Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sassy Suburban Heaven

There is no doubt about it; I am a city girl. Give me an urban skyline, a gaggle of live music venues and streets filled with hipsters, and I am a happy denizen. But I have to admit, I am having the loveliest time here in beautiful South Pasadena, residence of the handsome gentleman to the left: Nephew Sassy. As the name would suggest, South Pasadena shares its northern border with the southern border of Pasadena, the suburban paradise I called home until I left for college in the fall of 1988.

Nephew Sassy and I have had quite the time getting to know each other. He is going to be a wonderful co-conspirator when he gets a little older. In the meantime, he allowed me to hang out with him while he had his lunch yesterday afternoon, and he was a very good sport and let me hold him for a much longer time than I would let someone I just met hold me. He even posed for this photo with me without complaining about the paparazzi. My brother Mike and sister-in-law Maki are doing really well, too. They're tired, but happy.

Then at about 6:00 yesterday evening the amazing and talented Schleevin, who is in Southern California from New York, joined the party. Do you have someone in your life for whom you hold such a deep and genuine affection it's almost a little overwhelming? You really should. As I have said in previous posts, for me, that person is Schleevin. Even when we are 100 years old and drooling into cups and he no longer has a prostate, I am convinced we will still be friends. I would do anything for this lad; I love him that much. Anyway, last night Schleevin, Mike, Maki, Nephew Sassy and I took a trip to 1952 by walking down to the corner drugstore and soda fountain for milk shakes. Our dessert already ingested, Schleevin and I put on our best camera-ready faces for the above commemorative photo before taking off for dinner. We ended up at a very delicious restaurant tucked into a converted firehouse where we chowed down on salads and, of all things, meatloaf. It was fancy meatloaf, but meatloaf nonetheless. We then drove into Los Angeles proper and paid a visit to The Bounty, a bar which used to play host to the likes of Walter Winchell and Charlton Heston. We didn't see Charlton there last night, but that's his loss, because it certainly was a fabulous evening.

This morning I took a very long run in the warm San Gabriel Valley air. I headed east through South Pasadena into San Marino and was so distracted by the familiar streets and places (including a diner my friends and I used to frequent on late Friday and Saturday nights in high school) that I didn't realize how far I had gone. I think the whole route was between six and seven miles, but in all honesty, I got tired and walked the last third. After my run, I grabbed a smoothie and some snacks at the independently-owned coffee and ice cream place in Mike and Maki's neighborhood. Anyone who believes, like I know a lot of you do, that Southern California is nothing more than ugly tract houses insulating countless strip malls should take a trip to South Pasadena. Or San Marino. Or Pasadena, although as the largest of the three towns, Pasadena does have a few strip malls. But only a few.

I have several more hours here before I trek back up north to my city life. It's nice to pay a visit to suburbia every once in a while, and it's even nicer when it doesn't scare you.

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