Hanging Around

May 21, 2020

Not getting enough of this…(how is that even possible…?)



I feel like I need to add a comment, though. Swinging gently in a comfy hammock in a candy-colored backyard (even if it is filter-embellished) on a sunny spring afternoon completely belies my mood. I feel just shitty today (in my head, heart). Some days — probably those without all the multiple distractions I’ve managed to fill my days with (good distractions) — the angst hits hard. Today for example.  I mean, if you allow yourself the time to actually think about what’s going on.. you gotta feel pretty uncomfortable with where all this is going. It’s like the phrase if you’re not mad (sad, scared..), you’re not paying attention.

It IS bad. I AM mad, sad, scared. Most of the time, though, I’m busy with political action, cooking, exercising, watching the Crown, even cleaning.

Today a lot of it hit me.. combination of sheer exhaustion at having to bear that batshit crazy fool of a president* we are suffering under; the wretchedness of white supremacist murders gunning down a young black man out for a jog; news about the just endless corruption in a ravaged government; the complete immorality of the administration’s response to a virus still killing people by the thousands; the prospect of a brutal campaign ahead; despair over the idiocy around us (I’m looking at you mask deniers).. and just weird stuff… for example, the buckling of higher education under decades of elitist manipulation.. it’s always seemed wrong and now, caught in the coronavirus mess, it’s showing its many flaws. I didn’t even expect to be slammed with that today. But it just added to such a weariness.

Anyway… gotta stop. I’m late for the Crown (every night I’m late for our agreed-to time to sit down and watch it).  Just sucks today. I have so much more to say.. and I just can’t seem to find words that are adequate to describe the sheer, sad, messed up clusterfuck this all is.

So enjoy the candy land hammock pic.

The Covid Nineteen

May 19, 2020

This explains the so-called Covid nineteen. (Pounds, that is.)

This was dinner a couple nights ago… a bevy of leftovers, a few produce drawer salvations, and one new thing. And some wine, followed by a bunch of cookies.


First, the leftovers…   The white rice was the vehicle for chicken with coconut milk,  tomato and ginger (the chicken was finished off a day or two ago); steamed broc from a few nights ago; the last of the roasted potatoes from “Mom’s chicken” dish a little over a week ago; and some excellent cheesy tomato risotto… from about 4  or 5 days ago.

Then the new thing… that’s salmon sauteed in brown butter with diced cucumbers (of all things), garlic and lime.. a bit weird but okay enough. May not make the cut, but it helped me brush up on my brown butter technique.

And, finally, the produce that needed to get eaten stat: an avocado, and steamed red bell pepper and zuc.


Tonight’s adventure was a pretty good cheesy, spicy black bean bake that I wish I’d gotten a picture of, with 5 (yep) cloves of garlic. I sauteed all that garlic, chopped, in very hot olive oil, added tomato paste and a mix of Mexican spices (chipotle, smoked paprika, cumin, red pepper, ancho..), added canned black beans and a bit of boiling water, then topped it with a ton of cheddar cheese and stuck the whole pan into the oven for five minutes to melt and brown the cheese.  Had it with cornbread muffins that Jim had baked about a week ago.  I’m not a bean person but can handle black beans and I ended up liking this one more than Jim did!

It was a good refrigerator-emptying couple of days!

Think we’re eating too much?

Clean As A Whistle

May 18, 2020

Day #66..

Housecleaners are not on the list of workers ok’d by the public health department. Very icky.  I can let my hair grow out, but I can’t let the house go.

So… in Miguel’s absence, I’m chief housecleaner ’round here.

Since I’m doing that, Jim’s doing all the shopping. Other stuff, too, of course, but that’s become our exchange.

This housecleaning… I’m impressed with how much work it is. It’s is serious labor. On housecleaning days (every two weeks) I’m so beat up I can hardly move. Hats off to folks who clean their own houses. I feel a bit princess-y saying that I’ve never been that person. I’ve had no problem at all with the idea of hiring housecleaners. There is a lot to know! I have a list with things like, “what’s the best way to clean a bathroom, ” “what’s the best product for cleaning kitchen counters,” “how do you use that Bona stuff for wood floors?” I gotta get myself to the googles here soon.

The first time I cleaned the whole house, it took me 10 hours spread over two days. The second time 6 hours. That seems to be the average. Today took 7, for some reason.

I’m not gonna lie.. there is quite a bit of satisfaction in it. My domestic self esteem is off the charts.  But I think I’ll be ready to turn over the vacuum cleaner to Miguel at our first opportunity.

In the meantime.. check out my floor!



That Was Then..

May 17, 2020

Our front yard was a sight to behold this Spring. It was a bit of a messy mess, but it was colorful and just packed with wall-to-wall flowers. Our irrigation’s been off for nearly a year because of the remodel, and we knew we were going to re-landscape the front and back, so just let things happen. And things were magnificent:






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So, starting last weekend, Ruben got to work.

This is Ruben. He’d just finished removing– besides dense flora and flowers–a recalcitrant motilija poppy bush, a bunch of aged nandina and a very stubborn redbud, and was about to move on to the pluot tree at right (loaded with pluots).



This weekend, he brought his brother and son. And a rototiller. And they removed the last of everything.

And this is now.




The boulder wall was not even visible before.

Then they dissembled the path and will use the stones elsewhere in the front and back yards.


We now have a tabula rasa.

It’s a bit shocking. Our yard’s been though numerous iterations in our 24 years (this month) on A Street.  We’ve had prolific vegetable and herb gardens and a wide array of flowers over the years. We’ve had lemons, loquats, peaches and almonds. We had a charming fence (thanks, Jim!) with overhanging abutilon, then took it down 5 years later (sorry, Jim!). We even had a lawn with a huge raised stone planter in the center that held a gargantuan modesto ash when we first moved in. (It helps that our house was twelve feet shorter along the entire east wall.)  I feel sad for the loss of some of those gardens of the past, especially some of the more beautiful flowers, but now we’ll start yet again and hopefully create a whole new look that we will also love.






Nostalgia Train

May 16, 2020

Got on a bit of a nostalgia train this afternoon, hankering for a 50-50 bar… and made myself a facsimile thereof.. sorta.. a liquid 50-50 bar, of sorts.

Vanilla gelato and some oranges…


Blended with a little bit of milk to make this:


Texture was a bit odd with bits of orange pulp that wouldn’t quite pulverize, and actually could have been both sweeter and colder. Will work on it.



Pandemic Public Art

May 15, 2020

As seen in front of the Natsoulas Gallery …









Going Gentle

May 14, 2020

I’ve got some pretty good fear and rage going today… it doesn’t take much, does it? Just read a little news and presto… you’re there.

I have notes on some of those feelings.. but let’s not. Let’s just go gentle tonight.

Spring walks are about as good as life can get, literally.. as spring is that time when new life emerges, activity and color return to the world, cuteness abounds. In Davis, that starts happening at the end of January, so we’re nearly four months into our Spring lovelinesses. And I’ve displayed a lot of what I’ve seen in my blog already.

But have I done baby ducks? I have.. but baby ducks walking on the path by the creek flanked by their protective parents?

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How about squirrels peering around the trunks of trees?

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That makes me feel a wee bit better.



Day #61

May 13, 2020

Where are we today?

Trump and his right wing loony tunes media have fully turned on the scientists. Fauci, in the last couple days, has become the scapegoat for the administration’s failed response (right up there with China and Obama). Fox personalities decry, “He’s not even an elected official! How can we trust his advice!”  It’d be great satire, except it’s not. And, it appears, the administration is dragging its feet on the release of the CDC guidelines for states’ reopening. They may never release them. They want to leave no trail of accountability, I guess. They may not follow up on any large scale roll out of testing and tracing. They are working to suppress the release of death data in certain regions. It all just piles up… the crazy chaos; the whole inept, dysfunctional, incompetent circus. Textbook Trump.

So.. Mother’s Day .. three days ago .. He spends (I hear) the entire day watching TV (as usual) and rage tweeting — something like a tweet every 7.5 minutes. His usual angry, aggrieved, petty, petulant self.  He made accusations against everybody, and including journalists (of course), even suggesting one was a murderer, and he (yawn) blamed Obama for everything (again) and even accused him of committing the worst crime in history (OBAMAGATE!), though has yet to explain what, exactly, Obama did. (In a press briefing yesterday, when asked what crime Obama committed, he sneered smugly, “You know what he did, everyone knows.”)

Not that I read a single one of his Mother’s Day Marathon of stupid tweets, but I heard that he said nothing about the people who have died or about assuring the country that he recognizes the pain people are going through and that he’s got a plan… or anything leadership-y like that.  To anyone who still supports him (mystifying), is this really what you want from a president during a pandemic in which tens and tens of thousands of people are dying and the economy is collapsing? Is this the steady moral leadership you feel comfortable with? He who routinely overrules the experts. Can you trust him with your life? I sure don’t.


How’s about some memes:

idiot strikes again


My bad.. that’s not a meme… it’s real life communique from the president*… spelling and grammatical errors, and all. It’s a beaut.

And.. messaging straight from — or at least encouraged by — the Oval office:

dont tread on me

His in-plain-sight priority:

stock market


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Really. I’ve had it with the conspiracy guys who think this is all somehow a big giant infringement on their freedoms.. and think the mask wearers are brainwashed sheeple. We are fearful and weak!

Enough of that.

Here are some funny takes on the state of our lives right now…

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Life is one great big zoom call…






And my favorite:








May Skies

May 12, 2020

I was looking out the kitchen window around 7:35 last night… and saw that the sun was peering through wet, stormy clouds. Went looking for a rainbow… there wasn’t one… but the light was just gorgeous.

This is what I call my dad’s eucalyptus tree — the one across the street that shades the large concrete bench we bought in his honor (so glad we did this) (the bench is not visible in this pic, but it’s below the bottom of the V in the tree there…


And… whoa… looking at this picture now… I DO see a rainbow! Whattaya know!



I’m sitting here in my new favorite place to work. (Work… well.. you know.)  (Hang out.) And I’m looking at a drippy, wet, very overgrown backyard. It’s pretty lovely, overgrowth notwithstanding.


I like this view of my work space, too… because Phil Gross’s painting just fit right in and made itself at home.


Regarding the yard: as of yesterday, we’ve taken the first steps on landscaping (if you don’t count the near-year it took to work with Claudia to design it…).  Ruben spent six hours in the front pulling, grinding, cutting, hacking.. basically removing everything except the 1) sycamore, 2) magnolia, 3) Japanese maple, and 4) two crape myrtles. He has a little ways to go yet, then will shift to the back yard and do the same.  There, we have a substantial amount of hauling to do, as that’s where remnants from the remodel ended up, now a great habitat for black widows and other creepy stuff, no doubt. Ruben will rototill, grade, re-lay irrigation lines… and then we’ll see where we are. The plans are ready to go… but we’re going to take it piece by piece. A little hardscape here, a little planting there… someday it’ll be done.

In the meantime, the view — if you don’t look too carefully — is lovely enough!

Speaking of lovely. Here’s a collection of pics from my last couple trips around the arb… Saturday and yesterday walks. While some of these shots seem redundant to photos I’ve posted before, the blooms are actually different, as this place just seems to change by the day. It is so very thoughtfully designed; there is always something in season, popping out and adding a new splash of color or texture where there wasn’t any the week before.





( ^ Neat, huh?)

And the motilija poppies are in their full bloom right now. Speaking of which… it was this very stand of giant white poppies that inspired me to plant a motilija in our front yard. People warned me, I ignored them. These things, while dramatic and gorgeous, are also relentless spreaders and are very woody and hearty and thick… and during the non blooming season are not much to look at. So Ruben removed them! A tiny bit sorry to see them go, but they do take over everything.





Caught this fellow busy at work…on whatever these are.