Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Perfect Saturday Morning - 11/29/2008

Ah, yes. This is why I drove down to O.C. last night instead of this morning. So I could start a fire, make a pot of tea and read the last chapters of The Thirteenth Tale.


No, wait.

Something's missing!

There now.


Friday, November 28, 2008

There and Back Again, Again - Friday 11/28/2008

So... after a nice day of reading at home, I thought I'd go get the mail. Went to retrieve the mailbox key from the hook and...

Oh. No.

I instantly flashed on my keys in my jacket on the bed in the Cuz's spare room.

Called them. Yes, they found the jacket right after we'd left, but didn't know the keys were in there.

So on the day upon which I planned to buy nothing and drive nowhere, I ended up driving 220 miles round trip and buying gas in Orange County.

But I had my iPod, so I sang along to favorite tunes all the way there, and listened to stockpiled episodes of This American Life on the way back. Accomplished the whole thing, including a short conversation with the Cuzzes, in four hours. Traffic was moving.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving - Thursday 11/27/2008

While we had Thanksgiving dinner, a bird of a different feather watched us from Cuz-M and Cuz-P's back yard.

I wandered around taking photos of the paving stones Cuz-P makes, and the flowers in their yard.

I love the way their white washed fence sets off the roses!

The person who gave them the cutting that these shamrocks grew from says he brought it over from Ireland himself. I didn't realize that it had blossoms.

One of many blooms on this shrub.


After a long day of making us feel at home, Le Roi is bushed. Fuzzy photo because I didn't want to use the flash.

Hydra naps. As it turns out he was at the beginning of a weekend long illness. Let's just say he didn't keep his Thanksgiving dinner very long.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Now We're Cookin' - Wednesday 11/26/2008

I worked from home today to avoid the pre-holiday drive time traffic. I love getting up, making a pot of tea, and going to work on the other end of the house.

Clients were typically demanding as the people they work with put pressure upon them to tie things up before the long holiday. But I was mentally prepared for it, and I didn't have a commute behind me or ahead of me.

On my lunch break I made hot artichoke dip and tried a new recipe for cranberry sauce. It sounds unbelievable, but here it is:

Brandied Cranberry Sauce

16 oz. cranberries
2 cups sugar (I might do a half cup less next time, I adjusted for 12 oz. of berries)
1/3 cup brandy (I forgot to reduce the amount)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Rinse cranberries. Place them in a cooking vessel. Add the sugar. Cover, and put in the oven for an hour. (No additional liquid, just the water from rinsing.)

When you take the cranberries out of the oven, pour the brandy over the top. Stir or don't...I saw recipes that advised both methods. I poured them from Pyrex to this serving dish and then added the brandy, which mostly evaporated.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Me Too, Lulu - Monday 11/24/2008

Lulu relaxes on the couch after monitoring the writing group--she's a herder by nature and she keeps us in line--and a late night toddle around the block.

Whew. It was a good night and I'm glad to stay the night in Braveheart's artsy home, but I feel like I've been on the road for a month at this point.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

26 Miles (Santa Catalina) - Sunday 11/23/2008

It was admittedly a bit gloomy as we set off "26 miles across the sea" as the song goes, aboard the Catalina Flyer. That's the Harborside Restaurant to the right. We pull out around 9:00 a.m.

A glimmer of sunshine along the way.

I spent about half an hour standing on the deck next to the--what do they call it?--the place where the captain hangs out. When we hit waves, I hung onto the railing and let my knees take the shock.

I felt like Slim Pickens riding the rocket at the end of Dr. Strangelove. Whoo hoo!

We passed an outgoing vessel on our way into port. The man next to us explained to his infant son that the jet engines put a lot of bubbles in the water and turned it this color. Thanks, daddy.

The Catalina Flyer safe in the harbor. That's the Avalon Casino in the background, from the Italian word for "gathering place." It's a movie theater and museum that never was a gambling place.

After poking around in some shops and having lunch with the gaggle of cousins, we hopped the trolley to the Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens, where we saw such Dr. Suess-esque plants as this one. (It has island in the name of it, appropriately. Why oh why don't I take notes?)

Along the way we pass this bum. I sneak up to leave a dollar on his chest, only to discover it's our very own Hydra grabbing a nap while the rest of us coo over the succulents and cacti.

From beneath the monument. That's Cuz-M pointing something out.

I love all the details and shoot at least fifty pix in and around the monument.

Inside looking out. What a glorious day.

Hydra and I split from the pack and head for the casino. One of our number has a stress fracture in her foot and is not up for more walking, which is so reasonable. We feel like we need to move.

It only takes us about ten minutes to get there, and we buzz through the museum, which includes a great little exhibit about the May 2007 fire that burned more than 4,000 acres on the island. That's about 10% of it. 2700 people were evacuated by vessels like the one we came over on.

We head back to the mainland at 4:30.

By 6:00, we're back and the lights are on at the pavilion/Harborside Restaurant.

Our welcoming crew. Anyone know what this guy is?