Friday, December 30, 2011

The Dog Days of Winter

If there were such a time, with such a name, this would be it: the week between Christmas and New Year's. The days may not be as long, but they have surely been just as languid. As a crew of men worked busily on our ceilings and drywall, much of the inside remained sealed in great sheets of plastic, and we were obliged to hang around outside with Marley, and nothing much else to do. By some ridiculous coincidence, the weather has been dry and unnaturally warm. I hate to think how miserable we would have been if it were in the 50s and raining.

  under the plastic The living room, covered in plastic.

  All the comforts Jerry on the patio. I don't know why he's all bundled up. It was sunny and warm all day.

  garage kitchen Here's my garage-kitchen.    garage kitchen
I have my microwave and a handful of counter-top appliances:  crockpot, rice cooker, toaster oven, electric griddle.  And we have our gas barbecue.  I even have use of my neighbor's kitchen this weekend while she's out of town, but I can't think of anything I really want that I can't make here.

Monday, December 26, 2011

What it is...

blank slate

What it was 
before before

What it will be 
a hint of what's to come Malibu tile

More creative stuff

We are in the midst of our remodel. But I have still had a chance to flex my creative muscles a little. Here's some recent stuff: Merry Christmas to All Made this for my blog friend, Magda. These are her birds I've (digitally) dressed up for Christmas.
  the MAN...
Made this for my daddy. This is him a long time ago. Don't ask about the legend. Let's just say it's more of a mystery.

  fall 2011 Here we were, last month, all nice and neat and Photoshopped into some semblance of decency. Compare this to the hilarious family portrait that Brice made.

2012 Calendar Tea Towel Calendar, limited edition. Very limited. Please don't feel bad if I didn't send you one. I still love you. I only had it in me to make a few this time.  I'll try to do better next year.

OMG, Meet the fam.

The fam.  OMG. from left, Michael, me, Jerry, Brice 

Brice, my quiet one.  He has spoken 1000 words.
He made us a Christmas present. He made... us! How we laughed when we first unwrapped it, for Brice has captured our essence, collectively and individually. A caricature, to be sure, but actually pretty damn close to the real deal.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I liked this commercial

 Loved the music. It's by Parov Stelar. A music style called electric swing. Fun stuff.

You can hear the whole song, called Booty Swing, here.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coming soon? The final component of my Art Machine

As I stated in a very old post:

Back when I was a young artiste, I used to fantasize about a computerized "Art Machine." It could manipulate shapes and colors, lines and textures, and make anything you wanted. Of course, it was big enough to fill a room, and in my fantasy I had a staff to make it work, because I really didn't know anything about computers. Oh, and to get the image perfectly from your brain to the screen, the machine hooked right up to your brain. Fast forward to the present. I finally have my art machine, and it does just about everything I imagined back in the 70's. It's small enough to sit on my kitchen desk, between my coupon holder and the dog's medicine. Unfortunately, it doesn't plug directly into my brain, and learning how to make all the art stuff work the way I want it to is frustrating...

OK, so that was over 6 years ago.  I have learned it little bit more about digital art and image manipulation since then.  And I have just learned that the final, elusive, seemingly impossible component to digital art, that of extracting images directly from the brain, is becoming... a reality!

Full article here.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The day the universe changed?

I’m not sure if I believe in parallel universes, but if they do exist, there was a portal to one in my garage ten years ago.  But I couldn’t bring myself to look into it.

Ten years ago we still had our daily newspaper subscription.  We’d had one for years, but by 2001, we really weren’t reading the paper much any more.  We liked our big Sunday paper with the comics and all the ads and coupons, but often we just didn’t get around to reading the weekday issues.  And lets face it, if you haven’t read yesterday’s paper by the time today’s paper arrives, it’s probably not going to happen.  And it might not happen with today’s, either.   Instant news on the internet was rapidly rendering printed news obsolete.   As the pile of old newspapers, too many unopened and unread, grew each month, I was ready to cancel our subscription and save a few trees.  Jerry still wanted to know it was there for him when he wanted to read it, however seldom.  So, we had our newspaper delivered every day.

That was the state of affairs on a sparklingly beautiful September morning ten years ago.  It was about 6:45 AM Pacific time, and I was getting ready to take my son to school.  His zero-period class would start at 7:00.    On my way out to the car, I picked up the newspaper that had been tossed onto the driveway just an hour or so before.  I tossed it into the garage and got in the car while I waited for my son. 

If you know anything about teenage boys and early mornings, you know that they are not a good match.  Michael had it timed so that he stayed in bed until the very last moment, allowing himself just enough time to get up, dressed, eat something and get himself out the door so I could get him to school just as the bell was ringing.  I did my part by being ready in the car to take him there.  So on this particular morning, as I was sitting in my car in my driveway, waiting for Michael to come out, I turned on the radio, (it was NPR,) and they were reporting live about some kind of big breaking news.  As I listened, it sounded almost frantic as the reporters relayed what was happening.  A plane had crashed into the World Trade Center?   For a moment, I thought it might be like H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds:  eerily realistic, but in the end, just a story.  But no, this was real.

Michael got into the car, still sleepy and grumpy and not caring much about what was on the radio.  I remember thinking how serious it sounded and I asked him if he thought he should stay home.  He said he didn’t know, but he might as well go to school.  I dropped him off and came back home, the gravity of what was happening in New York beginning to sink in with every passing minute that I listned to the radio.

I had called home to Brice and told him to turn on the TV.   I don’t think we turned it off for the next 2 or 3 days.   I won't try to describe the feelings.  I think everybody old enough to understand went through their own shock, grief, anger, and whatever else.  As the days and weeks passed and we slowly resumed our normal lives, it became clear that that "normal" felt different now.  Our world had changed. 

Days later, still adjusting to this new reality, I came upon the portal to another universe.  It was that newspaper from Tuesday, September 11, still unopened in the garage.   I knew that inside it contained news, sports, weather, advertisements.  But I also knew that it was printed in a universe that didn’t have four hijacked planes in a diabolically choreographed plan that killed thousands of people and forever altered the mindset of millions more.   I never did open it, but I held onto that newspaper for several months, the way I would keep a seashell or a dried flower.  It held a memory of something that might have been, and maybe still is, somewhere in time and space.  

Friday, September 02, 2011

Spinach Tomato Tortellini

I found a tasty recipe today when I was looking for a way to use up some fresh spinach. (I had bought some without remembering that I already had some.)  It was good enough that I want to share, so here is the recipe.  
I used a whole bag of pre-washed baby spinach instead of one cup that the recipe called for. I also added a couple of links of turkey Italian sausage, and I used half & half instead of heavy cream.  The photo is from the website, from someone else who made it, and mine came out pretty much like the picture.

photo by CookingMommy

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Song stuck in my head

It's really just the twangy guitar part that's stuck in my brain.  And of course the lyrics that say, "You just make me want to a camel."  Why do I have this stuck in my head?  I have no idea.  I just woke up this morning wanting to hear it, so I found it on YouTube to satisfy my urge, and then proceeded to listen to other music in order to try to wash the Camel Walk from my brain.  Usually, that works for me, and in fact, I found a very nice little song from Ryan Adams that took the Camel Walk away, for a while ...

Ryan Adams - Lucky Now by theaudioperv

But then I had to take Marley to get her nails trimmed, and by the time I got home, The Camel was back, and it's still here.

Little Debbie, little Debbie!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

6 months...

...since my Boomie died.  Miss you, sweet boy.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Everyday Matters #125: Draw a bird

I am off-again on-again with EDM, mostly off. But my sweet blog-friend, Julie said, "Let's do an EDM challenge, and I said, "OK, you pick the topic." She picked #125, Draw a bird.

It didn't take me long to decide what bird to do.

This is Suzanna when she was just a baby. She is a 2 year old hen now, and she lives, along with her sister Victoria and a menagerie of other birds and critters, in Australia. They are all beloved pets of Magda, who found me on Bug Safari, then came here and has also become my blog-friend!

Magda has deep a spiritual passion for all living things. She recently posted on her blog about her hens, Victoria and Suzanna, including pictures of them as they were growing up. If you go to her post, you will see the photo I used as a model for my picture. Little Suzanna looks so cute gazing up at her mama (Magda). And I guess I'm just a sucker for cute little fuzzy babies. Or babies in general, for that matter.

I think I may have cheated by doing this drawing digitally in ArtRage rather than on paper, but I'm giving myself artistic licence and anyway, this is just for fun.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

No more bunny

As I had feared, the baby bunny didn't live through the night.  Oh well.  At least he was warm and safe in his final hours.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

BUN Safari

BUN Safari
Michael found this tiny baby bunny on the sidewalk on the way home from work today. Ants were all over it, and at first he thought it was dead, but he quickly realized it was still alive. He scooped it up and brought it home.

I was out when he came home with it, and when I walked in the door, he had it in a shoe box on the kitchen table. I immediately got on the phone trying to find a local wildlife rehabber we could take it to, but Michael quickly put a stop to that. It's his bunny. He found it, and he wants to try to take care of it.


He went to the pet store and bought replacement formula for kitties. He fed the bunny with an eye-dropper, and it took some formula.

Trying not to butt in. Not to take over. Not to micro-manage.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Hose doodles

hose doodle

hose doodle
I still like my hose doodles, even if I don't post them very often.

Monday, June 13, 2011

3 dog night

Michael came home from work with news that there were 3 lost dogs on the next block. He had been walking home when a neighbor asked him if he recognized the friendly trio.  Thus began an evening of trying to find where they belong and return them to their owner.
fat dog
This sweet chocolate lab-girl was, without a doubt, the fattest dog I've ever seen.  She could hardly walk.  It was sad.  She was also very thirsty and peed a lot.  I wonder if she has diabetes (or dogabetes, as Michael joked).

fat dog
Her teeth were perfect.  In that regard, she looked young.  Like a young sea lion, maybe.

fat back

skinny friend of fat dog
Her two companions, also female, were smaller and slender.   We learned later that this one has a microchip,  is named Brooklyn and was originally from Los Angeles.

Boxer friend of fat dog
This boxer looked like the leader of the group.  She was a little older, and she was the only one with a collar.  Her tag and micro-chip just pointed back to a boxer rescue.  Sad to think that she was given a second chance through rescue and now she's gotten lost from her family.

We put the three of them in the back yard.  I put out a sign out front that said "DOGS FOUND".  I took Brooklyn around the neighborhood, asking everybody I saw if they recognized her, or might know of a massively obese brown labrador or boxer that could be new to the neighborhood.  They can't have come from too far.  Poor fatty could hardly walk.  Nobody recognized them.

I couldn't let them in the house.  Marley wanted nothing to do with them, the skinny ones looked like they might be wild in the house, and the fat lab was peeing all over herself.  I called Animal Control, and a very nice man came and took them away in his truck.   He said that even if they don't find the owner, these dogs will likely find homes because they are so nice.  I hope the fat lab gets to rescue so somebody can help her.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Delightful, curly, trivial

This is the raggedy old door mat in front of the teachers lounge at school.  Over time, the weather and possibly the bottom of the door scraping over it has frayed the rubbery edge of the mat and the loose strands have curled into the most delightful design.  I swear, every time I went in that door, I would look at this and think, "I must take a picture of this graceful little thing."  School will be out soon.  Who knows how long this mat, with its curly strips of rubber will last.   I had my camera today, and I finally took a picture.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


The whole side yard next to our garage is all cemented in. We keep our trash cans there. It's also full of weeds that sprouted in the cracks. It's like a concrete jungle out there. This weed caught my eye because it was blooming.

Tenacious, as they all are, just to grow in such a place.
Audacious, this one, because it's blooming.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A fly on the wall

Reading other peoples' blogs sometimes makes me feel like the proverbial "fly on the wall".

fly on the wall
This fly says Thank You.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

An elegant string of words

These are not my words. My son, Michael, wrote this. Most of what he writes has so many big words and abstract metaphors, they are hard for me to read. But I liked this well enough to steal it.

Once in a while a tiny delicate bubble of clarity finds its way the surface of an otherwise tumultuous broth and quivers tenuously for a moment before screaming out of existence. Once in an even greater while, a few bubbles rise to the surface at the same time, mingling with each other. For the tiniest moment while they're all dancing, you can see the entire world and all its moving parts.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 30, a picture

Not one, but two:

I took this photo yesterday.  I love the way roses glow in the light of early evening.  This was a "miniature" rose bush that I bought years ago, and now it's chest high.  The flowers grow in bouquets.

Children's Earth Day chalk art
At school the other week, we did chalk drawings for Earth Day. This one was my favorite.

These are the kinds of little things that brighten my day. I don't always have the chance to take pictures of them, but I try to notice them and appreciate them every chance I get.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Day 28, something that stresses me out

Driving.  I'm a nervous driver, and a worse passenger.  I wasn't always this way.  It seems to be getting worse as I get older.

Day 27, pets

Our first dog didn't last long.  I was 8 or 10.  I just remember one day we had this puppy.  He was little and black.  We called him Moochie.  My mom didn't like him.  I was never sure why.  We had him for a few weeks, maybe.  Then one day he was gone.  I was never sure why.  But I've never forgotten him.

We had better luck with YoYo.  She was a poodle-mix that we got from one of my school friends when I was around 12.  She was a good little dog.  Better trained than I was, she never ran through the living room.  Her worst fault was not really her fault at all.  She had wild, thick hair that would get matted if it got too long.  But my dad bought an electric clipper and would disappear with YoYo into the garage, and 2 hours later, she would emerge looking like a little sheared lamb.

Our first dog when we got married was Jonah, a black lab.  He was my first baby. 1980-1991

My sister found Kelly as a stray, and we ended up keeping her.  She had epilepsy.  Grand mal seizures every few weeks. 1982-1992

Maggie, 1994-2004

Boomie, adopted 2002-2011

Marley, 2000 (adopted 2005)-

I've had birds over the years, but not since before we had kids.

 Lizards.  We were heavy into Bearded Dragons for awhile.  Our first, last, and oldest, Spike, died several years ago.

I could go on with the frogs and bugs, but man, there have been so many frogs and bugs.  Let's just leave it at that.

Day 26, a family picture

After my previous post about Granny, I wanted to find another family picture that had her in it.  I found this, already on my hard drive.  Yes, that's my birthday all those people are celebrating.  Where was I?   Shouldn't there have been a shot of me, smearing myself liberally from head to toe with my own birthday cake?  I dunno.  I guess I was taking a nap or something when they took this picture.  Anyway, the woman on the far left is my Grandma Sarah.  The young lady on the far right is my mom.  The other people in between are all long dead:  Uncle Herman, Aunt Fran, Aunt Eva, Granny.

Day 25, a favorite memory

In 1977, my Granny had her 80th birthday.  This was a number befitting of a special celebration, and we did something we had never done before (or since). All of Granny's children and grandchildren accompanied her on an airplane flight from LA to San Diego, just for dinner.  Apart from the feeling of being "jet-setters", (imagine the pretentiousness of flying a mere hundred miles, and coming back the same evening!), it was great fun just being with my cousins and with Granny.   I was able to find a few snapshots of the event.

Meeting at the airport.  From left, my uncle Mo, Granny, Dad

She was so excited!  For a while there, she thought we were all flying to Switzerland!

From left, Lisa, Susi, Kathi

We used to be very close back when I was a kid, but by 1977 I was already in college, and Granny was just beginning to show some early signs of Alzheimer's (though we didn't realize it at the time), but as time went on, all of us cousins grew up and started doing our own thing, and the family get-togethers came fewer and farther apart.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Couldn't wait to share

This was the view from our front porch this morning.  Wet and soggy and gray.

How about THIS for a change of scenery?  I think it was somewhere around Ramona.   I made Jerry pull over so I could take a picture.

Wild succulent!
I was excited to see these succulents growing right out of the embankment, just inches from the road.  It was a winding road with no shoulder, and I was going nuts looking for a turnout that was close to where some of these were growing.   Finally I found these.  They were HUGE, maybe the size of a car hubcap.   Dudlleyas, I think.  There were other kinds that had narrower leaves, but we didn't find a good place to stop and see them.

Anyway, now we are at our little Casita in Borrego Springs.  We've uncorked the wine, fired up the BBQ (and the Wi-Fi) and we're ready for a good time!

Day 24, something I've learned.

Some of the lessons I learned as a child:

If you give your favorite dolly a haircut, a really short, crappy haircut, IT WILL NOT GROW BACK.  EVER.

Sugar is NOT the opposite of salt.  If you over-salt something, adding sugar will not cancel it out.  Or make it better.

Snake poop REALLY stinks.  This is why you should never carry a snake in your pocket.

You can’t buy a 10-cent Fudgsicle®  from the ice-cream truck with ten thousand dollars of Monopoly money.

Take your retainer out BEFORE you go up to the front of the class to give your oral report.

Just because something is labeled NON TOXIC, that doesn't mean it's actually EDIBLE.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 23, best vacation

One of my favorite vacations was in 1983. This was before we had kids. We drove to Colorado to visit with Jerry's friend, best man and former co-worker and neighbor (all of those were the same guy!)  We camped out of the back of our Toyota pick up.  Colorado was beautiful.  We were in the Rockies, and there were alpine meadows with a rainbow of flowers blooming.  We also drove through Arizona, Nevada, and Utah in the coming and going, and saw some beautiful country.  The whole trip was about 3 weeks.  It was the longest vacation we ever had, even to this day.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 22, my favorite city

I'm not even sure if I have a favorite city.  But I'm going to choose Fullerton, California, because I've been here over 23 years, and it's home.

Here are a couple of links for Fullerton.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 21, a picture of me

I generally hate pictures of myself, but I don't mind this one too much even though it's not in focus and my eyes look closed.  I'm actually looking down at Boomie.  This was in December 2004.  Our old dog, Maggie had just died, and poor Boomie was lonely and needy.  We brought Marley home not long after that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 20, nicknames

I've had a few over the years.  Probably the silliest was given to me by my dad when I was very young:
Cindy Mae Klunk. 

In high school, we needed to have Spanish names to use in Spanish class.  Apparently there was no translation for Cindy, so I picked Clara.  I took 4 years of Spanish, and many of my classmates thought Clara was my real name.

My current nickname is Bug Lady, of course!  Maybe it's more of a title than a nickname.  At the arboretum, I am introduced as "Cindy, our Bug Lady".  But I'll take it!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 19, something I miss

As nostalgic as I am, I even miss the trees that are no longer here anymore.  We had our big ficus trees removed years ago, because their root system was damaging our sewer system.  I was sorry to see them go.  Likewise for my neighbor's big pine trees in her yard.  She removed them to brighten up her yard and give her house a little more curb appeal when she sold it.

This picture is from 1991. That's my baby running down the street. That's my neighbor's beautiful tree. Our ficus trees are just out of view, to the right of the picture, but you can see a few leaves in the upper right corner.

The same view today. No trees. My current neighbor likes it that way, I'm sure. He parks his company van likes it's a billboard.  Makes me want to plant something there for the sole purpose of blocking out his van.

Here's my Brice at age 8, in his beloved tree, shortly before we had it removed.
I miss this kid, too.  (I still have him, but he's not like this anymore.)