Wonderlands of Winter

March 7, 2023

I’d say it’s time for a spring snowshoe adventure… whattaya say, Jim?

Here are a couple choices:


Or Yosemite… (given the amount of snow, we can probably do some snowshoeing in August when we’ve got reservations up at Tuolumne Meadows!)

Just to be clear, I took neither of those pictures.

But I did take this one the other night. I was hurried along and couldn’t work at getting a proper nighttime photo, but I still like the way it came out.

The green spec shows up a lot in my photos when I aim at something bright.. not usually moons. I can’t explain it.

How You know…

March 6, 2023

it’s still winter in Davis.

Sat in the window at Temple Coffee this morning. Things to notice: an absolutely beautiful latte and an absolutely fantastically tasty pumpkin muffin, AND, rain on the sidewalk. Seemingly never ending rain.

And just because.. here’s a close up of that latte. I love Cloud Forest and Mishka’s and will continue to patronize them, but will look forward to Mondays–when CF (current regular coffee spot) is closed–to go to Temple. Mishka’s has dropped down a couple pegs b/c it’s so crowded and the wifi is so terrible… but I’ll still go because, well, I love Mishka’s!

Really though.. look at this latte.

You also know it’s still winter when someone thought to give one of the joggers a tee-shirt to protect against these crazy low temps!

And finally, as I write this, I’m still sitting beside a fire to keep warm, still drinking hot tea to keep warm, still draping a wool blanket over me to keep warm, still wearing a heavy flannel shirt to keep warm, still wearing a down vest in the house to keep warm…

And it’s MARCH! And the rain and unseasonably low temps are still coming….

Growing Up House

March 5, 2023

This is my house (our house) in Palos Verdes. Seems like my whole lifetime was there, but funny that I only lived in that house — in the same bedroom — from age 3 to 18. Crazy how our childhood years, compressed into such a small space in time, represent everything to us. Just fifteen years! That amount of time goes by in a blink in our later years. Still, it was the family home from 1959 until my mom died in 2017, a respectable 58 years. Let’s just call it 60.

All those numbers and time warps aside…

It was a lovely oasis in the trees, mostly eucalyptus and pepper trees, in later years some coral trees were planted. Lots of bougainvillea.. on the trellis around the house, along the fences. The bouganvillea and the brick added red to an otherwise dark green that defined that neighborhood. The name of the street: Via La Selva, which translates to by way of the jungle. An apt name, indeed.

Family homes have rich family histories, more than a few dramas, decades of memories. No exception here. I’m grateful for the anchor this home provided.. a place where we all grew up, a place we could always go back to, a place my mom remained in until her death. Awkward and sad as it was, I was grateful all four of us were on hand to divide the spoils. It was really something to walk from room to room with my brothers on the day following her memorial service — held in our home — and choose the things that were most meaningful to us. Surprisingly, gratefully un-contentious.

This painting was done by our neighbor and Chris’s neighborhood pal David Charlton. It hung in the family room, right next to the beautiful round table where we ate (played games, etc). I mighta wanted it, but felt like it was more appropriate for Chris to have it (he also claimed that table!). The painting currently hangs in Chris’s kitchen. It’s a wee out of proportion, but I find it totally charming and mostly accurate. I’m glad his rendering exists! Thank you, David.


And now I’ve gone down the rabbit hole!

Went back into the archives to find a picture or two of the front yard as it appears in the painting (I know I have a bunch, but didn’t want to spend the time it would take to put my finger on just the right one, in a collection of 80,000 photos, marginally, at best, organized). Didn’t find that, but found a bunch of photos that show a bit of life around the round table, and otherwise..

This is a corner of the house, appearing as you walk up to the front door. You can see that David’s walk up is longer..

You can quite tell, but this on the front lawn and is a photo of our family of five, mom might have been pregnant with Matt. It’s Chris’s second birthday, obvs, and I’m 5 years old.

As a juxtaposition, this is standing on the same spot as the shot above, the day we moved everything out of the house and we are sad, but trying to make the best of it… Chris is 58 ish and I’m 61.

How about some shots around the family room table? This is two months before mom died. She made dinner, “mom’s chicken.” We all do a version of it, none as good as hers.

The first one is exactly one month before she died. Lots of gin rummy played around that table!

A nice mom pic… in October 2016 (about five months before she died). And I stand corrected! David painting hung in the kitchen next to the stove.. you can see it there over mom’s right shoulder.

Let’s see.. this is the dining room.. and a few different gatherings over the years…

The view of the patio out of the kitchen window..

A nice view of the family room..

Including this one because it speaks to me of comfort and joy. Mostly satiation. The family room couch was easy to sink into, hard to get out of. I wish I could put my hands on one of Jim sleeping on it… it was his favorite place to snooze in that house.

A kitchen shot. I have better that show the kitchen, but I like this. (NTS: What were you thinking with that shirt?! Find a new home for it, stat.)

Here’s one from 2015 when we were heading down to La Jolla for Jim’s dad’s 90th birthday. We stopped into PV to say hello. Jay happened to be in town. Mostly.. a front yard shot.

Here we are on move-out day… Matt had rented a truck to first haul stuff up to Chris’s apartment, then to re-load and haul stuff down to Matt and Michael’s. Jay filled a POD with his items, and Jim, Betsy and I packed everything I was taking into, and on top of, our Honda. Jim got a photo of his rig somewhere along I-5. He drove the car back to Davis; I would fly some days later after closing up the house.

Again.. sad day. But productive, smooth, efficient and memorable.

Will close this look back on the family home with this one… mom and dad sitting on the hearth… a common place for family photos. I really needed to get one of dad in there, blurry as it is. I like to remember them in their chummier, more affectionate times. They did have them…

And that is the end of today’s rabbit hole into the abyss that is my photo library!

The main attraction at tonight’s dinner was mahi-mahi tacos, which came out pretty tasty (thanks, Jim!). Dessert was a cherry pie that I bought at the Coop, which underwent a bit of drama when, handing it off to Jim, he accidentally jolted due to stepping on something hard, which resulted in the pie flipping over and falling to the ground, which made us both crack up, thinking we’d turned our cherry pie into cherry cobbler, but it turned out fine and mostly intact!

But I’m posting pictures instead of a couple other dishes I made…

First, was this cuisine-bending salad. Cuisine-bending, as in: an asian chopped salad hardly goes with Mexican fish tacos! But it’s what I wanted to make.

Chopped into tiny bits: cabbage, kale, cucumbers, red bell peppers, cilantro. Served with a dressing of: ginger, garlic, mayo, rice vinegar, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Topped with sesame seeds (added subsequent to this photo).

Next time, if there is a next time: more pow. More ginger, more salt, more sesame. Something. It just died upon entering your mouth. All I could really taste was the cabbage and kale. Maybe overnight in the fridge getting all meldy will help. We’ll see.

And then there was this: Nordic Nut Bread. It was not for dinner, but I made it this evening, as well. Super easy:

Two cups of nuts (pistachios, pecans, almonds and I may have tossed some peanuts in, as well). Plus three cups of seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia, flax).

To these you add five eggs, 1/3 c olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s it. Put it in a parchment-lined loaf pan and bake at 325 for an hour-ish.

I cut it up to fit into a tupperware box. Here’s a closeup:

I made this once before (and have already blogged about it!), but felt it was worth posting again. It’s just an amazing bread. And so healthy!!

Layers of Lovely

March 3, 2023

This was the sky above the Davis Food Coop a couple of weeks ago.

It kind of took my breath away as I walked out to get in my car.

There’s Always Beauty

March 2, 2023

Right? I honestly do not have to work at this.. I don’t ever have to remind myself to see the beauty all around us. I’m not sappy about it, I just am always seeing it. I don’t mean to say others don’t — I hope everyone does, and expect most do.

I’m always feeling like snapping a pic of this and that. Because honest to god, it is just one big work of art out there.

These are not award winning (they’re not meant to be), but represent a few lovely (or interesting) shots on the day.

I met Jennifer for a late afternoon walk. We started at Muir Commons and made our way over to Emerson. She needed to walk her two dogs, Cooper and Cuddles. This is Cooper snooping around a tree near the Emerson track.

As I was driving home, caught a bit of a nice sunset… and felt envious, for the millionth time, of those who have a view of the horizon from wherever they might live. I do wish we could see more sky from our windows at home.. but our tradeoff was to live downtown, among the trees… which affords zero view of any horizon in any direction. Waah.

This is at the corner of Denali and Road 31, looking toward the Berryessa Gap. Ahhhhh.

And just for fun….. any guesses?

I stopped to get gas and wash my car on the way home… I’m now getting blow dried.

A California Winter…

March 1, 2023

… for the record books.

None of these is mine. (Man, I hate that construction.. can I just say none of these ARE mine, please?) (I just looked it up, and INDEED, I can and should use ARE. It’s the difference between not ONE of these is mine, or not ANY of these are mine. Get it?) (We return to our regular programming.)

Where was I?

It’s been a record breaking year for rain and snow, and it’s not over yet. And, glory be, the precipitation has been spread out over enough days that we are actually able to make use of most of it, which will def help our parched state. Yay for that. We can all heave a big sigh of relief. . One less thing to fret about.

These are just a few of the pictures folks have posted in recent days. I’ve captured them for my own archives, because they are just so amazing!

This is LA and a lot of the South Bay (Redondo Beach Pier, Esplanade, the stacks outside of the Blue Water Grill, LAX!) a few days ago, but gosh, that snow!

This is a shot of Ventura:

And this is up at Sugar Bowl:

Spice of Life

February 28, 2023

I chose a recipe for tonight based on ingredients I had on hand, and wow was it good! It was my first Christopher Kimball recipe, which I debuted in 2020 — the year of my return to the kitchen. (Pandemic? Nothing else to do? If not now, when?)

I think he called it “Roasted Chicken with Tomatoes and Herbs” or somesuch. Chris Kimball recipes are known for their intense flavor, and this was no exception.

You start by putting into an oven-proof pan: red onions, tomato, garlic, olive oil, herbs (he calls for fresh oregano and rosemary, both of which I have, but it was raining and I didn’t want to get wet/muddy, so I used a big handful of dry Italian spice blend), salt and pepper. Toss that all together, then add chicken broth and wine and push the whole concoction to the perimeter. Then you salt and pepper some chicken (I used b/s thighs) and add them to the center of the pan, stick it in the oven and bake for 40 minutes at 450. At the end of the roasting part, there’s supposed to be a lot of liquid in the pot that you are then to reduce, but in the three times I’ve made this dish, there has been no liquid at the end of the roasting part, not sure why. Still, I put the pan on the stove as directed–removing the chicken first–added some lemon juice and more olive oil and warmed and whisked all that together. This is one intense sauce! You add the chicken back and serve (over rice in our case). Hoo boy, it’s good. And easy to make.

A couple shots.

This is the onion, tomato, garlic, s/p, herbs and oil:

And this is the finished product over brown basmati, with broccolini, and some Sonoma-Cutrer chardonnay (since it was the only wine I had and needed to be opened and used as cooking wine).

Yes, ma’am! Won’t wait three years to make this again.

Humor Me

February 28, 2023

When ants invade….

I’m tellin’ ya: I’m outa patience on this ant thing. Out of patience, unamused, so over it, at my wits end.

The rains in the last few days have brought the ants back with a vengeance.. they’re in all their old haunts, and have discovered a few new ones. I’m overwhelmed, bordering on despair, and very tired of our soapy water solution (which drowns the ants but doesn’t eliminate them). I swore, yelled and said some very nasty things to the ants in the laundry room tonight, then I marched into Jim’s office and made my petulant little announcement that I’m not going to clean them up anymore. I’m done being nice to the ant race, I want poison in the form of a professional service that will come out and take care of my problem in exchange for money, and at the expense of the environment and animalkind. I don’t care anymore. Jim–Mr Sensible, Mr This Doesn’t Bother Me, Mr Patience for all things–assures me they will go away when Northern California finally dries up, and in the meantime, he’ll reposition the environmentally-approved, colony-killer pods we spent a lot of money on (which should–but don’t seem to–work) to some more strategic and, importantly, dry locations around our perimeter, including one at the front door. Maybe this time, it’ll work! It’s been my observation, however, that the ants don’t come in through doors and windows. They simply, mysteriously, materialize in random places, seemingly through walls and through floors.

Actually, I don’t wanna talk about this anymore. I’m too frustrated. I’m going to bed and letting the ants do their ant thing while we sleep in a so-far untouched-by-ants bedroom. I just don’t have a blog in me.


So, instead, how about some cranky humor? This has nothing whatsoever to do with ants, but it kind of checks off the cranky box!

Good night!


February 26, 2023

I’m pretty impressed with my point-and-shoot nighttime photography. Thank you iPhone camera technology. You do me proud.

We exited the Odd Fellows Hall last night (after seeing The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming)…. and the sky was mostly clear, the air crispy cold.

Check out the stars!

I particularly like the brightness of our current calendula bloom. The Poppies are Coming, the Poppies are Coming!