Sunday, December 12, 2010

Merry Christmas to ... ME

I have lived with a utilitarian refrigerator, about the only one that fit in the 30" slot between the sink cabinet and a wall, for more than 10 years. While I was single it was ok. But with my husband and a whole produce section required for Buster's greens, peppers, carrots, butternut squash and other assorted vegis, it was becoming just a huge pain in the butt.As I began designing the upstairs renovations I also wanted to re-do the kitchen. However, the kitchen had to be placed on the back burner (I hope to be able to get to it the year after next). So any dreams of a 36" wide counter depth french door refrigerator were also placed on the back burner.

Until...somewhere along the line, more than a year after the upstairs was completed, we realized there might be an interim solution. We could replace the pantry unit next to the stove with a refrigerator, and replace the old refrigerator with a new pantry unit. It's not ideal, but it's doable. Very doable. So the search began in earnest. I read consumer reports and narrowed my search down, I went to show rooms to touch and feel refrigerators, I came away with a clearer idea of what I wanted (and what I didn't want) in a refrigerator. I searched again and went to Best Buy to touch and feel the Samsung rfg237aars. I read more reviews, searched the Internet near and far for the best price, and with my selection made and my husband's endorsement I pressed the Check Out button. And with my dear husband managing the delivery and installation I came home Friday to the most beautiful refrigerator I have ever owned.
I gave it (and my husband) a big hug this morning.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

The Menu
Turkey's going in the oven in a few minutes. I made the pie last night.

Update: The evening, like turkey, is done. Here's a few shots of dinner.
The spread.
The bird.
Preparing to feast.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Search Engine

Trying to remember what we did last thanksgiving... I know we were in Yosemite for Christmas. But I wasn't finding Thanksgiving in my memory bank. It's a good thing I had my camera with me. So I went to My Photos and OF COURSE! We were traveling in the camper-van through Death Valley. WONDERFUL trip. Remember?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Halloween - The Day After

After making apple pie on Saturday and preparing for trick-or-treaters on Sunday I just wanted to throw a couple of photos up of our pumpkin carvings. So here's the pumpkins.* * *
Will's got more photos here.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apple Pie

I'm no pastry chef, that's for sure. I know it's all in the crust and my crusts have tended to be heavy and dense, not light a flaky. But with the abundance of apples gathered from our day trip out to Yucaipa's Oak Glen Apple Orchards AND the November issue of Better Homes and Gardens' feature of Alan Carter with his pie pastry recipe AND an Apple-Cranberry Pie recipe to go with the pastry, well it was clear that I would be making a pie.

Of course I could have opted for a ready made crust, but with Mr. Carter's recipe, including his secrets for a perfect pastry, I had to give it a try.

With everything ready I began making the pie from its pastry bottom to pastry top.
Though certainly inexperienced hands rolled it, the pastry was indeed flaky. And the cranberries really added a nice tartness. It turned out to be an altogether yummy pie.Will's apple orchard set here.
Mine here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Family Visit

Meeting my Mom in the middle between where she lives on the east coast of Myrtle Beach, SC and me on the west cost of Los Angeles, CA we made our way to the beautiful mountain town of Troy on the Kootenai River in northwest MT at the end of September.

Mom and I met up at the Denver airport and caught the twin engine prop to Kalispell, picked up a car and drove the 2 hours on the 2 highway passing rivers, lakes, meadows and mountains, arriving at Grandma and Jimmy's house by mid-afternoon. Neither Mom nor I had the street address but as long as you're on the right side of the main street and left of the railroad tracks, who needs an address.

With no agenda other that to visit with my family I settled in to the sofa and conversation. I see my family so seldom. We're few and scattered around a bit, and when my Mom told me she was planning a visit I told her to let me know when and I'd be there.

Through my entire adult life, and before, we would all get together at Grandma and Grandpa's house for Thanksgiving. Every year, year after year. My Mom used to pay for my flight when I was still a young adult and making my way on my own. I treasure those memories and still find myself trying to adapt to the new calendar of my life. And to my family that is less one important person in my life.

Lot's of things will make me think of my late Grandpa, and my thoughts of him are always, always, deep and calming and I brim with my memories of him. We all do.

So when I have the chance to see my family, even if only for a day or two, I'm there. I'm always there.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

New Destination #2 - The Getty Villa

For my Mom-in-law's birthday we made a day of it and went to the Getty Villa, had dinner at Moonshadows on the ocean, and went back to the Getty Villa amphitheater for the spectacular performance of Sophocles' Elektra.I especially enjoyed the herb garden at the Getty Villa. Plucking sprigs of rosemary, basil, and mint, I held them up to my nose breathing them in, oh, heaven.

What a wonderful museum. And an amazing collection of marble and bronze sculptures and artifacts from the Romans, Greeks and Etruscans.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

New Destination #1 - Sequoia Kings Canyon NP

It was a wonderful September filled with new destinations. The first was a trip to Sequoia Kings Canyon NP over the Labor Day weekend. We scored Cabin #9 in Grant Grove Village which was the perfect location for our first trip to the sprawling park. We finished each day on the porch of our cabin with a cold beer looking out on our own pretty meadow as the sun set.

There were so many amazing areas and such a diversity of landscape, from the depths of the marble caves to the towering sequoias. Spending our first day to the North in Kings Canyon we hardly saw another vehicle on the road and rarely passed a person on the trail. It was a tranquil and leisurely day that included Boyden Cave, Zumwalt Meadow, Roaring River Falls and Grizzly Falls, along with Hume Lake and many many canyon vistas.On Saturday, upon emerging from Crystal Cave we quickly became mired in the tourist onslaught in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia NP where the General Sherman Tree is located. After viewing it's magnificence we had planned on scaling Moro Rock and strolling around Crystal Meadow, but we quickly skedaddled to a quiet creek for a picnic lunch, kicked off our shoes, and got our toes wet.

We found that, like Yellowstone, there may be a bazillion people in the park but it's easy enough to get away from them just by getting out early in the day or getting on a trail. So, returning to Sequoia the next day early enough to avoid the incoming waves of people, we did scale Moro Rock and walked the trail from there to Crystal Meadow (where we saw two bears). Then we took our new Ford Escape off the beaten path to a steep and rutted dirt road leading to the base of Buck Rock. We climbed the switchback of about 200 metal steps to the working fire lookout perched on top of the rock.The cinnamon giants (aka sequoias) are so beautiful and the meadows are like a dream, the waterfalls take me back to a time when I was free-spirited teen, and it's all right within a few hours drive. We will be going back again.

More photos (with more to come) on flickr.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Bird Inspired

When I was a young 'un I liked to paint and sketch. As I got older I turned to other joys; cooking, travel, my love. And although inspiration is virtually everywhere, absolutely everywhere, I haven't done such things for quite some time. Alas, it is time that is my barrier, or so I ration.

I love and admire art in so many of it's forms. Color, space, texture. Wherever I travel I look for something of art to bring back home. I have paintings by local artists from my trips through the enchanting Alsace region of Strasbourg France, the medieval treasure of Venice Italy, and the colonial gem of Guanajuato Mexico.

I've been framing some photos from our trip to Africa for the bedroom as well as keeping an eye out for bird prints for the bathroom. The frame store where I've been shopping also has a small art supply section and as I walk the isles I've been looking at brushes and watercolors. For so little I can get a variety pack of brushes, an 8 color watercolor set and a 9x12 pad of heavyweight paper. While I didn't get them the first time, the second time I went to the frame shop I did.

For my first attempt I thought I'd try a folk art style bird.
It's not really a style that I have experience with but it's a style I love and I think I'll continue to practice it, but it didn't quite come out like I pictured.

My next attempt was a more realistic, but still unrefined depiction of the winged, and modeled after an image I found online, it turned out looking closer to how I wanted it to. It's been a joy to mix the pot of eight basic colors to varying shades and hues. This one might even make it to frame and hang with the other birds in the bathroom.

And now while the days are long and the light is with me I can squeeze in the time to paint and I can't wait to begin the next one. Soon enough I'll have to fight time as it relentlessly turns those days against me.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Mango Salsa with a Brief Update

I made Mango Salsa to go along with grilled steaks for dinner tonight.
I know. I've been neglecting my blog. It's just that I find it hard to keep up with. It's not that there's nothing going on, because there certainly is. We've had a wonderful rainy winter and the garden is blooming big time. The Easter lilys were bigger and there were more blooms than I've ever seen. The Jasmin is full and fragrant. The Rosemary, well oh my goodness, aromatic heaven.

Sadly, Skip, one of our three tree frogs, died a couple of weeks ago. Now there's just Hop and Ajump. Skip was my favorite. He was always the first one to come down when I was tapping crickets in for them to hunt. We wrapped him in a paper towel and tied it with ribbon, and buried him in the garden under the water dish in which sits an iron frog from Guanajauto, Mexico.

There have been wonderful weekends and visits to LACMA where I had a nice chat with a woman from South Africa while I waited for my husband. We biked the Art in Historic Places, a self guided tour through West Adams District to view local artists work and their historic homes.

We're enjoying plenty of warm afternoons on the porch with the dogs, watching a hummingbird fly in and out of her nest, sipping sangria, mojitos, or just tea.

Time to get the steaks an the grill and pop open a cold Corona.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Is It April Already

Just back from camping in Death Valley and seeing a spectacular showing of wild flowers. While it may be true they were more like patches than blankets of blossoms, I would still say they were spectacular. And while a patch of purple and yellow flowers may get you to pull over and take a look, what you'll see are more wonderful flowers than you had imagined there would be. We also had the pleasure of taking Will's cousin, Nathan, with us. So we thoroughly enjoyed spring in DV and the company of a very nice young man to boot.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spectacular Spectacular

My husband woke up before the sun and said a-walking we should go. He said he could see stars in the pre-dawn sky and it would be a beautiful morning to hike Mt. Hollywood from the Griffith Observatory. So we did just that. And after 5 straight days of an onslaught of downpours, hail, and end to end rainbows, the skies on this day were clear giving us spectacular views of the snow line and our fair city.

Flickr Set