Sunday, December 21, 2008

Milk Man

Not finding the Broguiere's Egg Nog on the super market shelves yet this season we made the drive to Montebello's Dairy to get it straight from the source. My Milk Man is holding a carton containing bottles of Milk, Chocolate Milk and four bottles of Egg Nog.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 19, 2008

From an Office Window

After the rain this week I've got a pretty view from my 12th floor office looking north to the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory. Good weather for hiking the Ferndale Trail up to the Observatory.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

La Mano Press

Will and I took a trip downtown to stop by La Mano Press' art sale. They're shutting down the Los Angeles shop. I picked up a piece by Emilia Garcia printed on an alter candle, and Will a great piece by Artemio Rodriguez himself.

The day was cool and we had just left Costco where we bulked up on pet food, litter, and Diet Pepsi. The place is always, always a nightmare of clueless drivers clogging up the traffic flow in the parking lot. I really never ever cease to wonder why some people will sit there with three cars stacked behind them and wait for someone to unload and pull out of their space, rather the park in a spot that would require them to walk a little bit. So, as we inched around just such a tardo, and drive on back to the rear of the store, there are literally dozens of available parking spaces.

With that chore done and behind us as we passed a Christmas Tree lot with day-glo flocked trees lined up against the chainlink fence Will scolded me for not having my seatbelt on, which caused me to then miss my shot as we shot by the day-glo flocked Christmas trees. Recovering I "click it or ticket" and we continued our way across the bridge to the artists space near the San Antonio Winery. No tardos, no hassles, no lines at the check out. Just art and artists, and a bowl of Reeses penut butter cups, and Chicklets gum, and my sweetie pie. Happy days.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving at Home

Will and I stayed home for Thanksgiving this year. The only other time we haven't been traveling together for Thanksgiving was 2005, the year we were married. Since then we've been going to my Mom's in South Carolina. And last year we extended the trip and went to Charleston for a few days. I like getting over to the east coast and there will be future trips there along with diversions to N. Y., or Atlanta, or New Orleans. There's lots in the east, south and north, that I'd like to see.

Dinner this year was cooked by Casey and me. All of my recipes came from Sunset magazine: cranberry and meyer lemon relish, herb rolls, chard and sausage French bread stuffing, plus spicy pumpkin soup which is an old recipe from Oprah's magazine. The first time I made that soup, Will and I were still dating. Casey made the leg of lamb and roasted vegetables, sweet potatoes with caramel sauce, and berries creme brule for desert.

Casey's friend and neighbor, Nancy, came to dinner too and once the dogs, well Ranger, stopped acting like there was a demon inside her, the finishing touches were put on the dishes, wine bottles were uncorked and we all sat down at the table to eat. Casey is a really good cook, and she made enough to feed 12. My dishes all turned out really good too, and I only made enough to feed about 8.

I didn't take any photos after Casey and Nancy arrived and only snapped a few of the table, but the food not only tasted good it looked good too. We snipped fresh rosemary sprigs from the backyard shrub and the house smelled heavenly. The dogs calmed down and were laying at our feet under the table as we ate and drank wine and talked.

I'm so thankful for all I have and all I have accomplished. In a time when so many people are facing such difficult and uncertain times, I'm thankful for the love and stability I feel in my life and my home and my family.

While I cleared the dinner dishes, Casey sprinkled sugar on her creme brules and berries and put the torch to them. While they cooled in the fridge I put the coffee on. After coffee and desert we soon said goodnight to our guests and Will and I were left to collapse on the sofa. And before we went to bed Will had all the dishes done and everything was put away.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Where a River Runs

I sure like traveling, but I like coming home.
Denver was great. I never did need that winter coat though. It was 78 on Tuesday and the evenings were also comfortable. It wasn't until the day I left that a cold front had moved in overnight and temps dipped way down to freezing. I think I saw some things I wouldn't have if I didn't have that Sunset article too.

With the conference and time constraints I could only stick to the downtown areas. Couldn't get over to the Rockies or any country trails. I've always loved a downtown that has a river running through it. Reno (yes Reno), Redding, Chicago. Accessible rivers with trails, parks and activities; more of a feature of the city than something that is considered to be a problem area by its officials.

Maybe someday the Los Angeles River will be like that. Maybe I'll have to get more involved in the developments here. I know there are local advocates for the Los Angeles River and plans underway to develop the riverfront areas. Progress being made as the people of the city become more involved in its direction.

Denver Photos here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Winter Coats

Denver circa 1898

I'll be traveling to Denver on Monday for work. I've never been there so I'm looking forward to it.

I don't own a winter coat so I went out this weekend and bought one. Now it looks like it's going to be in the 60's, and even in the 70's on Wednesday. I was hoping for snow, or at lease chilly weather. That's hardly even long sleeve weather. I'm packing that winter coat anyway.

I came across an article in the October issues of Sunset with a 3 mile self guided walking tour so I tore out the pages and I'm bringing them with me. I'll be staying right across from the convention center in downtown Denver so I should be able to see quite a bit while I'm there. All my batteries are charged and my gear is packed.

Photos to share when I get back.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Thinking and Sketching

Not much to report on this weekend. Leaving Will at home to watch the Alabama game on Saturday, I thought I might make a trip to Chinatown to stock up on some Plum tea. Also in need of a tea bob and thinking about holiday "stuff" I headed downtown. Nice day for it too. With last weekend's rain and the strong breezes we've got some blue blue skies.

Last week we signed our loan docs and picked up the big check. Now I'm looking at some of the details of the renovation project. We're starting with the upstairs where most of the work will take place transforming the cramped space in the dormer to a generously sized bathroom, and I've been thinking and sketching some floor tile detail. I found a black and white tumbled marble pinwheel tile for the shower floor and I will also use it as a border on the bathroom floor, which is a white and black pinwheel tile. Then we'll have subway tile along the sink wall and inside the shower walls, and this mammoth 75" pedestal tub.The work is scheduled to begin in January. And I think about how fortunate I am to be in a position to take this on right now, when so many people are over their heads in debt and losing their homes. I worked hard to get here and I don't take it lightly. I know this is an old house and that we may encounter problems along the way. We're ready for that and I've built allowances for it, as much as possible, into the budget. I've got a sensible plan and a reasonable budget and a good contractor to make it all happen.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Peek Upstairs

Redirecting the majority of the work towards the back dormer, we're widening it and taking some space from a bedroom to install a generous master bathroom, and turning the bedroom into a master closet. Although the balcony was cut from the plans because of the budget we'll have a large window at the end of the bathroom to bathe the space in light and create a breezeway from the front dormer through to the back dormer.

Work potentially scheduled to begin January 2009.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Kitchen Palette Reveal

After meeting with the cabinet lady earlier this week I have all of the kitchen materials and finishes chosen and my husband has given his "ok by me".

From floor on up they are:
  • Floor - 12" terra cotta tiles set on the diagonal with a 6" border.
  • Cabinets - Maple recessed panel doors finished in canvas glaze with steel bar pulls.
  • Counter top - PaperStone in Slate. A recycled product made out of paper using a cashew nut resin. It has the look of Soap Stone and cuts much like wood.
  • Wall Color - Goldfinch.
A little update on how things are progressing: No problems refinancing to pay for the renovation, but Jesus' initial estimate was way too much so I started eliminating and scaling back the scope of the upstairs project. I hope to have a revised number from him by tomorrow so I can give the bank a final number. This could fund by the end of the month.

This weekend I combed through my list of products and materials (appliances, tub, vanity, sink, etc) and through scaling back and even eliminating items that don't effect the overall integrity of the design I've been able to shave 13% off of my bottom line. Now, let's see how much
Jesus was able shave off and we'll be on our merry, dusty, disruptive, construction zone way.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Nickel For Your Thoughts

My wonderful husband and I drove downtown to have breakfast at the recently opened Nickel Diner. I ordered the 5th and Main; BBQ Pork Hash with Poached Eggs. While it sounded good in theory, the BBQ sauce completely overwhelmed the plate. I pushed the saucy pork aside to get it away from the perfectly poached and very fresh eggs. I wish I had tried something else. Oh well, some choices I make in my life are better than others. And in the whole scheme of things this one wrong decision is certainly not likely to be the cause of any great catastrophy. The place itself was really great with a wonderful menu, I just selected the wrong dish.

We had high winds yesterday making the skies over Los Angeles today a deep and clear blue. We marveled at the blueness as we passed the beautiful old Rosslyn Hotel and spied a couple of cats in a shop window where we were met by Stella, the shop's owner. She invited us in to her unique "gallery" of art, dresses, hats and a variety of furnishings, props and cats. A delightful lady with an accent I couldn't place. Something sounding kind of German-ish to me, she had her Best of Downtown awards and other notable mentions and articles on a shelf and hanging on the wall near the back of the shop.

It felt very comfortable to me. Her shop. It was filled with the things she obviously loves, including a few cats, and in all her creative and quirky splendor she has carved her place in life.

Now that I'm home with my Sweetie pie, doing laundry and dealing with a few work issues, and crunching numbers on the house renovation, I think about the day when my days may be spent welcoming passersby into a shop, my husband tinkering on bicycles, and a dog and cat or two nearby.

Photos on Flickr

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Our Own Young Lions

The color of dry grass, lions blend into the landscape. I suppose that's nature's design enabling them to remain unseen as they stalk their prey, and disappear into their surroundings should an enemy be near. While exploring the floor of the Ngorongoro crater on our safari honeymoon through East Africa and Rwanda in July of 2005, seeing any of the big cats was the most thrilling and wonderful thing. These three young lions rested with their mother nearby. It was early and the crater's rim is cloaked in fog. Their fur is damp.

Sometimes I'd like to throw it all into the wind and leave possessions behind. Simplify, get out of the city, depart. I feel that day will come, but first there are excursions to be made, renovations to embark upon. Responsibilities. My home is here, mine and my husband's, and our own young lions to watch over.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


I've found my dear friend Cari again.

We will weave in and out each others lives with the passing of time. This time it happened as she left a comment to my post. And of course I hit the link to her blog. I see that there has been a recent wound to her heart.

As one who has found love, and the stars aligned perfectly in order for our love to grow, I am comforted and filled with joy that I will spend the rest of my life with the one I love.

And I feel for her. It seems he could have been that one for her.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tripping Back in Time

Returning from a weekend trip up to Redding I am filled with the wonderful images and memories of my years in Northern California.

Written on the back of this photo: L to R Gampa, Grama, Aunt Debbie, Me, Mom, Mike
1974 New Years Eve

Mom flew in from South Carolina on Friday, after weathering Tropical Storm Hanna the Friday before. We met at LAX and caught the Horizon Bombadier to Redding to visit my Grandma at her new house.
My Uncle Jim arrived earlier that week after driving 16 hours straight through from Troy, MT. My brother and his wife, Lynda, were having car trouble and were unable to make it.

My family are early risers and I was always the last to get up at about 6:30, cowboy coffee on the stove and watermelon in the fridge. We all came and went throughout the weekend, together then apart, taking our own roads then coming back together. It was an easy pace with no real agenda to follow.

Mom, grandma and I walked to the Farmer's Market and picked up some produce (tomatoes, cucumber, herbed goat cheese, fresh basil) and home baked garlic herb bread that we had later for dinner. Jim did some yard work and went to the library. Grandma and I walked over to the park along the river. I walked over to the library, and mom and I walked to the corner store to get some ice cream. What was so great about this visit, among so many things, was just being with my family.

The weather reports were indicating hot and sunny, with temps above 100. And right away I felt like I was 16 and it was the end of summer at Lake Shasta.
My friend Peggy on the left and me

We drove past The Shack, a burger joint downtown, that I remember going to with my friends and ordering fries and a coke after summer school. We drove past a string of motels on Miracle Mile where I used to pool hop on summer days while making my way home from Whiskeytown Lake.

We all have our own memories wrapped around the town of Redding as it has been a big part of our lives, and going back there is always like going home again for me. Although Grandpa is gone it seems like he is still there because every story we tell includes him. He could be sitting right there, with a little black dog in his lap.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The End of Summer Vacation, For Some Of Us That Is

This weekend being the last summer holiday, and the veritable end of summer, I get an email from Mom who takes the opportunity to rub it in and let it be known that she's on vacation every day.

Will and I decided to make a late afternoon trek to the California Science Center yesterday to use up a couple of VIP passes to the Body Worlds exhibit. Entering the Science Center we headed towards the winding line of ticket holders where a purple-shirted attendant checked our tickets and said "follow me". I didn't know what was happening at first but our VIP status tickets worked like magic. The velvet rope was swept aside for us alone and and we got to go right in.
The exhibit is on two floors and as we left one exhibit hall and topped the escalator to the next to be confronted by another winding line of ticket holders, we walked right up to that rope and found a purple-shirted attendant and the magic worked, again we were ushered in. Score!

Unless you're a surgeon or something you've probably only seen text book diagrams or motion picture and television scenes of the body's internal organs and everything else that holds us together. So this was a weird look inside of me. Not only was every part opened up and sliced in pieces, it was positioned in extremely unusual ways. Definitely not your textbook diagram. Unfortunately no photos were allowed inside.
Afterwards we strolled through the Rose Gardens and then headed across town to R23 for Japanese dinner. This is the first time I've been to R23 and I was really looking forward to fulfilling a recent craving I've been having for soft shelled crab. In reading some of the customer reviews it appeared that the crab salad was a must, so I added that to the list to be ordered.
We arrived there plenty hungry and while Will ordered a Soporro beer our server was so helpful when I asked him to help me select a Saki. It came chilling in it's own glass carafe with a little ice chamber, it's taste on the sweeter side of the spectrum. Then we had just about the best crab salad ever. Plenty of crab and fresh greens and a light and fresh dressing with ginger in its ingredients. We also had soft shelled crab that was hot and crispy in its tempura batter with a smoky dipping sauce on the side. That was followed by a variety of sushi then shrimp tempura. For desert I had green tea ice cream.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

What's up with the Renovation

We have completed the house renovation design and planning stages and made decisions on all flooring, finishes, design elements etc. I've had an HVAC company come out to give me an estimate on central heat and air. I met with Jesus and went over the plans to start getting some cost estimates together for the construction. We're waiting for the number$.

It is timely that the Anaheim Home and Garden Show was this past week and through the weekend so I could go see and touch some of the materials.
On the way I stopped at SimpleFloors in Commerce to look at some Bamboo floors and pick up some samples.At the Home show I saw the pedestal tub we plan to use in the master bath. Saw all of the recycled product counter tops, including PaperStone. Checked out closet systems and lots and lots of kitchen cabinets. There is still a long way to go but it's going.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

I Told You You Were Gonna Be On The Internet

We saw lots and lots of dogs in Mexico. A pack of them guided us through the Toltec Ruins of Tula, and we saw them everywhere we went in Guanajuato.

This little girl though, really stole my heart. I would have packed her up in my suitcase if I could have. She lives in a really nice part of town though and I think she is well cared for. Although not wearing a collar, which I don't think is that unusual, when we reached a certain distance from where we first saw her she stopped following us and turned towards an open shop doorway and stayed there.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thinking of Truco7

Meeting up with fellow Angelino, Jonathan, while in Guanajuato (he's studying at the University of Guanajuato), was really unexpected. We bumped in to him on several occasions along the way, in the halls of the Hotel Posada Santa Fe, at an outdoor cafe at one of the many plazas of the city, and repeatedly at Truco7.
He pointed us to Truco7 early on for their Turkish Coffee, and the bohemian-y spot, with moody beatnik jazz from back in the day playing in the background, instantly became our first and favorite stop of the day for breakfast and coffee. One day Will tried the Vietnamese coffee, which was a small tin of espresso dripping into a glass of ice and condensed milk, making the yummiest iced coffee ever. Somehow I'll have to find a way to recreate that here at home. It would be really good on a warm summer morning like today. I'm sure that somewhere in this melting pot of our City of Angels I'll find what I need.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Main Attractions

It took me all day (off and on) to go through and edit, crop, and correct photos. Then it will take some more time to select images for Flickr. I won't put all 1900+ up. But the main attractions are:

Tula's Toltec Ruins
* * *
Queretaro's Aquaducts
* * *
Just About Everything In Guanajuato
There will be plenty more to come...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Summer Swing

With summer in full swing the flowers are popping. Bursts of color everywhere.

I've been checking my cameras this weekend and making sure I have batteries charged and ready for our summer holiday in Mexico. We're looking forward to our trip through the colonial towns of Queretaro and Guanajauto and the Toltec ruins of Tula.

The house renovation process continues. We've made decisions on all of the design elements (cabinetry, counter tops, flooring,fixtures, etc). When we get back from vacation I'll start the process to permanently remove the rental units from the market and return this old house to a single family home. Floor plans are being drawn by Jodi of It's An Art, and the wonderful Jesus is on board to do the work.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tomato Harvest

They're ripening on the vine. Our first two maters and they were really good tasting and firm-fleshed. There's another one on the window sill waiting for tonight's dinner. We'll just slice it and eat it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Anniversary #3

A traditional 3rd Anniversary gift is something of leather, and there are my Italian leather, cashmere lined, red gloves. The modern 3rd Anniversary gift is something crystal, which is represented in a set of Paris styled tumblers. This one filled with my new favorite Plum Tea.

We also went back to our favorite local restaurant, Cliff's Edge, to celebrate. The place always reminds me of lodge dining in Africa. And we talk of going back again, to Africa.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Not For All The Tea In Mexico

I discovered a wonderful tea that is absolutely great iced and I can't find it anymore. It's TADIN Mango Green Tea. I believe this tea company is based in Mexico and they distribute out of a plant in the City of Commerce. I don't like the the flavored teas on the supermarket shelves these days, they are too heavily flavored and sweet, and buying them by the bottle is way too expensive. I'd rather brew my own. And at $4 box, 25 tea bags gets me 4 pitchers of iced tea. I placed one order of 10 boxes of tea on Amazon and when I went back to reorder my second order only shipped 2 boxes, the rest on back order for forever. Then I found another site that carried them and ordered 10 boxes and only received 1, the rest back ordered for eternity.
So I'd been thinking about going to Chinatown to find a good replacement tea. Something light and fruity but not "flavored" and "sweetened". I googled and found that Ten Ren's Tea is the place for me. I found the small shop at the butt end of a crazy shopping center, and the woman on duty was very nice and helpful. One side of the shop is for traditional teas, the other side has a boba tea counter. No mango green teas in the traditional tea side but I bought a Plum Tea, Rose Green Tea and Hibiscus Green Tea. At the Boba tea counter I ordered a Mango Green Tea Cooler, without the boba. it was really really good.I haven't tried my tea bounty yet, but I hope they fill the void until all the tea in Mexico makes its way across the border and on to my local supermarket shelves again, or Amazon fills their back orders.

Flickr Set

Monday, May 26, 2008

Biking the San Buenaventura River Trail

After reading a short article in Sunset magazine's March issue about the Ventura River Bike Trail I tore the page out and added it to my "places to go and things to do" pile where it rested until yesterday.

It was a lovely Sunday morning drive up through the valley and the really quaint Santa Paula with its agriculture and roadside produce stands, and on to San Buenvaventura and the sea. We had breakfast at a small downtown diner and visited the Mission before entering the bike trail. Although the trail started off kind of bleak, with the highway to the left and industrial yards to the right, there are interesting art installations along the way. Once we passed through trumpet vine covered fences
the highway disappears and the river finally appears and the trail winds along a more quiet and peaceful stretch of land.

There we passed an abandoned oil refinery, crossed over an old wooden bridge and peeked
through a vine covered chain link fence at a back lot set of some bygone era street scene. We reached Foster Park where a nice bridge crosses the river and two lions at the gate guard the front.We rested there for a bit and watched the river run before turning into the headwind and biking our way back to where we began.

Flickr set here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Angelino Heights Open House

When we left the house this morning at about 9:30 it already felt like it was 90 degrees outside. We stopped at Masa for breakfast and walked on up Douglas to Carrol Avenue in Angelino Heights to be looky-loos for the Trolley Line Open House Tour. The houses, Victorians and Craftsmans, were built from 1886 to 1909. The largest house came in at over 9,000 square feet and the cost of construction...$11,500.
More on Flickr

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Who are You?

These are cute but they're eating the leaves of my Tomato plants. I haven't been able to ID them with any online searching. But then I'm no bug expert by any means. I flicked one and it flew off.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Tomato Invaders have Arrived

I've been very light handed with the organic bug spray on the vegetable garden, and now I'm paying the price for it. The tomato invaders have arrived. As I was watering the tomato plants and getting ready to stake them out some support to hold their heavy boughs, I spotted a plump green caterpillar on the top soil. I checked my one little green tomato and something was poking its little brown caterpillar head (or bottom??) out. Dang. I plucked the plump Caterpillar from the ground and then plucked my little tomato from the vine. Looking through the green leaves I found another little green caterpillar, got the spray out and doused the plants but good. Take that tomato invaders.