Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to it



So, I started this blog to talk about serious matters, but was led astray by women and men of ill repute. (See My Betters list, though that title will be changing.) Well, these "artistes" are all pretty damned famous now, so we won't see the shine of their coin (usually in very small denominations anyway) in the near future.

Enough. I subscribe to Wall Street Journal. The intention was to make a sincere attempt to get my finances in order. Instead, I tend to read about two things: My oil stocks -- because this in the only publication that does not make me feel guilty -- and the weekend Food & Drink. When I was gainfully employed, F&D made me buy many utensils I've never used, for example, a pressure cooker and several items of cutlery that are so dangerous I'm afraid to even look at them. And mortars and pestles that have not seen the leaf of an herb, and various cuts of meat that are hard frozen in the nether reaches of my freezer.

Recently I almost bought a panini press. Fortunately my horse crushed my hand the day I planned to click on the Amazon link.

But now F&D has fed me a new obsession. I must sous vide at home. Ok, maybe I've sous'd, and maybe I've vide'd, but never together and never in the privacy of my own home. All it takes is a rice cooker, some gadget, some other gadget, complex recipes, and many hours. Just think, for only $300 and maybe six hours or so, I can cook an egg! Cheaper than a teabag and a can of Velveeta! Imagine! MUST HAVE. My index finger is itchy for Amazon. And my gadgets. There's still room on the shelf, next to the pressure cooker.

(Yes, that is a picture of me among my treasures, chanting the viking prayer: Stay away from the lutefisk, where is the garbage disposal.)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

catastrophic event in altadena




Horses panicked. Some lost their lives. Bravely, excavation of the monster vegetable continued. I tried to do what I could. Authorities have been called.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Household travels to high tea with checkbook in hand








this is the lowest form of humor; I'm so ashamed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

And everything!!!!!

So, I got an email from a friend of mine. Smart woman, but for some reason she feels the need to end every sentence with multiple smiley, winky, or frowny faces. Sometimes it's two of a kind or three of a kind, other times it's a royal flush. So I want to tell her, "Val, you don't need to torment your emails this way. There are perfectly good punctuation marks that have been around for thousands of years just for this purpose." There's the exclamation point, the question mark, and my personal favorites, the dash and semi colon. I use and misuse those two all the time; I do -- really.

But then I wondered, thousands of years? Probably not. Is it "Vini Vidi Vici," or "Vini! Vidi! Vici!" And what about the multiple marks. Is it "Oh what a rogue and peasant slave am I!" or "Oh what a rogue AND peasant slave am I???!!!"

When did we start requiring such kicks in the head? When did words stop flowing into words to form and define the thought? It's like another friend of mine who has great depth of feeling, but difficulty putting it into words. Many of her sentences end with "and everything," as in "So he slammed the door and everything," leaving me to mentally accessorize the story.

But then, maybe I'm too judgemental. I am too judgemental; I know I am, if I'm any judge. And close minded. Have I ever tried the smileys and winkies? No. So let me take one of my favorite soliloquies to see how it might work:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time ;-| ;-|????
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools ;-)
The way to dusty death :-o
Out!! out!! brief candle!!!!!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more :-( :-(
It is a tale
Told by an idiot ;-) ;-)
full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing :-o :-o :-< :-(

And everything. ;-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Great bloggers in history

I wonder which great writers in English literature -- and I'll restrict it to writers of lit - would have made the great bloggers. And I toss this around in my mind mostly when I try to avoid washing my car or vacuuming. So anyway, I have my degree in English Lit, but did very poorly in the Beowulf through, uhm, 19th century. I perked up in the Dickens and romantic poet era (with one eye open during the Swift & Johnson period), but I'll throw out the romantic poets because they would have blogged, well, of course, just poetry. So anyway, Dickens is out, because he would have just been testing his fiction. So I'll fly into the 20th C and come to the obvious choice, Henry James (well, he straddled the century). But I'm going to nix him, because he would have had those long, long text posts, and it would have been about someone not quite him, but almost him, but read between the lines, and there would be sexual ambiguities tucked in amid the aphorisms and metaphors, and, well, no. And same with Fitz and Hem. The famous diarist Anais Nin? Ehhh, don't think so. I could see her blogs as pretty much self promotion and justification. But Henry Miller. Yes! Oh God, Henry Miller would have been the world's greatest blogger. He just tipped over his giant cauldron of words and ideas and thoughts and let the reader sift through it all to find what they would -- but certainly, one could always find humor and hunger and depression and beauty.

Ok, let me think about this some more while I vacuum.

Item 2,053 that I haven't done but plan to do

An essay on courtyards. Oh, I know, it has been done before, with beautiful photos of restored craftsman courtyard houses. But I have a secret weapon.





This little gem and a few others like it. Not a good photo, but here are six barely-surviving cottages on either side of a patch of dead grass. The sign, partially hidden, says "Property NOT FOR SALE. Do not call."

Well, ok, but this courtyard has been deserted and boarded up for more than five years. And it's near the corner of Fair Oaks and Woodbury, next to a gas station and a junk store. Across from a junkyard. Were there really so many calls that the owner, in utter exasperation, had to put up a sign? I mean, I'm kind of captivated by the place, but I'm weird.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Slacker

Oh, for god's sake, if I have one more friend ask me if I've started to look for work yet. NO,NO,NO-- I've haven't even gotten my third unemployment check. I just started to learn how to sleep past 6. I've been running so consistently, I have my first tight ab (the others will follow, how many do I get?).

I think my friends are jealous. Or I think they think I'll be asking for money. Or that I'll try to sell them zucchini. (Well, so what? It's a wholesome, tasteless vegetable, and I've got 15 of them out there.)

But I'm nothing if not easily bullied, so I did start work on the resume. Which means I can't stay off other people's blogs, because a resume is probably the most hapless, horrible task in extant. And since it's all done online, it's so easy to move that little arrow up to the http:// and type in something ever so much more interesting. Oops, how did I get there? Well, so long as I am here...I sneak up there with my right hand, as if my left hand won't notice (too busy typing "Experience" and "Accomplishments"). And then I just throw up both hands, grab the camera and a dog, and go to see some sights. Better I stalk my own blog.




Sunday, August 24, 2008

Champagne theory






The thing about a good bottle of
champagne, or really anything good that can be stored for use at a later time -- there's risk involved. If you save it for a special occasion, the longer you save it, the greater the occasion must be. And then it will start to mock you -- what, your life has no good moments and that's why I am still on the shelf? So then, instead of adding to your happiness, it makes you insecure and sad. So the thing about a good bottle of champagne is, within a week of receipt, pop that cork, or christian a ship, or give it away.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sometimes I just feel rich







Start at the Ritz (or whatever it is called these days). Then find an iconic altadena view. A good breethy jog. Maybe something later to toast the whole bloody day.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lasagna bed: What I learned


1. Set up as far from house as possible
2. Compost the lawn clippings first
3. Stack the layers higher than you think you should (they've compressed by half)
4. Do it because it works

I hear they're going to zap the produce that ends up in our grocery stores. Don't know if that's a bad thing, I'm not a scientist. But given the choice... In addition to the peppers, zukes, and tomatoes, I just lazily scattered some seeds from a couple of years ago, and they're coming up. Don't know what they are, but they're growing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Random wishes
















And me, I wish my souffle would rise.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wind in the Hill(ohs)




Children's classic lit -- that's where I crawl when this old world is getting me down. I found the official portal to the Wild Woods right here in Altadena. Leads over the river and through the woods, past the cottages, onto the Toad Hall manse. It's funny to compare Altadena to a planned community. I grew up in suburbs built exclusively for the transferred executives. We blew into pastoral towns and usurped the corn fields and grazing land and desertscapes. We were usually in a ring around a golf course. I longed for neighborhoods with some history and mystery. Stories. Not to bag on suburbs -- works for some. Anyway, after the walk today I came home and caught two decidedly ugly creatures arguing over their redecoration project.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Would you like to swing on a star (or two)


So I went for a run, looking for the moon and jupiter. But the sky was cloudy, and I thought, oh well. But when I opened my door, one of the sweetest Ravel pieces was on the radio, and I understood the beauty of the clouds. Then I stepped outside and the clouds parted. (Of course, even leaning on the car couldn't give me a steady shot, but it's an impressionist night.)

Moon & Jupiter concept TM Petrea @ Pasadena Daily Photo. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Altadenahiker's ceramic stylings


Did she carve it with her hiking boots you ask? I know it's awful! I know it looks like something the dog stepped in. But you should have seen the one I destroyed. That one was supposed to be two peacocks against fountain grass, but it looked like two ferrets copulating. With marital aids. Oh I don't know, maybe I should put the garret and beret up for sale Craig's List. LOOCEEE!

Monday, August 11, 2008

My other horse is a car



Vandy is kind of a blur here, but well, she doesn't like to hold still. Even for the carrot I hold next to the camera. We've tolerated each other for twenty years, more consecutive years than I've ever known any other creature. But before I get too sentimental about all this, it should be admitted that Vandy has been like a bad husband. She has given me a concussion, broken my hand, fractured my shin bone -- and still I come crawling back. No, I mean it, crawling back. I became an expert in the "instant dismount," which is: She bucks me off, I'm dismounted.

Awwww, but we've had some good times too. Miles and miles of them.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Synchronized sleepers



Shhh, quiet please for the medal contenders.

Oot and Aboot





Had some organized site-seeing plans for this morning, but got distracted. Did visit the Path to Freedom house, which is becoming a big noise in the green movement. All the plants have edible components, and I believe the place is self-sustaining. (I could add another shot of my lasagna bed experiment, but will wait until I can put it in a less impressive context -- like maybe a series on used-car lots). Then I caught some beauty around Prospect Av in Pasadena. But what I was really drawn to today: two of the street corners where shootings occurred last week. I drive these streets all the time, because they're on my favorite route to the 110. Wish I knew how to crop a photo, because if you scroll to my rear-view mirror, look what you see.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Good citizen?



Might try it; anything is possible. Though this Scott-Fox person might find s/he's bitten off more than he can chew.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer Idle


You know, or you probably don't, the last time I had a summer with absolutely no job requirements was when I was 13. Tennis was the main activity; I played with great ferocity and some talent in minor tournaments around the west. God, we'd bake on those courts -- the thought of a tall orange julius was sometimes the only way to pull through. And everyone had a pool, so I also spent summers with green hair. Blond-haired kids don't turn green in summer anymore -- they must have changed the chemical composition in the chlorine. Summer was really one long chemical bath, what with the pool and the stuff my dad was always spraying on the yard, and insect repellents in the house and on us. Well, that which doesn't kill you...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Maybe it's the water?


So, here's a view of my patio. Oh wait, I guess this is the Gamble House patio. I often get them confused. Visited to steal some tile ideas. Of course, now I can also visit Palm Axis. And my tiles will have as much in common w/Palm as my garden w/Gamble.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hmmm, at a distance it looks ok


My ceramics class has taught me many things, the least of all, unfortunately, ceramics. Due to lack of patience, my little pots only exist because my teacher intervenes before the clay slaps me in the face. But I decided to try tiles, and maybe one day...This one looks all right if you have several glasses of wine and stand several feet away. Made me happy anyway.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

What's your pleasure?



That's what my dad used to ask the guests who dropped by for cocktails. They all seemed so urbane and sophisticated -- the women in sundresses, sipping martinis and creating trails of cigarette smoke. Oh, the men were there too, but I remember them more by their low rumbling laughter, and I could never quite catch what they said. Anyway, what's your pleasure? I didn't know the joke at the time, but I think it was a hooker phrase, so it always made the guests laugh.

But here's my pleasure. Or one of them. Alatdena gardens. Any extreme you want. Or have it all.