Saturday, March 29, 2008

Warts and all, part 2

Adventures in accidental gardening

Most of the pictures of things around my house that I post on my blogs, whether they are of bugs, plants, food, or whatever, are tight shots that don't show much of anything else in the background. That's because the background is usually a mess. I confess I've never been much of a housekeeper. I just don't make it a priority, so stuff tends to sit around before I finally get to cleaning. The kitchen sink area (well, the whole kitchen, really) is no exception.

This picture is actually over a year old, but on any given day, this is pretty much what it looks like. You will notice the left-hand side of the sink has dishes and cooking pans in it. These are things I've washed that are "drying" in the dish-drainer. Sometimes they stay there long, long after they are dry. Sometimes, little bits of food and stuff fall down into that side of the sink and get, uh, lost under the clean dishes. It gets kinda yucky in there. So every so often once in a great while, I clean out the dish drainer on the left-hand side of the sink.

I cleaned it today, and I can definitely say it was long overdue. I can also say I'm glad my mom doesn't read my blogs, or she'd be mortified. But probably not surprised.

After I took out the pans and other larger items, I could see down to the bottom. The sink was stained and grimy, but what caught my eye was a small plant growing out from the drain.

Right there. See it?

Holy crap! I have plants sprouting in places no plant should be sprouting from!

The germination point. We have some onion skin, (or maybe garlic skin, but who can tell!?) a bit of a plastic wrapper, the ubiquitous dog hairs, and a few particles of unidentifiable organic matter.

A gentle pull reveals a well developing root system.

The seed in question. I believe it's butternut squash. I took it outside and planted it in a little pot. We'll see if it survives. Then I returned to my kitchen sink.

Whew! All clean again....for now.

Monday, March 24, 2008

One man's weeds...

... are another man's cool plants. (Or one woman's weeds, maybe.)

A variety of clover (oxalis) in bloom at the arboretum recently.

The arboretum did not plant these. They're weeds. They're in bloom all over town, in yards and planters everywhere.

Here's another species of oxalis at the arboretum. Very small and dense.

And these are in my lawn, which is the Heinz 57 varieties of weeds. Bejeweled by drizzle a couple of weeks ago.

Jerry's dad used to say that weeds are just plants growing where you don't want them.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dusting off the ol' stenocactus

This poor old guy has been neglected for a long time. Last year, he didn't even make any flowers. I thought he was going to die. But this year I noticed flowers and fresh new growth, so I dusted the cobwebs away, picked out all the dead leaves that were stuck on him, (not easy, he's sooo prickly!!) and gave him a little drink of water.

The question begs

Bored and lazy on a Sunday afternoon, I turn to my trusty fridge. (Well, in this case, the freezer.)

(This is the way I eat ice cream, by the way. Right out of the carton.) And as I proceeded to extract and devour every nugget of cookie dough I could find, I found myself wondering yet again: If you saved a bunch of those little balls of dough, put them together and baked them, would you, in fact, get a real chocolate chip cookie? Unfortunately, I always end up just eating all the dough that I dig out, so I may never find the answer to this mystery.

My work here is done.

By the way, we got a head start on the Easter ham by having a few slices for breakfast. That's about all I'm good for today. Eating.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

How to grow a pineapple top

Because the subject came up today.

You Grow Girl/Save Your Pineapple Top

So, we'll be giving it a try.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A camera date

We like to say we're "going on a date", even if we're just running a few errands together, or going to put gas in one of the cars. ("Gas dates" are getting to be as expensive as a night on the town these days)

Sometimes when the sky looks interesting, we'll grab our cameras and head up the hill where there's a little park. Everyone in town heads up there when the sky looks interesting. Or the mountains. Sometimes it's people like Jerry with the fancy, big-ass cameras with all the accessories, and sometimes, more often in fact, it's just Joe Blow with a cell-phone camera.

So yesterday, the sky was stormy and really cool. The wind was blowing, and there was thunder. We grabbed our cameras and went up to the hill.

It wasn't really raining a lot, and not raining hard, but it was just raining enough that we didn't want our cameras to get wet. So for a while, we just stayed in the car and took pictures of the raindrops on the windshield, and the blowing trees outside.

I took a picture of myself.

And one of Jerry.

When the rain stopped, we got out and walked around a little. The hills looked really nice. I love this view. Click on it to see it bigger.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Frog

I have a little cyber-pet frog. He's down a little ways on the left. He'll follow your mouse around inside his "habitat", and if you click inside it, it will release little flies he can eat. Please visit him, and feed him. Thanks.

Cactus flower

The strange-looking bud on the cactus from this post opened up to a beautiful flower a day or so later. It bloomed for a couple of days, then wilted. The good news is that now I am seeing similar buds developing all around the base of the cactus. There should be a good display coming soon. This was only the preview!

More spicy, colorful pickled veggies

This is Red Cabbage Curtido. Michael is always bugging me to make some. It's sort of a cousin to the pickled carrots. Anyway, I had some red cabbage left over from something else, so I made him some.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A meme

This meme was passed along by Julie.

Four jobs that I have had (starting with earliest to now):
Working in the pet department at Woolworths
Parts dept. shipping clerk
Customer service clerk
Census worker (2000)

Four movies that I’ve watched over and over again: (This is not something I typically do on purpose)
Waking Ned Devine
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Various Star Trek movies.
These last 2 are movies that I’ve sort of watched by osmosis, because my kids have watched them a lot

Four places I have lived: (All here in SoCal)
Los Angeles

Four TV shows that I currently watch:
Ugly Betty (looking forward to some new episodes this spring)
Nature - PBS
Nova - PBS
Good Morning America

Four places I have been:
Inside the Goodyear Blimp(but only while it was on the ground)
Tijuana, Mexico
The Hollywood Bowl
Kansas City (this is as far east as I've ever been)

Four people who email me:
My dad
Joanne from the arboretum
This kid, Chris, who latched on to me last year when he was trying to raise stick insects.
Mrs. W. from school

Four favorite things to eat:
Chinese food
Mexican food
Italian food

Four places I would rather be:
Death Valley
Sonoma Coast
In the mountains somewhere
In bed(Does that count as a place?)

Four things I look forward to this year:
Improving my health
Some home improvements, too, hopefully
Vacation with Jerry
Creating some new art

OK then. If anybody else out there wants to reveal interesting but useless trivia about yourself, have at it.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Orange-Ricotta pancakes

Jerry is notorious for watching cooking shows on the weekend, and then wanting to make something he saw there. Last week, he decided he wanted to try these pancakes. I didn't have time to make them last Sunday, but I made them today. They came out pretty good. Hopefully they won't put me into a coma* like regular pancakes do.

*Not an actual coma. More like a fluffy, sugary, carb-induced stupor. Pancakes do it to me really bad. French toast doesn't, though, lucky for me.
Update: Good news. These pancakes appear to be coma-free.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Like the dog pound, only with cacti

I hardly ever go into to the 99¢ store, but I went today in search of cheap vegetables to cut up for my printmaking class at the arboretum tomorrow. I found they had a bunch of little cacti and succulents for sale for 99¢ each. But what a sad sight they were.

This is just a quick shot of a single shelf, which actually didn't look too terrible. At least it doesn't look bad in the photo. But there were several shelves of cacti, many of which were shriveled and/or falling out of their little pots. It was depressing. Almost like the dog pound. So many sweet deserving little beings, stuck in this terrible place through no fault of their own. And like a visitor at the dog pound, I felt compelled to rescue at least one, and give it a home. I took four, which seemed like a reasonable amount, although the cheapness, and their dire condition made me almost want to bring home a bunch more. But I didn't want to go crazy.

This was the "big" one. Smaller than a tennis ball, but it looked healthy enough.

The others were smaller, in tiny little pots that I think I will need to up-size.

The middle one is making a ...flower? Gee, I hope it's a flower. Either that or it's just really happy to have a home.

Oh, and it's also having a baby.

And in case anybody of the cactus persuasion is wondering, I don't have any idea what kinds of cacti these are. The bigger one was the only one with a label, and this is what it said.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Pink Roses

Sushi wasn't the only impulse buy I got at Trader Joe's yesterday. This beautiful miniature rose in a little tin pot was only $4.00.

The leaves are deep dark green and so perfect they almost look fake.

And a bonus. It smells good! Most miniature roses don't have a fragrance.
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Spring stuff

I may have mixed feelings about Easter (and Christianity in general), but I sure do enjoy all the spring-themed merchandise that is proliferating in the stores these days. They're bright and colorful, and full of cute animals, even bugs.

These items were stealthily photographed* at Cost Plus World Market yesterday. They are made from thick, brightly colored felt.


flowers and butterflies. See how thick the felt is?

And look...they have some of those little bug-shaped wood pieces on them. Cue the It's a Small World music.

*Cost Plus doesn't like people to take pictures of stuff inside their stores. I asked them permission once, and they said no. This was before I got my current camera, which is very small and can be used very discretely, and also before everybody and their brother had a cellphone with a camera in it. So as far as I know, all sorts of people are taking pictures of all the cool stuff they have there. But I still feel like I've "gotten away with something" when I do it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's Sushi Tuesday

Ok, I just made that up. But actually, I made sushi tonight because Trader Joes had ahi tuna that looked really nice and I couldn't pass it up.

I like reading food blogs sometimes. I try to blog about my cooking sometimes, but it's hard to take pictures while you're cooking. And by the time I'm serving it up, I'd always rather eat it than take pictures of it. But here's an attempt, since I had a "special dinner" tonight.

Here's the fixin's.

Tuna and cucumber in julienne strips

All laid out on the nori

All rolled up


I made (uh, that is I heated up) some TJ tempura veggies to go with the sushi.

They were pretty tasty too.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

It walks

This amazing kinetic sculpture isn't new, but it's new to me.

Here's another video clip:

And here's a link to the website of the creator, Theo Jansen.