Saturday, April 04, 2009

Ventura Coast - Saturday 4/4/2009

Just some Gerbera daisies we saw in a gas station we stopped at. Love the colors.

We started out our visit to Ventura with a meal on the pier. Hydra had the mussels. I had a seared ahi sandwich.

Unfortunately, the restaurant's logo is better than its food.

The view from our table was pretty great, though. This is the Ventura Pier.

Hydra gives Flat Brayden his first look at the Pacific Ocean. Later, we helped Flat Brayden pick up a piece of a shell and a small smooth stone for souvenirs.

The water at the end of the pier. Beautiful color, huh!?

There were lots of people fishing. We noticed someone using shrimp as bait, which prompted me to ask Hydra, "What can you fish for that's better than shrimp?"

Looking back at the shore. Honestly, if I could choose any coastal Southern California town to live in, it would be Ventura.

The tracks the water leaves behind.

Yes. This is when my foot got wet. Right before I leapt onto this rock.

These little guys amused us by hopping away while never putting the other foot on the ground. Hee!

Just a cool shop sign in the shopping district of Ventura.

We stopped at a fruit stand on the way back so Flat Brayden could check out the orange groves. He's growing up in a farming community, like I did. Figure he'll be interested to know that California produces something like 75% of all the domestic fruit the U.S. eats.

Friday, April 03, 2009

What Part of New York is This? - Friday 4/3/2009

Why, it's CSI: New York, of course! There were directions cards tacked up at my freeway exit on the way home tonight that led me to this site, where CSI:New York has been/will be filming. I wonder if they'll do some sort of color process on these hills?

There's a lot of filming done out here. CSI classic, Duel (1972), Charlie Wilson's War (2007), Reno 911, Bones, etc., etc. Lots of nice quiet winding roads.

And just wanted to share this lovely moment. The Palmdale High School chorale sang at the Barnes & Noble in support of a local literacy project. A percentage of sales went to the project.

The chorale is award-winning and that wasn't a surprise to hear after a few minutes of listening to them. I love that they wear tuxes and long black dresses, too. The director chose terrific songs and uses complex and moving arrangements, weaving the voices together in a varied selection of hymns, pop tunes, and songs from other cultures.

Nice little surprise for our Friday evening.

Here's an article I found about the dirctor, Mike McCullough.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Newhall Farmer's Market - Thursday 4/2/2009

The last time I stopped by toward the end of last summer, this was a bedraggled little market being held in a parking lot. Now they close off Market Street (aha!) and there were already several vendors this early in the year.

I can't remember what these gorgeous little tomatoes were called--not tomato, not plumb--but they are delicious. They must be lovely in the field.

I've been reading Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which is an account of her family's efforts to eat only locally grown foods for a full year. This should be easier for me here in California. She keeps bemoaning the produce she can't have because it's shipped in from here!

I can tell, though, that I've pushed beet season to it's limits. The beets were smaller than those I've had in the past couple of months, and the greens were not as tender.

Dodger poses with some "unsprayed" (no pesticides, but they probably aren't certified organic) tomatoes. Specialty fruit for only $1.oo a pound!

What I did on my mini spring break: made a steamed beet green salad with roasted beets, cauliflower and carrots, fresh tomatoes, crumbled bleu cheese and pine nuts.

Mmm mmm mm-mm-mm!

And for dessert: Trader Joe's French Village Creamline Yogurt and fresh Oxnard-grown strawberries.

Life's good in the SoCal.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

NaPoWriMo : No Fooling! - Tuesday 4/1/2009

I am pretty sure that I take a photo of the gazanias in the midst of the ice plant every year. Just such a lovely beginning to spring. Both of these plants were in the yard when we bought the house.

The apricot tree was also here. See the little apricots? They're about the size of green olives right now.

Dodger and I went out to the table on the deck to write. We spent a lot of time listening to all the birds visiting in the yard, and even spotted a (fairly unusual) bright orange Oriole in the willow!

I'm participating in NaPoWriMo with some of my online friends. What, you ask?

It's National Poetry Writing Month! If you want to join in and would like some inspiration, go to Read Write Poem, where the bloggers offer daily poetry exercises for the month of April. There's still time to catch up! (Post a poem here, if you like!)

Believe me, writing a poem a day for 30 days is way saner than writing a novel in the same amount of time. For long-form writers like me, it's a nice way to focus on brevity and have a little fun. No pressure for me to write good ones, either. I'm not a poet.

I'm not going to put up all my poems, but since you're here, here's the first one.

April 1:

Bird Song

Within the unbudded honeysuckle,
sparrow peeps pleas to his best girl.
Finch thrums passion
beak to beak in the apricot tree.
Fragrant rosemary dark
harbors dove’s croon and coddle.
Oriole dances saucily on the willow branch
tail left, tail right, step step.
Quail whistles wittily from the juniper.
Raven glides close upon his love’s glossy crown,
folds wing over wing as they rise over the greening hill.
Me? I hum Beatles tunes
beneath your berry pie kitchen window.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sunny Day - Tuesday 3/31/2009

Haulin' your blues away. (sing it!)

Hey, everything looks blissful as reflected in the back of this massive tanker truck, doesn't it?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sharp (Cheddar) Contrast - Sunday 3/29/2009

Maybe the reason the recipe for potatoes au gratin said to cover the dish in aluminum foil was not so much that they didn't expect me to be outfitted with my fab vintage Pyrex, complete with lid. Maybe it was to save me this boiled over and burnt mess.

Actually, the potatoes inside were pretty good. It was a very very simple recipe that I found online. Maybe too simple. Or maybe the Irish Blarney cheddar wasn't quite the thing.

I will say, though, that these tasted terrific with poached eggs a couple of days later. And the Pyrex cleaned up pretty easily after soaking in Dawn and scrubbing a bit with one of those green Scotch scrubbers.

Does anyone have a good recipe for potatoes au gratin they'd like to share?

I'll make it, and then I'll make it famous!