Monday, April 30, 2007

Loose Threads

The other day I realized that sometimes I post on a "thing" and then just never get back to it. Sometimes people ask questions in the comments section that I never get back to and from time to time my own thoughts turn back to those questions or to the "thing" I mentioned earlier - but usually it never seems significant enough for its own, secondary post. It also feels a little disjointed to add a P.S. to the end of an unrelated post tracking back to the other.

Make sense? Anyone else feel me on this??

Anyway, here are a couple of bullet points that, at least for me, will tie up some loose ends from days gone by....with hyperlinks taking you to those places if you so choose.

* I LOVED the Kite Runner. Loved-loved-loved-loved it! Loved it on so many levels. It was wonderful to hear a story about boys/men and their emotional lives and I appreciated the opportunity to explore the many facets of the Afghan experience and culture. Reading the novel has motivated me to learn more and reminded me of how sequestered I feel at times as an American.

* As hard as it was to play that last cd of The Kite Runner - I have now begun another 10 cd novel...The Good Earth. And, I'm in love again. How I never read this book as an English minor in college and an AP English student in high school is a mystery to me. Thank goodness for these free-library-cd-books as they have made a huge impact upon my difficult daily commute.

* Regarding my UFO yarn projects. The "Whisper" pinkish lacy shawl...back down the tubes. Bummer, man. I can't seem to get the increases right. I'm just going to have to find something easier. Any suggestions?

* Remember the bear I was knitting back in, uh, September? Still missing one arm. The other UFO's? Still waiting for their leader.

* Thanks for the compliments on the shoes that I posted about Saturday. They actually are very comfortable. Believe it or not, they are made by Dr. Scholls. Good news is that they are currently on sale AND they come in red!!

* I was so surprised by how many people either had or were running out to pick up the Vanilla Chai deoderant. Personally, I thought that it was/is a little on the odd side. Smells a'ight, I suppose, but I am very picky in this department. You see, they seemed to have discontinued my favorite deoderant that I've used for YEARS, and you know how difficult something like that is to replace.

Vanilla Chai? - ok, but not a replacement. (sigh) Definitely not lickable.

* I am humbled to have been nominated for the elusive "Thinking Blogger Award". Humbled b/c Rhonda, one of my Super Cool Maple Leaf friends thought that I deserved the honor. Thanks, Rhonda!! Then, I had some other thoughts after reading C1's comments about the "award". She points out that it is a creative way for this random guy to get a bunch of blog traffic. That is, if you "link" to his "site".

Personally, I don't like the image used for the "award" button:

The oversized, radioactive head reminds me of the Wizard Head:

And, that kinda creeps me out.

So, I plan to "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain", and not link up, not add to, and not play along...except to thank you, again, Rhonda for the compliment. I do appreciate others listing fave blogs, though, because now I've added a few new ones to my list.

* Finally, here is a question for you savvy blogger types. How come all of the pics of my autographs from my Nick Cage & I Go Way Back post disappeared?? Is it possible that they wiped em' off because of, I don't know, privacy issues or something?? What a trip.

Ok, bulleting over.

Whew! I'm feeling better already.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Retail Smile Therapy

Things that I bought recently that made me smile....

Pattypan Squash - my favorite:

Random Vanilla Chai Scented Deoderant:

Farmer's Market Snapdragons & Bells of Ireland:

BabyZ Creamer Potatoes!!!

A suuuuper cute new apron:

Special fabric for the winner of the Kitty Caption Contest...AtomicMama!

A step up from my usual clogs:

I hope that everyone is having a great weekend and finding lots of little things that make you smile. XO

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Green Day

It was Earth Day and I got exactly what I asked for....


Thank you Mother Nature.

And, thanks to everyone that sent me Get Well wishes. I really think that they helped because I had the energy and desire to get outside today. It rained early this morning and that made for a perfect sunny afternoon to play around in the garden. Ideal way to spend Earth Day, I must say.

Over Spring Break I took a few days off to plant my veggie garden and commune with the backyard. I really felt that the Universe was thanking me for doing so because the week or so following my dirty work - it rained upon our little corner of the world exactly FOUR times. That is unheard of here in sunny California. A lot of people around here curse the raindrops - but I welcome and revel in the showering. It has been a very dry winter and we need all the precipitation that we can get.

Look at how happy the veggie garden is today:

What do you think about the fancy new fence I created? I love it & it keeps the neighbor cats from using it in the wrong way.

Here are the foxgloves in all of their glory:

Don't you just love perennials? These were a huge surprise for me this year as they really whimped out last year.

Here are my fave peach roses showing their color.

Does anyone remember about a year ago when Millicent over at Different Dirt asked "What was your First Pink"?? A bunch of us in the China Adoption blog community shared what was the first thing that we bought for our daughters as we began our wait. Well, my "First Pink" was a Flowering Quince - a lovely bush with peachy pink blooms. I planted it under my daughter's window on Mother's Day last year. That day ended up being our Log In Date with the CCAA.

Well, I'm sorry to say, it didn't make it.

The pile of sticks right behind the orange poppy - yup - that is/was the poor thing. I hoped that it would come back this Spring, but the guy at the nursery told me that if there weren't any leaves on it that it was dead. He gave me the news right after telling me that the Flowering Quince is, actually, nearly impossible to kill.

Let's try not to read too much into this one, ok?

My solution?

I bought another one. This time - it is RED. This is how it should look when it blooms:

This puppy is going to make it. Mark. My. Words.

In honor of Earth Day, and as a special gift to ourselves we bought a new plant for the yard. It is a viburnum and has these nice white clustering blooms in the Spring. Here it is in its new home:

I dipped into my "Baby Fund" for this one. Over the past year and a half I've been cashing and stashing my BDay & XMas checks away for something cool like an Ergo baby carrier, a sweet diaper bag or some special nursery bedding. Screw that. Obtaining that bootie is so far off that I just want to use the $$ for my outdoor nursery. Jzboy reminded me that the Viburnum is for BabyZ in a way. She will enjoy it someday, too.

I hope that everyone had an excellent Earth Day - one that was nurturing, energizing and Green.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Down For the Count

The bug finally got me.

I pushed through it all week - but by Thursday afternoon, I was down for the count. Now I'm slugging Nyquil shooters with Ginger Ale chasers and sounding a lot like Peppermint Patty.

My Bloglines is exploding b/c I've been out of touch. I hope that everyone is doing ok - but I am afraid to even glance at the rumors floating around. I think that I'll go back to my DVR stock full of The Office, South Park and The Riches to keep me floating around La-La Land in my pseudoephedrine haze.

Be back soon.


Monday, April 16, 2007

Kitchen Carnage

It has been a few months since my first attempt at the Red Velvet Cake. I've been itchin' for a reason to take another shot at it. I like an audience when I'm doing something like this and it just so happens that our family's matriarch was having a birthday. Perfect...well, sort of. You see, I've had a sting of bad luck with birthday cakes for her. This weekend was no exception.

Lets start with the good news. The color was excellent this time around. Very, very red. Definitely Ruby-esque. It probably had something to do with the ginormous amount of food coloring I used:

BOTH bottles were emptied in the process of this recipe. And, believe it or not, it was still less than it called for!! I thought that when I got the large, 1 oz bottle that I'd hit the motherlode and would be set for at least two cakes. Still not enough.

It definitely was red!! No mistake about it.

Maybe the brilliant hue had something to do with the new ingredient added in this recipe....vinegar? Supposedly it reacts with the food coloring to make it more strong or something.

Ready for the oven:

It all went downhill after this shot, though.

The cakes came out of the oven fine, but stuck fiercely to the pans. The NON-STICK pans. The ones that I oiled ahead of time, justincasethankyouverymuch. Yes, I've had this happen before, so I didn't completely freak out. I also knew that I had exactly what I needed for repair: adequate fine motor skills, true love for a culinary challenge and lots and lots of frosting.

Well, I did the best that I could.

It is a far cry from the one that I dream about in my head:

It is slouching a bit. And, doesn't it look a little like a crime scene?

I'm not sure what happened with the recipe - but it could be b/c the recipe called for three pans & I only used two? Maybe it was b/c the recipe called for "self rising" flour and I could not find that, so I mixed my own?? Or, maybe it was b/c it was a cake for Mom's BDay & that is just the way that goes sometimes? We had a great laugh about that.

This installment in my Red Velvet Cake adventure didn't produce the most stately, picturesque confection - but the cake sure did taste good. I think that everyone enjoyed it & there is very little left over. Mom even asked for a Red Velvet Doggie Bag. Considering that the last cake started getting a bit fuzzy before tossing it out, I'd give this one a higher mark in the taste department although I will not make it again. I'm looking for a firmer texture. If you have any thoughts or theories on the outcome, I'm open for feedback.

Red Velvet Cake Trial #2 - Donezo.

PS - Eleven Months since LID, too.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Best/Updated*

Cool thing about California is that pretty much every day is sunny. When you are someone like me, however, you long for the rain. For the main reason, well, ya'know...without must water ones own damn garden.

Oh well.

As I promised to myself a few months ago, I have successfully reconnected with my garden. And, I must say - it looks pretty darn good. Really, really good, actually! This is...quite honestly...the best time of the year for our backyard because I have yet to completely burn out on the watering aspect of my gardening responsibilities.

On with the tour:

Here are my Parrot Tulips. Pretty...yes?? One of the many, many hoards of bulbs that I planted about 5 years ago to return. Because we rarely get a frost around here, bulbs that you want to return are supposed to be dug up and (I think) refrigerated then replanted. That is just not going to happen. For whatever reason, the Parrot tulips want to come back and that makes me very happy.

These are what my mother told me were "Mock Orange" - I didn't plant them, but I love that I inherited their sweet loveliness. Soon they will bloom and when they do - they really smell like orange! Cool.

The next 2 pics are of our climbing Clematis. I spent Easter Sunday untangling them from the pervasive Jasmine vine. Definitely worth it.

This next pic is of my most favorite rose in our backyard - my Sammy Rose. It commemorates my beloved cat, Sam. It is an Altissimo climbing rose and brought me so many smiles. I love red.

I'd like to introduce the amazing Foxglove patch. They are just ready and waiting to open up. Stay tuned for future pics of their loveliness.....

Finally, a pic of my favorite inherited rosebush - I wish I knew the name. It is a wonderful peachy color and blooms like crazy. I'll post pics when it is showing its stuff. Look carefully in the background - who do you see in the window????

Finally - a pic of the Virgin Veggie Bed. By weeks end - it will have new babies tucked in and all sorts of hopes bestowed upon it.

I must confess...I did end up making a trip to the yarn shoppe. My LYS (local yarn shop) is closing and everything is 30-50% off! What else could I do??? Look at my lovely cache:

Did I mention that I love red?

*I re-loaded my pics b/c something wiggy happened & I have no idea where they went. Hope that it is fixed now.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sometimes Dreams Really Do Come True

I had a dream.

And, it came true.

Genesis has reunited and will be touring in North America Fall 2007. First time in 15 years!

Jzboy almost had to take me to Paris to see the show this summer...then we heard that they were coming across the Pond. (I suppose we'll tuck that unspent money away for our China trip sometime in the next decade).

Last time I saw Genesis was in high school. My boyfriend at the time stood in line for hours and got us tickets in the Fifth row - CENTER!!! It was one of my fondest teenage memories! I've always said that if there was one last concert that I could go to - it would be Genesis. I'll admit it, yes, I ((heart)) Phil. Not his recent, random Disney stuff - the old stuff - the brass section, the drums, the know, like Abacab. Paperlate and Silver Rainbow.

Thank goodness my husband gets it. He's with me. I mean, we played Genesis as our first dance at our wedding - and it was the perfect tune for us. For whatever reason, the band has always touched my heart. And, of course, the music takes me so easily back to a different time. When life was shiny and new - when standing in Fifth Row/Center with your boyfriend to see your favorite band was the most mind blowing experience that you'd had in your young years.

This seems to be the summer of reunion tours: Genesis, Aerosmith, the Police, (Van Halen cancelled the tour because Eddie went into rehab), Smashing Pumpkins, Rush, Rage Against the Machine and Roxy Music with Bryan Ferry!

For now, we're in with tickets to see Genesis. Who knows how the rest of 2007 will unfold.

What are you seeing this summer?

Friday, April 06, 2007

I Believe in UFOs

Frequently when faced with crappy news like further slow motion on the adoption front, I find myself self-medicating at either the yarn shop or the fabric store. Somehow working on a project feels like forward motion, productive use of my time and...well, to someone like me...just looking at pretty colors and fondling soft wool is meditative. The promise of creating something lovely brings me joy.

Sooooo, with all of this talk about the latest batch of "March" referrals only covering TWO DAYS (insert pained moan) I surprised myself by reconnecting with some old projects vs. going around and starting new ones. This was AFTER much needed zoning out in front of the DVR watching inspirational Oprah-esque programmes, inhaling a large tub of microwave popcorn and enjoying a suuuper long shower. Come to think of it, maybe I just didn't feel like leaving the house?

Old Projects = UFOs (un-finished objects)

Here is the pillow cover project that I started maybe last summer. It was my first try at cables and I love the neutral heathery yarn. Believe it or not, cables are actually quite easy & fun. I'm stoked to get back to work on these guys.

This next project is for BabyZ. Remember the Lambies & Lola that I made for my neice (click on the highlighted words to see a pic)? Probably not, because it was my second post ever. Anyway, of course BabyZ needs her own set. The "baby" lamb pictured is waiting to be felted and stuffed. I thought that it would be fun to make it muticolored. This yarn is supposed to be excellent for felting. The "mama" lamb is going to be the magenta hue. Fun.

Finally, here is a pic of this shawl that I've been thinking about for ages. I bought the yarn several years ago and began the project before I was really ready. It is a complicated lace pattern, one that you have to pay attention to - not a great beginner activity. I ripped that thing out so many times that I had to hide it in a drawer. I miss it.

Don't you just love this color?? I am excited just typing about it. Maybe I'll drown my CCAA sorrows in this dusty pinkness. I suppose there are worse things that I could do.

Who knows? I may just end up at the fabric shop by Sunday. Or at least with some sort of crazy Hot Fudge something or other. How is everyone else coping?

PS - Not sure about who will get the big prize on the prior posts contest.....still deciding.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Waiting on referrals.

Lacking meaningful inspiration.

Leads this girl to....

Fluffy desperation.

Anyone who has followed our blog over the past, shoot (!), year or so....knows how much we love our cat, Iris. Here are a couple of special pics of her over the past few months.

She LOVES her DaddyZ:

We don't call her Noodles for nothin' (click on pic for best view):

There definitely was some shrimp in this bag:

Soliciting captions for this one:

Winner gets a special surprise from the ZFamilia.

Something cool, I promise.

PS - I am on CD #8 (of 10) of the Kite Runner...and all I want to do is drive and drive and drive.

Until the end of the story.

Who lives in LA?? Maybe I'll be in the area.....??