Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Treat for the birds

Homemade suet

1 cup lard
1 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 cup birdseed

Melt lard and peanut butter. Add sugar to the melted mix. Add remaining ingredients and combine. Form into blocks and freeze.

(recipe from the October/November 2008 issue of Birds & Bloom Magazine).

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Monday, September 29, 2008


This morning I was awakened by a very unusual sound--


I wish I could plug in sound effects here, but imagine the sound a cartoon character makes when they're head goes back and forth quickly and they say..."huh?" "Whaaat?"
Yeah, that was me.

You see, I have been intending to paint.
I meant to get to it by now, but by the time I get off work, I'm beat.
Run a few errands or something, and the day is already shot.
Yesterday I did a quick stop at the Pacific Island Festival, and after a lot of walking in the sun, it was dinner and call it a night.

But I had all my stuff sitting outside.
Neckties, boxes of collage materials (you know...PAPER), sewing patterns, CD's...
I ran out and started tossing boxes in the house.
Oh my...
I think most of the stuff is okay, but I'm afraid to look at the collage stuff.
My room has a sliding door out to a small pool, so I thought it was a good place to stage stuff until everything was all done.

I picked out the colors I want to use from the Harmony line of Sherwin-Williams paint--a low VOC paint called "green care", but I've hesitated on buying because I can't find the $10 off coupon that is good until Wednesday.

Note, my colors are rice paddyand parakeet.
Rice paddy is a great neutral, because in some light it looks pale green, and it others it's almost a taupe.

Now the problem is that I have gum surgery on Wednesday, so I probably won't be up for working in there.
Too, I intend to put a new floor in also.
I hope the rain stays away for awhile. I just need a few more weeks with clear skies.


Thursday, September 25, 2008


Yesterday was my mom's birthday, so I took her downtown to see the play "Boomers".

The play covers the baby boom generation of those born between 1946 and 1964, with snippets of major events, and medleys of songs from tv themes to popular records...
all with a whiff of humour and a huge dose of nostalgia.
It was fun.
As the crowd was all being seated, we played "Name that Tune", with prizes including glow-in-the-dark necklaces to tee shirts.
I still can't believe I didn't recognize "Brick House"--I used to love that song!
Here's a review, though I can't promise the link will be valid long.

Afterward, we went for a late supper at Rudfords--a San Diego landmark since 1949.

Let's see, other random thoughts...
I just discovered Angie's List.
It has been hugely helpful to me, and worth the fee.
Basically it a paid service full of reliable reviews for contractors, dentists, vets, etc.
I've already used in several times to both find someone and to review someone.

I just changed wireless companies, and my new ring tone is the Beach Boys' "ba ba ba, ba barbara ann.." (grin)
Although I don't think anything can beat my friend debs' ringtone of a kitten mewing.
All of a sudden her purse will be mewing, and people are looking around trying to find a cat, heehee.

My car repairs ended up being three times more than I anticipated and ate up most of my funds.
I had better learn how to save, and quickly, or no vacation for me next year....

I love this jacket made from clothing labels, by undoneclothing, (click on image to see the flickr page)

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Eek, not the mall!

I worked a quick five hours this morning, and my legs and feet were hurting so badly I decided it was time to head to the mall for some new shoes.
The mall just isn't a place I go anymore.
I was a stranger in a strange land.

Gone are the days of talking smut in the food court, giggling, getting that awesome fluttering rise of feeling from seeing something cute in a display window.
That used to be me, but not anymore.

I guess I've gotten used to internet sites and thrift stores.

But I needed shoes.
Sometimes a girl can't just rely on Zappos.

I headed straight for the shoe store, and plunked down just over 200 bucks for a pair of Ecco and a pair of Merrells (those Europeans know how to make shoes!).
Well, I did take a detour into Old Navy.
I keep looking for a copy of my favorite shirt.
My favorite shirt is a rust-colored Old Navy tee that is now ragged with holes.
But I love that thing.
It's boxy and loose and I can wear it just about anywhere.
But the tees now are too long and too tight, and it's not the same.
I bought two today anyway because the orange red and purple were so pretty, and I can just wear a jacket over them anyway, and a camisole underneath.
I bought a crisp cotton blouse too (Old Navy has great sales).

But I really want a copy of my fave.
I may have to sacrifice my fave to make it into a pattern...

Anyway, the mall sure has changed recently.
Big, broad billboards of posing models flanked the building edges.
Models advertising stores like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, or products like Uggs.
It was like magazine pages to building scale.
I had not previously seen that.
It's all so metropolitan New York or something.
Our little mall done grown up.

other things that caught my attention:
*the stainless steel doors of Tiffany's beckoned...
*we have a Bloomingdales now
*a security guard rode by on a Segway (how bizarre is that?)
*black nail polish, cigarette smoke, every other patron on a cell phone...
*one single cookie at Godiva set me back $3.25
*a little girl in line at Old Navy had a pink bra strap showing, and was carrying a metallic gold purse (very old lady)
*a pretty woman, decked out in a short black dress and perfect make-up, spoiled the look with a tattoo of a gun from knee to ankle. Seriously, um, wtf?

And I saw a lot of cute shoes...


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Time just zooms by...

Jeez, already several days since my last post.
I just feel overwhelmed lately.

I have an odd living arrangement, in that it's basically a transient one.
I move from one person's house to another.
There are pros and cons.
I mean, I love the doggies and the people I've met who are now more friends than clients.
On the con side, most of my personal stuff is in storage.
I think I'd prefer a dream home and and a family, but it is what it is.
This situation also translates to creative financing--in this expensive San Diego market, I don't have to pay rent.

Anyway, on the days here and there that are gaps between dog-sitting jobs, I stay at my mom's house.
My stay, however, has not really been one of sanctuary.
In other words, I have a room, but it's not mine.
In it are my mom's things, my mom's furniture, etc.

I am changing that finally.
One of my client's (well, friends actually) upgraded.
The cool thing about being in homes all over the place, is that I keep up-to-date on trends.
I mean, how else would I know that bathroom mirrors are currently in picture frames, and wood preference has turned to dark hues?

Well, the guest bedroom in their house was light wood furniture they had had awhile.
They upgraded to a dark sleigh bed, a vanity, and matching dressers.
So I bought (well, actually I traded future sitting services) the old stuff.
I actually like the light wood, but in the event I change my mind, the finish could certainly be stained or painted.
The design itself, however, is timeless--simple, uncluttered lines.

I got a long dresser, a smaller tall dresser, one small side table, a headboard and matching footboard...all for $300.
Jen also gave me all her old bedding--two comforter sets, matching sheets, towels, throw rugs.
Pretty darned nifty.

New (to me) furniture deserves a room update.
So all my time lately has been emptying the room, prepping for paint.
It's exciting but time consuming.
I will update in another post soon--with before and after images.

I'm hoping the availability of a more organized, serene environment will engender me to be more creatively productive.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Video Sunday

Tristan Prettyman, "Hello"

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I'm here, I'm here!

Wow, this may be the longest gap I've ever had with no posts.
I have been working crazy hours, night hours, so by the time I get to the computer, I'm too tired to do more than read email.

I did manage to squeak in time for a movie rental.
My favorite scene:

Found out today I may need a new transmission in my car.
At least the repair guy gave me a car to drive--that is pretty cool.
But still, that's A LOT of money for someone who doesn't make much.
Also spent $220 today to have a clump of wild sumac removed (it's a bush, but the wood may as well be a tree stump).
I needed the area clear for the fence that will be installed.
I'm still looking for another estimate (anyone in San Diego--do you have a referral for me? The choices overwhelm me).
Holy expenses, Batman!

A couple of nights ago, I got off work about 11pm and decided to go by my post office box to see if the shirts I ordered from Hong Kong (eBay) had arrived.
The post office is in kind-of a seedy neighborhood, but the box section is open until 11pm and the doors open past that.
Inside my box was a key to a locker.
Yes, my shirts were in there, but also this adorable package--a surprise from HRH.
Behold the cuteness.
Burgundy handmade paper, owl stamp. Bunneh and fox stamp.
Love love love.

Inside, three pieces of fabric for neckties.

Aren't they fun?!
She said she thought of me when she saw them.
I have to think of something really wonderful to do with them.
Perhaps embellishment for the quilt I'm working on.

And I love the Merci ribbon.
Remember the art doll I made? I used a ribbon on her that said Cashmere.
I love wordy things.

Thank you, Vallen, for your thoughtfulness. It is greatly appreciated.

And here are some fun foodie links:
(because, really, recipes and reading are joy encapsulated).

Does one really need an excuse to drink champagne?
I love the romantic story of a random email to a blog that eventually grew into a marriage proposal.
That's what happened to Molly of the amazing food blog, Orangette.

When my mom throws everything but the kitchen sink into a recipe (you know, left over veggies), she calls it "Ooblick".
I have no idea where that word originated, but this is a woman who says "Go tell him to fry ice" (translation: go pound sand).

God I love that.

Anyway, Finny's version of Ooblick Farm Share Killer Lasagna looks amazing.
Be sure to first make her Best Ever Tomato Sauce. Yep.
And by the way, if you haven't read Finny, treat yourself to those links even if you're not interested in the recipes.

Speaking of tomatoes, Tomato Jam sounds intriguing.
Dude, fried egg and goat cheese sandwich with tomato jam! YUM.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Photo Friday

Found photos.
Photos in flea markets or garage sales or thrift stores.
Photos of people that families no longer know or want to know.
Or perhaps the photos are just strays...lost on the wind.

Occasionally I'll buy these photos.
I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but I feel compelled nevertheless.

Like this pretty girl, so carefree.
The image is dated September 1967.
Woman standing, Sept 1967

Other photos showcase events.
This one is from a May Day celebration in San Diego around 1900.
Vintage photo of Maypole in San Diego
(click on image to enlarge)
This one carries a photographer's stamp, "Herbert R Fitch, San Diego Cal".
According to the ebay seller I purchased this from, "Photogapher Fitch was a highly sought after and respected photogapher of the time - making official photos of the San Diego Pan Pacific Exposition, as well as images of various public monuments and sights including Scripps University. His work is well documented in San Diego City Archives"
The scene is described as "c. 1900 depicting a large group of Highschool girls dressed in virginal white dancing around a large maypole in the center of a grassy circle while classmates and families look on"
What's fun for me is seeing the old buildings in the background, wondering if any still stand today.

One of my favorite found photos, previously posted here.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Theft is a violation of the spirit

Yesterday morning, I was sleeping in late, and was awakened by dogs barking next door.
The neighbors have two big dogs, and one in particular barks all the time.
I actually nicknamed him "Barky the wonder dog" because any little noise, person walking by, or shadow will have him nervous and agitated.

But both dogs were going ballistic.
I went into the living room to look out the window.
Hmmm...a car I don't recognize is in the neighbor's driveway.

One part of me got that flutter in my stomach, what my friend Tracie (who is a black belt and a self-defense instructor) calls "the creep factor".
The other part of me said, "go outside...check it out..."
"No...(creep factor again) it could be dangerous."
"You're being silly. It's 9 o'clock in the morning!"

My mom was resting on the couch (something she NEVER does, by the way), so I didn't want to disturb her by opening the door, the action I probably would have taken had she not been there.
Tracie, again, would call that "a God thing".
In other words, perhaps the end result would not have been positive had I done that.

I ended up opening the garage door to walk out that way (should have gone out the back door...that was my error), but they had just left.

The neighbor came to my door about 15 minutes later, shaking, saying they had been robbed.

Dammit, I knew something was wrong.
I'm not sure if I should be glad or sad that I didn't listen to my intuition.
I was only able to give a vehicle description.
My eyesight is too poor to have id'ed a license plate.

The fact is that in these unsteady economic times, people are desperate.
Add in a drug addiction, and it gets scary.
Too, here in San Diego, housing is so expensive that a lot of the riff raff is being pushed east, toward where I live.
Growing up here, it was a nice area.
Not anymore.

My mom is alone a lot, with poor hearing.
That scares me.
The houses are somewhat isolated, lots of land behind, no houses across the street.
I told her she just can't leave the garage and back gate open anymore.
You just can't anymore...it's a different world.

I found myself tossing and turning last night, nervous of any noise.
Not good.
Our house has been robbed several times too, though it has been years.
When I was in high school, I stayed after school to practice with the swim team, and came home to pulled-out drawers, and stuff on the floor of the living room, waiting to be taken.
Evidently I scared them off.
I was naive and confused, and called my brother, who told me, "Um, get outta the house!"
Oh. Yeah.

Anyway, that was interesting.
I can't fathom stealing from anyone for any reason.
I wish more people felt the same way.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Goodbye Summer

It's Labor Day.
Most people around here are at the beach or in backyards, bent over a grill.
There will be hamburgers and hot dogs, potato salad, deviled eggs, little triangles of watermelon.
There are cold cans of beer, the aluminum or the glass wet with droplets from the cooler of ice that held them.

Feet are propped up, aaah...this is the life.
Children are laughing, splashing one another in the pool or in the waves.

Too quickly the heat will diminish; the memories will fade like an old Polaroid.
Thanks, Summer. It has been fun. Can't wait to do it again next year.

I'm not close with my family, my friends are occupied with their own thing, and I'm not currently dating anyone, so no BBQ for me today (sniff).
Several people I work with attended the horse races today, but to be perfectly honest, most of those people aren't ones I choose to associate with unless forced.
Anyway, back to food.
Grilling, I think, isn't a solitary activity, so that wasn't an option today.
Instead, I baked.

I have one Italian squash plant in my mom's backyard, and she has two.
One, incorrectly labeled a summer variety, is actually a winter plant that produces huge pumpkin-shaped and pumpkin-sized globes.
The leaves of this thing are massive, with tendrils reaching out like an alien to take over any surface on land or fence.
It's even crawling up a tree.
It's insane.

That being said, even without the winter variety ripe, we are up to our ears in zucchini.

So I made bread.
This recipe is from The Victory Garden Cookbook, a book that belongs in every kitchen--it's that good.

Lynn's Spicy Zucchini Bread

3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 eggs
1+3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1+1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups lightly packed coarsely grated zucchini
1 cup raisins (optional)
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Sift the dry ingredients together and set aside.
In a large bowel, beat the eggs with the sugar, oil, and vanilla.
Gradually add and beat in the dry ingredients.
Stir in the zucchini, adding raisins and nuts if desired (I used walnuts).
Divide between two greased 9" x 3" loaf pans, and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes.