Friday, June 22, 2007

Mixed Succulents - Thursday 6/21/2007

Braveheart gave me the reddish cuttings, along with a trunkful of others, a week ago Tuesday. I put these pieces in with cuttings Sahara gave me years ago.

Rehabbed the fountain pen Braveheart gave me. All it needed was a little warm water and TLC.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Peachy! - Wednesday 6/20/2007

When the birds start eating the peaches in earnest, you know it's time to bring them in. I picked all the peaches they hadn't gotten to off the tree last night.

Lousy shot, but you get the idea. Two grocery bags between 1/3 and 1/2 full of peaches from our little tree. I left about a dozen partially eaten ones on the tree and another couple of dozen were on a broken branch I hadn't noticed so they didn't fully develop.

They're smallish this year, but I think after a day or two in the bags they'll be very tasty. They had decent flavor straight off the branch.

I am going to try canning. Haven't done it since I helped Mom can tomato juice and Bartlett pears.

Braveheart gave some interesting advice. Mom too. The sister says she almost killed her ex's family the last time she tried canning. I am taking advice and also assuming that I have to make some of my own mistakes.

From the recipes I've found, I think I'm going to can some compote, some compote with brandy, some in a syrup (just to see how they turn out), and some in brandy and/or spiced brandy. You have to do certain things similarly for most of these types (like make simple syrup), so it's not as crazy as it sounds.

Or maybe it is.

If so, you may soon see a photograph of my freezer stuffed with frozen peaches.

Wish me luck. Any hints about canning in general, recipes, warnings or admonitions will be appreciated.

Oh, and no. The tomato juice and pears were not in the same containers!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Early Solstice Celebration - Tuesday 6/19/2007

Hydra came home with this today. What's especially cool is that I'd spoken to someone else about my plans to do a small private ceremony on the solstice to recommit to writing and state my intentions for the coming solar quarter.

Here's the backstory:

The beautiful blue Waterman pen he gave me for Christmas 2005 has been missing for a little over two weeks. I've looked high and low, in and out...twice. Calmly. Figuring I would find it and why cause a fuss.
I have

  • sorted through all the books and bookmarks underneath the head of the bed
  • looked in the bill-paying drawer, the end table drawers, the bedside table drawers, even the silverware drawer
  • looked in every bag I've carried in the last six months (at least twice), plus the suitcases I took to France, even though I'd used the pen since coming back
  • cleaned the floor and trunk of my car because the last time I remember seeing it was in my camera bag, and it might have fallen out
  • helped shampoo the carpet in the major rooms and master bedroom...not because of the search, but you see, a lot of stuff has been moved
  • checked under all the cushions
  • completely cleaned all surfaces of my desk at work and reorganized the drawers (partly because of imminent carpet replacement)
  • checked around the outside bench where I sometimes write on the front porch
  • attempted to use both of the gorgeous antique fountain pens Braveheart has given me (non-cartridge...I think they need a thorough cleaning and maybe some rehab)
  • tried the Saint Anthony prayer, but he was apparently busy looking for something for OneL, who is always asking him for favors

So tonight Hydra took pity on me and brought me home a beautiful silver Waterman that says "France" right on it! It's so fine, so well balanced. It didn't require a second of scribbling, the ink was just there. Aaaah.

I am a fountain pen lover. Ever since middle school. Used to be cheap Schaeffers, then Parkers. Only graduated to the Waterman for Christmas 2005.

They flow better than any other kind of pen, and any fountain pen will counteract my bad habits of pressing too hard and holding on too tight. You have to relax when you use a fountain pen, and something about that frees up my brain, too.

What a sweetie my Hydra is. He is so supportive of my creative life.

Dodger thinks it's cool, too.

This is where it stops being cute and I start getting protective. Figuring out how pens and other small shiny objects come apart is practically an avocation for this particular parrot.

Is it fuzzy in here, or is it just me? - Monday 6/18/2007

Remember that fall I took in Paris? Did I mention that I went to the doctor last week and she showed me an x-ray of my spine? There's a little bone in there that was knocked a little bit cock-eyed.

Oddly--and happily, I suppose--it hasn't caused me a lot of pain. And it's not a shooting pain when it is there. But last night I was pretty much clenching my teeth the whole drive home, so I thought it was time to kick up to the prescription ibuprofen.

This is the point at which Sundry begins to seriously consider alternate medicines. Just got a recommendation for an acupunturist. If I can't see the needles, maybe I'll be able to deal with it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Who's Your Birdie Daddy? - Sunday 6/17/2007

Honestly, I don't like it when people refer to my pets as my kids. They are not kids. Just as an example for those of you who aren't clear on the concept, you can't put kids in a cage when you go out for dinner.

No. You can't. Don't give me that look.

I've spent hours today reloading the operating system on my laptop, backing up all my photos to the new external hard drive we bought (if you take a lot of photos, seriously consider this: it's such a relief to have them all together!), and updating my blog. Finally caught up with it.

Now we can return to the spontaneous rollicking fun that you were used to before the big tour d'France!

Yeah, I know. I shouldn't oversell it.

Anyway, the only thing I could think of was to take a shot of Hydra in his new favorite tee shirt with the Artful One in tow.

Thanks everyone for hanging in, and for the nice comments along the way. They are very much appreciated. Just about the time I think I should hang it up, someone says something nice and the old ego rockets to the sky and I'm back behind the camera.

Happy Father's Day to all you real dads out there. You know who you are.

Squeaky Dinosaur - Saturday 6/16/2007

This squeaky dinosaur has been with me since I worked at UCLA. Since before we moved from the old AGSM to the new Rosenfeld Library at the Anderson School of Management. That's at least ten years.

His name is Uncle T.

Sometimes the solemnity of a subject requires black and white images. Just a little of the wisdom I've picked up since I started this project. No need to applaud.

Glass! - Friday 6/15/2007

Remember I told you Braveheart brought the writing group gifts from Iowa? Amongst mine was this amazing 1950s Italian carafe and glasses. I think it's probably for a liqueur, but that didn't stop me from using it for red wine.

This is way cooler than what I brought her from France. She's really good at this.

Oh, and I took her advice and pushed my hair back off my face. I may be done with bangs for a long time again. Since I've had a couple of requests to come out from behind the camera lately, I thought I'd give it a shot.

It was interesting looking down the barrel of my own Nikon.

No filters or Photoshopping were used in the creation of this image.

Believe me, I was tempted!

[p.s. Finally went to the doctor this afternoon. Saw an x-ray of my back. Yes, indeed, a small bone that looked like it was in the middle of a vertebrae was knocked a little cockeyed. There's nothing to do, I guess. Just wait for the soft tissue to heal, which should take another 3-4 weeks. The doc says that we'll know what the cause of any future pain is. Oh, lovely. In the meantime, it's a rib belt, occasional pain meds and lightening my load. I think I may need to revert to the handy dandy Kodak instead of the Nikon for health's sake.]

Sands of Oblivion - Thursday 6/14/2007

Sometimes I see these movie location signs, like this one for Sands of Oblivion, and they seem kind of funny to me.

Then, later, I find that it's the only photo I took that day.

And I'm stuck with it.

And so are you.

A quick check of reveals that we may have been several hundred yards from George Kennedy. But I kind of doubt it.

Breakfast with Braveheart - Wednesday 6/13/2007

Ms. B's shoes in a basket next to the door.

I usually stay the night here after my writing group meets. I had the day off, so we had a nice breakfast before I gathered up all the cuttings and gifties (from her trip to Iowa) and high tailed it for the high desert.

Every day's a photo-op at Braveheart's house.

Commute du Jour - Tuesday 6/12/2007

Weird morning. I had a lot of back pain last night, so I took a Flexeril 9 hours before I was supposed to get up. It said to take one every 8 hours, so I thought it would be worn off. Not so.

No way was I driving that loopy, so I turned off the alarm and went in late.

Just late enough to catch a SigAlert on the 14 southbound.

Luckily, I know this sneaky way through the mountains from Sand Canyon to Lakeview Terrace via Little Tujunga Canyon Road. The Wildlife Waystation, to which we've contributed both animals and cash, is along this road.

Fifteen miles per hour was way faster than the 14 freeway this morning!

Frankie, Say It Isn't So! - Monday 6/11/2006

We've all been cleaning in and around our desks at work in anticipation of new paint and carpet. Weens found this Frankestein head that Momalisa gave her a couple of years ago.

No, no. It's not that the goobery eyes are all slack. Look closely at that pupil.




Welcome! - Sunday 6/10/2007

If you've lived in the L.A. area, you know this phenomenon. People in L.A. proper can't envision a good reason to go over the hill into the San Fernando Valley. People in the Valley can't be bothered to go to the West Side.

Multiply this by about 5, and you have an idea about how easy it is to get people to visit us up here in the land of the Antelope.

I know, I know. You'd only drive 45 miles if there was a beach at the other end of the freeway.

I'm just saying. You'd be welcome.

French Hangover - Saturday 6/9/2007

In an effort to recapture some of the romance of our vacation, we trudged across a vast parking lot from Abbleby's to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for a cup of espresso after lunch.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking the Bean. That's the best cup of espresso I've had since I've been back. And they are trying with their outdoor tables in a shaded courtyard.

How long does it take to get over this feeling that the finer things in life shouldn't be so hard to come by?

Chicken with Basil - Friday 6/8/2007

Sounds like a recipe, doesn't it? Not at my house.

This planter sits outside my front door at home. I was home on Friday.

Work has slowed down a lot this summer, so we're each taking one layoff day a week. Because we're in the entertainment industry, the EDD (Employment Development Department) has a special program for having partial paid layoffs.

So it's a cut in pay, but not a full layoff. Frankly, I could get used to this.

Shhhh! - Thursday 6/7/2007

Don't tell anyone!

But I think it's incredibly sweet that Hydra bought one of these from one of the vendors beneath the Eiffel Tower, and then set it out in the living room before I got home.

On Trying to Live in the (Recent) Past - Wednesday 6/6/2007

Still looking for that French cafe experience, I guess. Took myself out for a solo lunch at Arde's Bistro, which has been my favorite place in Toluca Lake for a few years now. I don't quite get why my co-workers don't share my enthusiasm. The small restaurant is always busy, the food is very delicious, and even healthy.

I am pretty much stuck on the garlicky chicken kabob plate, which comes with bulgar pilaf (way better than the rice, to my tastes), a dollop of hummos, a little bit of salad, plenty of chicken, and a basket of lavosh and pita bread. They always bring a half piece of baklava with the bill.

I ordered an espresso, just to get that cafe lunch feeling. Nice with the baklava.

Tiki Talki Lunchi - Tuesday 6/5/2007

The whole work crew ventured over to Damon's Steakhouse in Glendale to celebrate the birthdays of OneL and Doriana.

Unfortunately, it's a dark little tiki room, so none of my photos turned out very well. Food's yummy and the atmosphere is fun. It would be more fun if there were rum in this drink, but it's just OneL's Shirley Temple.

Trailer Park of Terror! - Monday 6/4/2007

Hydra and I drove home together and he showed me this sign he'd noticed along Soledad Canyon Road. At first we thought it was a prank. Then we thought, maybe a low budget film shoot.

I drove by there again on Friday, and the sign's still there.

Maybe they're just trying to tap into the local zombie market.

Famous Dave to the Rescue - Sunday 6/3/2007

Needless to say, I felt a _lot_ better on Sunday. Well enough, in fact, to venture into Palmdale with Hydra to run a few errands and get some downhome American food.

It doesn't get much downhomer (well, anyway for a chain restaurant) than Famous Dave's Barbeque. We ordered a slab and split it and still had another serving to take home with us.

You get to slather it in a selection of 6 sauces that are on the table all the time. And there's also a roll of paper towels on the table. If that's not good old American excess, I don't know what is.

Okay, a Hummer's worse than a slab of ribs. I do know that.

Carafe d'Eau - Saturday 6/2/2007

In which our heroine engages the carafe she bought in Paris in the effort to get a lot of fluids...

Out Sick - Wednesday 5/30-Friday 6/1/2007

Yes, it's true. I was just too miserable to take a photo every day. It's been almost two years. Sigh.

Just a bad head cold, but SUCH a bad headcold. Just ugh.