Saturday, May 30, 2009

Floral Derangement - Saturday 5/30/2009

I finally planted the rose bush we bought last weekend in the planter Hydra built when he built the wall a few years ago. Wow, it's a gorgeous color, huh?

African Daisies on the street side of the house. One of the plants died. Why? There was enough water. Sigh.

The star jasmine smells great.

Right about here, I got some sort of gunk on the lens. Boo!

The moon bird feeder.

Sun birds also welcome.

What a lovely profusion of star jasmine, huh?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Beep! Beep! - Friday 5/29/2009

This roadrunner brought to you courtesy of my Nikon D80. This has been much-cropped.

Maybe because it happens so rarely, I always feel that it's great good fortune to see a roadrunner. It might even be a good omen.

Hydra on the trail again. Good man! See the road runner at about 5 o'clock?

Elusive... He's the V in the grass.

Baby toys where they shouldn't be. I have this thing about lost things.

This lost feather is not as out of place.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hydra Hits the Trail! - Thursday 5/28/2009

Look at that intrepid explorer! Just 10 days after surgery to repair that meniscus tear (Ooh! Look, ma! No spellchecker!), he's on the trail again. They write songs about stuff like this!

Admittedly, the going was about half of our usual pace, but really really good for a guy who had a camera and a knife in his knee joint so recently! Beautiful day for it.

Around the far side of the neighborhood... Is that fire road looking a little long to anyone else?

As I was taking photos of these cactus flowers, bees kept diving into them and burying their faces in the middle. Can you see the one that took a header into this bloom?

Oleanders down by the mailboxes.

The neighbor's coreopsis. The neighborhood is lit up with flowers these days!

We arrived home to discover ground squirrels nibbling on the tender cucumber sprouts I planted. And this container has herbs in it that I started from seed. Herb soup. Sigh. Hopefully I saved some of them.

Found about six ounces of beef in the freezer and used up the carrots, celery and some of the red potatoes making this soup. Also called in the help of Better Than Boullion to flesh out the soup, so to speak. Used fresh thyme and mint for seasoning.

Hint: When using fresh herbs that have stems in soups and stews, don't bother nipping off all the leaves. Just put the whole sprig in the soup. The leaves will cook off and you can easily pull out the stems before serving.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Field Trip to San Gabriel - Wednesday 5/27/2009

Oh, the things I do in service of my writing. I mean, really, it takes a lot of commitment and research to write a blog. This is part of the wonderful Vietnamese meal Braveheart, Antipasta and I shared today. We wrapped these meats and veggies in rice paper and dipped them in various dips. Yummy!

Wish I knew what the name of the restaurant was. It was on Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel and "pho" was part of it. If you've been to San Gabriel, you'll know that this doesn't help much.

Before this, Braveheart and Antipasta introduced me to Chinese-Style Herbal Foot Soak! I'd never even heard of this, but Valley Boulevard in San Gabriel is packed with foot soak/massage places... and noodle houses. A little bit of heaven!

We went to a place called China Tibet Foot Soak, where we sat in big reclyners. The attendents brought out big wooden buckets filled with very hot water laced with fragrent herbs. I put my feet on a little platform in the bucket, the massuesse put a towel over my legs and the bucket, and I steamed for a while. Really hot!

Then cold water was poured into the hot water until it was tolerable to soak in and I soaked a while. Although Antipasta said last time she was there, the television was on, it was nice and quiet today.

I had my first professional reflexology foot massage. (I think my brother, Texaco, tried to give me one a long time ago after he came home to Indiana from Vietnam or California, but I'm pretty sure it tickled too much to be effective.)

When my massuesse started pounding on my legs but Antipasta and Braveheart's weren't doing it yet, I almost laughed out loud. It just seemed too funny that one person could get really rough treatment and the others not. But sure enough, they both got a drubbing too!

It was really really intense, but I decided to let her do it as vigorously as she wanted to, to see what the experience would be like, and to let the reflexology work if it works. It wasn't very relaxing because it was pretty much painful. Next time I'll forgo the intensity and just get a nice wimpy foot rub.

Next was the neck and back rub, which was terrific. A person can really whale on my back and I love it.

All this took about an hour and 45 minutes and cost only $35.

Braveheart pointed out a place where you can get the same treatment for $15!

This one's for you Boise. Even though it's blurry, it's the best shot I could get of an L.A. kook on the move. Can you see this?

It's a guy riding his motorcycle on the transition from the 5 to the 14 at sundown, wearing a leather top hat and carrying a big white German shepherd on his lap.

Yeah, that's right, a big white dog. Who didn't look very comfortable, and who kept shifting back and forth, making the bike wobble beneath them both.

I was about to call the police on them when they exited the freeway. It's really not fair to the dog or to the people that might have the terrible experience of running over either of these fellows.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Photos I Missed - Tuesday 5/26/2009

This detail from the door of Our Lady of Los Angeles Cathedral is brought to you by the two photographs I didn't take today:


Four rounded bags of cloth and who knows what else rested on the sidewalk outside the Studio City Branch of the LAPL. The muted grays and blues were terrific together, small holes providing accents in lighter tones.

I almost went back to the car for my camera, but decided they would still be there when I got back. They were, but their owner was also there, and I didn’t want to bother him. I can’t imagine how he carried them. There wasn’t a cart in sight.

Out Patient

As I drove by about a block from Kaiser-Permanente Hospital in Panorama City, a 30-something man in a blue hospital gown crossed the street in front of my car with a bottle of soda in his hand. The wind rippled through the split in his gown and his flip-flops slapped the pavement as he headed back to the medical facility.

Wonder what he was in for.

Monday, May 25, 2009

How to Become a Redneck in 4 1/2 Hours - Monday 5/25/2009

A) Put your hair up in a ponytail.

B) Go out and do a bunch of yard work on a sunny day and remember to put sunscreen everywhere but the back of your neck.

I don't know why it always seems to take me till the end of a long weekend to think of starting a physically demanding project, but it often does. I decided to tear out the two rose bushes at the far end of my herb garden. They were here when we moved in and I've never liked them.

The blooms aren't particularly pretty, only last a couple of days on the bush, and can't be cut and brought inside-- all the petals fall off.

The first one came out pretty easily, but look at the trunk on this guy! It was something else digging this out.

There were 1-2 inch think roots running all through that end of the garden and even down to the end closest to the back door. It was a lot more work than I expected. I started at 9:30 in the morning and finished getting the roots out, digging in garden soil and planting until a little after 2pm. Don't know about you, but when I get started on something like this, I have a hard time stopping till it's really done.

I did pause, though, once I finished wrestling with the roots, to clip a little fresh sage, rosemary and thyme and put a pork tenderloin in the oven. I was working up an appetite!

I thought I took more photos of the progress. This is after I added in the fresh topsoil.

Man, I had a lot of clean up to do. I'd had most of the tools out of the shed to work on those roots: shovel, trowel, long-handled and short-handled garden forks, small leaf rake, hoe, edger (which didn't really work), flat blade shovel, long handled clippers, hand clippers.

Every time I went into the house for water I realized just how aerobic my efforts were. I had to catch my breath in order to drink. I kept thinking about my pal Los Angelista who was running the L.A. Marathon today (so exciting!) I think I would have felt about as beat up if I'd tried to run the first three miles with her!

See the rainbow in the sprinkler water?

I didn't mind getting wet while adjusting the sprinkler heads. Whew!

All the herbs are in! Good sized parsley, sage and thyme (I never knew how good thyme was till I started growing my own and using it.) Small chives, parsley and basil (I think) that I started from seed are in the little planter.

I also planted three cucumbers that I started from seed. I'm not sure any of them will take. They look really tender and vulnerable, and it gets pretty hot out there. K warns that they take a lot of space, so I guess if only one survives, I'll be okay!

Still didn't get the new red rose bush or the lavender in. I'm not sure where I want to put them!

And I think I want to get some of those stacking brick colored blocks to put around the edges of the herb bed. Or at least dig the bricks that line it out of the grass.

Sundry to Hydra: You got your grass on my dirt!

Hydra to Sundry: You got your dirt on my grass!

Not exactly a Reeses Cup.

Great day. I feel accomplished.

And tired.

Talkin' 'Bout the Car Wash - Sunday 5/24/2009

Zen and the art of getting your car washed.

Me stuck for three minutes with no camera. Had to resort to the camera on my cell phone.


It's kind of peaceful in here. I could get used to this...