; discuss whatever you want with officers who will be happy to chat with you.

As we wind down One City, One Story month, remember the 2014 novel "Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore" is available in multiple formats. Be part of our annual community reading celebration by sitting in on a book discussion group Saturday, March 29, at 11 a.m. at Linda Vista Branch Library.

Do you know Pasadena's beloved Vroman's is the oldest and largest independent book store in Southern California and was named the best independent book store in the U.S. by Publishers Weekly? Learn about the intriguing history of this local treasure Saturday, March 29, at 11 a.m. at Lamanda Park Branch Library and 2 p.m. at San Rafael Branch Library

You don't have to be descended from Monet to keep sketchbook memories while traveling. Artist Barbara Roth will show some simple techniques anyone can get the hang of Monday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m. at Distant Lands and will discuss what kinds of art supplies you might pack.

Tuesday, April 1, from 4 to 8 p.m. is Free Family Night at Kidspace Children's Museum. Your little ones will make butterfly art, taste nectar, have fun in a puppetry workshop and more! 

Pasadena Presbyterian Church presents Trio Celeste for the popular Music at Noon concert series Wednesday, April 2, from 12:10 to 12:40 p.m. 


Safely dispose of old computers, keyboards, printers, scanners, fax machines, phones, TVs and other electronic equipment at the eWaste event Saturday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot I at Brookside Park. You can also bring old batteries (vehicle batteries will not be accepted).

Many thanks to PBT Consulting, Gavin Wray, Vroman's Bookstore, Wet Canvas, Trio Celeste and New Orleans Tech  for the photos.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Citizens Police Academy Week Seven -- Firing Range

In this 1935 photo, Sgt. Bailey supervises firearms instruction with two female employees (not sworn officers) of the Pasadena Police Department at the firing range in Eaton Canyon.

Last Wednesday the Citizens Police Academy class spent the day at the same location. 

A few things have changed since then: 
  • The firing range is indoors now 
  • Women aren't encouraged to wear dresses, hats and heels 
  • Body armor and ear and eye protection are a must now 
  • That hand-on-the-hip-and-fire-with-the-other-hand technique is a thing of the past.

My selfie in body armor, which was quite heavy:

After about an hour of safety tips and explanations about what to expect, Don Amerman, the rangemaster, showed us the weapons we would be firing -- pistols, rifles and shotguns.

"Don't point your weapon toward anything 
you're not willing to destroy."

Then he and our Citizens Police Academy facilitators, officers Sean Dawkins and Joe Reinbold, provided one-on-one training. 

My target will never make babies again.

In other sessions that day we learned about weapons and tactics and trained with a simulator.

Chief Phillip Sanchez arrived during one of the breaks and chatted it up with Lt. Edward Calatayud.

Then he led a discussion about perception versus reality in many complaints against police officers, the process by which officer-involved shootings are investigated and the dangers police officers face every day on the job.

"My officers wake up every day wanting to do 
the most professional and profound job possible 
for the people of Pasadena."

It was a great day and we all learned so much. 

This 12-week Citizens Police Academy, with classroom and field training, continues to be a great experience as we get an inside look at law enforcement in Pasadena.

I'm holding out hope that the official uniform of the rangemaster will revert back to Sgt. Bailey's traditional boots and jodhpurs. I'm guessing Chief Sanchez might be on board with that!

Many thanks to classmate Karol Franks for the photos of Chief Sanchez (my phone battery was too low by then); I found the historic photo here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Looking for Something to Do? Free Events March 22 to 27

Here are my top picks for events scheduled from Saturday, March 22, to Thursday, March 27.

All events are free, so take a look -- and don't you dare tell me there's nothing to do in Pasadena!

Spend the morning Saturday, March 22, in nature beginning at 9 a.m. at the annual Hahamongna Walkabout and learn about innovations in natural river management. Meet at Devil's Gate Dam. Topics at stops along the walkabout will include sediment removal behind the dam, the Arroyo Seco Canyon project and more. Bring a hat and water and wear good walking shoes. You can also do a bikeabout (helmets are required) beginning at 8 a.m.

The history of the women's movement is more complex than many people realize. Filmmaker Jennifer Lee's award-winning documentary "Feminist: Stories from Women's Liberation" will be screened Saturday, March 22, at 2 p.m. at Allendale Branch Library in celebration of Women's History Month. After the screening Lee and others will discuss how far we've come and the struggle to get here and will answer questions. 

At Hill Avenue Branch Library Saturday, March 22, at 3 p.m. you'll learn the perks and perils of starting a garden by direct sowing of seeds, then walk across the street to PCC's Green Seeds Club garden to see how foods from seeds are being grown for donation. 

An instructor from Art Studio Pasadena will show children how to create their own works using mixed media Monday, March 24, at 4 p.m. at Hastings Branch Library

Explore our world's southernmost continent right here in Pasadena Monday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. at Distant Lands. Learn about the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia Island, the South Shetland Islands and more.

This week's film in the Donald R. Wright Auditorium at Pasadena Central Library is the Academy Award-winning "Hugo" (2011, PG) Wednesday, March 26, at 1 p.m. When his father dies, a 12-year-old orphan takes up residence behind the walls of a Parisian train station where he meets the person who holds the key to his destiny.

It's finally here! Robin Sloan, author of this year's One City, One Story novel "Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore," will speak to the community Thursday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in the Forum (downstairs) at All Saints Church. Jan Sanders, director of the Pasadena Public Library system, will moderate.


Monday, March 31, is the deadline for teens to submit their art for the One City, One Story "Unlocking the Secretcontest.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Celebrating Our German Roots

The sign in German above translates to a message of hope: "When you think you can go no further, a little light will come to show the way." 

It's on a wall at the historic Alpine Haus Restaurant and Weingarten in New Braunfels, Texas.

My siblings and I have deep roots all over Europe, including Germany. One set of great-grandparents were Edward Kleiner and Bertha Weirauch; their respective parents were Anton Kleiner, Marie Jueschke, Teodor Weirauch and Karoline Kempe. 

Edward Kleiner and Bertha Weirauch Kleiner:

Anton Kleiner and Marie Jueschke Kleiner:

Teodor Weirauch and Karoline Kempe Weirauch:

So my sister Charlou and I we were excited to learn earlier this week about the strong German influence in Texas Hill Country where we've been vacationing.

With towns named New Braunfels, Luckenbach, Boerne and Gruene, we've been feeling our German roots strongly.

For lunch yesterday, our last full day here, we sought out German cuisine. I fondly remember my paternal grandmother, Alma Kleiner Easley, making hassenpfeffer with dumplings from scratch with no recipe. It was so delicious!

There was no hassenpfeffer on the menu at Alpine Haus, but there were plenty of other traditional German favorites.

I ordered wiener schnitzel with dumplings and sauerkraut. Mmmmmm...

Charlou enjoyed jaeger schnitzel with dumplings and red cabbage:

A stein of Weihenstephaner Kristall Weissbeir for her...

...and Franz Keller pinot noir for me:

And of course traditional apple strudel for dessert to share:

Suffice it to say the food was delicious and authentic and took us back to primal feelings of well-planted roots. 

Alma and Edward and Bertha and Anton and Marie and Teodor and Karoline would have been so pleased.

Here are some shots taken by Charlou inside Alpine Haus with its lovely German antiques and other decor. 

When we left Alpine Haus, we explored historic downtown New Braunfels.

I love this business with the hybrid German-Spanish name:

Tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old sycamore tree:

Naegelin's (another German name) bills itself as the oldest bakery in Texas.

The beautiful and historic Comal County Courthouse:

By the time you read this, we'll most likely be on planes back to our respective cities.

Check out all my posts from Texas here.

We have had a grand adventure in Texas Hill Country! 

And now...back to reality.

Don't Fence Me In

Yesterday I was fascinated with some of the ranch entrances we passed as my sister Charlou and I drove through Texas Hill Country.

And then there was this one:

President Lyndon Baines Johnson was born and raised here and died here in 1973. Lady Bird Johnson, the first lady, continued to live here and in Austin after LBJ's death. She passed away in 2007.

They donated 674 acres of the 1,500-acre ranch to the National Park Service prior to LBJ's death to protect his birthplace, his grandparents' home, the schoolhouse, the cemetery and LBJ's and Lady Bird's home. The Johnson daughters, Luci and Lynda, continue to own the surrounding lands.

Before we toured the Texas White House, we stopped by the Visitors Center.

We got our free driving permit and purchased a CD that served as an audio tour guide as we drove through the ranch.

It is a working ranch, so we were mindful of livestock along the roadside and slow-moving ranch vehicles.

The Pedernales River runs through the ranch.

Trinity Lutheran Church, which the Johnsons attended, is just across the river from the ranch.

The one-room school house LBJ attended:

The Show Barn was another one of our stops along the driving tour.

These ranch hands are long-time employees of the LBJ Ranch and are all from nearby towns.

I was eager to try roping the steer and was dead serious about it!

Charlou riding tall in the saddle:

This little guy (see him?) was born two weeks ago. They're keeping a watchful eye on him and his mama.

LBJ often traveled on Air Force One, but he also traveled on this smaller jet, affectionately named Air Force One-Half. I don't know if a U.S. president in modern times would be allowed to travel on such a small aircraft.

The runway on the ranch is now the parking lot for Texas White House tours.

The 8,000-square-foot, 28-room Texas White House is beautiful.

LBJ spent about 20 percent of his presidency here.

The gigantic oak tree in front of the house is known now as the Cabinet Oak because so many cabinet decisions were made under it.

Some of its ancient branches are now held up by wooden supports.

Interesting that right this minute, as I'm writing this, The View is on and Alan Cranston is the guest. He is starring in a Broadway play about LBJ. I had no idea.

Anyway, photos are not allowed to be taken inside the Texas White House. Here's an image from the LBJ Ranch website:

Our tour guide reminded us that the reason for three TVs was that there were only three channels: ABC, CBS and NBC, which LBJ had on at all times to see news coverage.

Behind the house there is this wonderful upside-down L-shaped area where dignitaries, celebrities, international heads of state and others wrote their names in cement when they visited the Texas White House. It's a great idea.

That's Charlou at the upper left taking a closer look.

LBJ gave his daughter Luci Baines Johnson this 1965 Corvette Stingray for her 18th birthday. She lives in Austin and still drives it when she visits the ranch.

The LBJ 100 is coming up at the end of the month. Luci rides every year.

I can't believe our week-long vacation is almost over! We fly back to our respective areas tomorrow.

In the meantime, we're off to have some German food for lunch. German food is as big as Tex-Mex in Texas Hill Country due to the strong German immigrant roots here.

I think there's some hasenpfeffer with my name on it!