Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What I believe

You might wonder why I'm not more vocal about the upcoming presidential campaign, to be honest, I'm quite tired of everything and we have not even got to the convention. Way too much press for everything they do and we have to listen to more until November. Oh when it gets closer I will start talking about registering to vote and hope all my friends encourage anyone they know to do the same and I do have an Obama placard in my front window, thanks to my daughter but you could drive yourself plum crazy if you followed every breath and fart the media thinks is news.

Now who I'd like to see more of in the coming months is Michelle Obama. This is one tough cookie and I say that with the utmost respect. She seems very real to me. Time will tell with anyone, I just hope she doesn't disappoint, we so need someone to look up to these days.

Now, has he made mistakes? You bet he has but compared to the current administration of untrained monkeys he looks pretty damn good. As soon as they are out of office I'll quit comparing them to monkeys; it's so insults the monkay.

And while were at it, Screw Fox News and the New Yorker. I know, NY's cover was satire but I know people who think this is true. I'm very sad to say they know Obama is Muslim and a terrorist. You are kidding, right?

Listen, I'm gonna vote for Obama, period. Does he answer all my needs? Probably not but he's the best thing out there and we need a change. Will it actually make a change in the way we live? Probably not. If I were a dreamer I'd say by next January we'd be out of Iraq, have health care program for everyone, and could thumb our collective noses at foreign oil. If I just get one of those, Santa, I promise to be a very good girl.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Steve, eat a sandwich

It would be safe to say I am an Apple fan. I like them baked or raw and I'm especially fond of them in pies. The computer company? Yeah, I like them too. I've always held Apple close to my heart and don't own a iPhone because I can't justify the cost but damn, I'd love one.

What I can't understand is how Steve Jobs health can rock the stock. There is so much talk about him being ill; he does look painfully thin. People are afraid the company would go to hell in a hand basket if he died tomorrow? Are you kidding? My son-outlaw did remind me yesterday of what happened when Steve left Apple before but I still have faith in this company. Apple is much more than Steve Jobs and though they haven't talked about a successor publicly, how could a huge company like that NOT have something planned. This isn't their first rodeo, folks.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Update from the battle front

A very nice repair man came and got the buzz back but said we needed the cable from the box to our house replaced. His quick fix was just that, quick and would not hold us for very long. There will be some static on the line but at least I'll be able to make calls. I listened and it's less than the usual static. I'm hoping to hear from someone today or Monday.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And the war rages on

For about twenty years I've had an on and off battle with our phone service. First it was Pacific Bell, then SBC and now AT&T. Like most wars, no one wins; it just becomes a stalemate. Our neighborhood was built in the 60s and when the phone lines were put underground, something novel at the the time, I think they used something cheap as we've had many years of problems.

It usually starts with static on the line that I can hear then it progresses to static that keeps both from hearing the conversation. Sort of negates the whole purpose of a telephone, I know but since it takes an act of congress to get it fixed I tend to overlook most of the static. It's rather become my signature I believe. With the popularity of cell phones I've not even used the "land line" all that much lately and last night it rolled over and died. Completely. No buzz. Maybe it felt lonely. Unloved.

The phone company now wants you to test all your equipment yourself before you holler for help, which we did, and nope it just won't buzz. And it seems like it won't even think of buzzing until Saturday morning between eight a.m. and noon. Geeze, I'm almost missing the static.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesdays with Moon: Café du Rat Mort

While walking through a parking lot by a local Mexican restaurant I noticed a dead rat. He was a fat, ugly, brown rat and didn't look as if he were hit by a car but dead none the less. Let me add, I don't like this restaurant and if I were to create a scenario it would be: the rat ate there, was ignored by the wait-staff, and dragged his body outside where he expired. Since I saw none of this we'll just have to suppose.

On to the next death. On the same day, while walking in my neighborhood, at the foot of a small retaining wall I saw a dead mouse. I did examine this closer, because Disney has done such a good job; mice are much easier to look at, and he looked as if he'd fallen and died of a broken neck because his head was at such an unnatural angle with a little pool of blood coming out his ear. Other than his death he looked rather healthy.

These were two observations. I can't say the last time I've seen a dead rodent in town but to find two on the same day was creepy, to say the least.

Editor's note: Café du Rat Mort was a real café in Montmarte frequented by artists in the mid-to-late-18oos.

Monday, July 21, 2008

No more calls, we have a winner!

Great new! My sister, one third of the Peanut Butter Etouffee food blog, won the recipe contest this month in Cook's Country magazine. You can read all about it on PBE.

We are all very proud of her.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Multi, the on-top dog

Lil bird's dog, Multi doesn't care where he sits as long as it's on top of you. This is fine in the winter but the summer can be a challenge. If you crave some sort of contact then he's the dog for you. I've thought he should be one of those dogs you take into hospitals and nursing homes: Dog for Rent.

Editor's note: I thought I'd done a good job on the eyes but evidently didn't. It was such a cute snap I hated not to use it. I apologize to no one other than Multi.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thinking of an addition?

Train tracks slice through industrial areas most of the time but on occasion there will be a house or two visible from my window as I head downtown Los Angeles. I have to wonder which was there first and it's hard to determine in some areas. Did the land owner hold out hoping to get more money from the railroad or did they purchase the land for a song?

In any case there are some challenging neighborhoods in Los Angeles. None so creative as a property I saw somewhere between Glendale and Burbank. In a fairly tidy lot was an old California Mission style bungalow probably built somewhere around the early '30s. A typical stucco structure, vaguely Moorish, with red tile roof. Its current color was more of a Curry meets Mustard than the original pale yellow or warm cream but I'm sure in ten or twenty years it will fade to something less blinding. That in its self was remarkable enough but what was parked on the same lot really made be sit up and take notice.

Steel shipping containers, the kind you see loaded on rail cars and ships, are now sold to the public though I can't say I've ever had the need, nor the space, for a huge steel box with a lock. And evidently you can add windows and door and paint them any color you wish because parked next to this house was a 20 footer painted the same bilious yellow complete with its own window and a door. Now the nice touch is they painted the top of the box to match the red tile on the bungalow. I seem to find a surprise every time I travel to LA.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesdays with Moon

This was an official No Gas Tuesday but last Monday could almost qualify. That day I walked about three miles the got on the bus to come home. It's way too hot to be hoofin' to far around here. I did eventually drive my car but only a short distance to the market. Tuesday, I was true to my challenge and ran a few errands sans the automobile. I must be diligent as I was reminded by one of my neighbors she reads my blog and I'd hate to get caught. Plus, I try to be true to myself, if nothing else.

Anyone who's been to a Panera Bread Cafe knows why I want to walk there. Man, there's a bunch of calories just lurking inside and since it's only about three miles it is within my range. The morning was still cool so I decided instead of getting the bus at the corner I'd walk. It was a very pleasant morning and, though I thought it was nice, I never saw another person walking until I got to the shopping area. Shame. They, the general lazy-ass public, don't know what they're missing. It's so easy to be snide when you are actually doing something physical--for a change.

Only about a block away from the house and I realized neglecting my hat was a big mistake. I get tired of the baseball cap but if I don't wear something I usually burn my scalp. My hair is short to begin with and of late is getting a little thin on top. What I need is a little brimless cap to wear but don't think it's proper for a woman to wear a yamaka. Mervyn's and Target had nothing so I headed on to Panera's for a yummy Asiago cheese bagel, ice tea and the morning paper. Life is great when you have time.

The rest of the trip was quite uneventful, did some shopping, only one bag to carry back, and then caught the bus home. I relish the last leg of my trip as the bus is air-conditioned and never crowded and usually someone to chat with. This day I met a young woman with halting English but a desire to communicate. She had a need to practice her English. With my very limited Spanish we accomplished a conversation. She cleans houses, has two boys and is from Guatemala and before her stop neatly wrote her name and phone number on a little slip of paper in case I'd need her services. I love this country.

Our ancestors came from other countries, Scot/Irish and Spanish/Maltese, and I'm sure there was a time in their lives when they thought it better to leave their native country and make a better life for their families knowing how difficult that would be. I always wonder if I'd have the guts to do just that. Would you?

Getting help from a billionaire

This is interesting. A Texas Oil Billionaire, not running for office, wants to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. All the current administration wants to do is lift the ban of offshore oil drilling. Yeah, like we need more of that. We need to get off oil, foreign or domestic and find an alternative. This is a creative country why can't we spend some money on technologies that would do that?

In the coming weeks I'll be watching what ol' T.Boone has in store for a solution. You might want to take a look, too.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Boring guy even puts dogs to sleep

This is amazing.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Water off a duck's back

The Metrolink trains have a fun little arrangement for seating; two facing two. So you are forced to sit and look at two other people or bring a book, computer, or newspaper to keep you otherwise occupied. I was deep into reading my new book this week when Mr D-troit City literally dropped into the seat next to me. I have this magnet.

We picked up this obnoxious soul at the last stop. He just flew in and as luck would have it, his not mine, he was going to all the way to my stop. I tried to be ever so nice, I really did. We'd only gone two stops when he'd already insulted women, and the Japanese and was almost finished with his third joke when I told him, with a glare that could freeze water, it was his last.

Changing the subject I asked if he were on vacation. God, I prayed he was. Who wants this moron in the state permanently. He was going to visit "his girl" and called her to let her know he was closely approaching their rendezvous. I then started praying this woman was blind and deaf. Us sisters need to stick together. Should I meet her at the platform and bitch slap some sense into her? Or, maybe she was getting her Karma straightened our for a past sin.

When he told me he needed to ask me something that might make him look stupid I told him how on earth could I think less of him than I already do. Never phased him though the woman behind us laughed out loud. I was sure she'd been entertained by this baboon since he plopped down. He noticed some empty seats and asked should he move and I told him yes because this was my stop and since the train only stops for a few moments the thought of riding with him any further made me want to find a sharp object with which to take my life.

Mr D-troit City was insufferable but I only had to spend a half hour with him think of his lady friend. Now I know why animals, caught in a trap, chew off their own leg.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Camera captures the past

We didn't take any photos when we adopted Buddy, our wire-haired terrorist but this snap really tells his story. Lil Bird found him at a local pet store adoption day and I believe this was what he was doing. Little did we know.

Honestly, Buddy has turned out to be a great friend and we wouldn't know what to do without him.

see more dog pictures

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Hey, wipe your footprint

Some people wonder why I complain about oil prices since I drive a hybrid and get a solid 40 MPG in the summer; better when I don't need the air-conditioning. Yes, when you only fill up every two weeks it does insulate you from the near $5 a gallon but driving the Cushman (our little nickname for the Honda and you'd have to have driven one to understand why) doesn't help the delivery costs for everything we consume.

The Cafe of the Getty Center has started something quite interesting. It's called a Low Carbon Diet. This is a committed program by Bon Appétit, a nationwide food management group to lower their carbon footprint. Basically they are will be buying local and reducing the amount of waste. This Palo Alto, CA company has over 400 cafes in 28 states, usually large companies and Universities.

Here are their kitchen principles:
The following food standards have been created for the well being of our guests:
  • Menus are written based on seasonality and availability of regional fresh product. Whenever possible, these are produced locally using sustainable and organic practices
  • Turkey breast and chicken are produced without the routine use of antibiotics as a feed additive
  • Hamburgers are made with fresh ground chuck from beef raised on vegetarian feed without antibiotics or hormones
  • Other meats are raised without antibiotics as a first preference
  • Milk is free of antibiotics and artificial Bovine Growth Hormone as available
  • Shell eggs are produced cage-free and Certified Humane
  • Vegetarian options are plentiful at every meal
  • Healthy menu items are a mainstream offering throughout our cafés
  • Salsas, pizza, marinara and other sauces are made from scratch
  • Stocks are made from scratch, the day before use to ensure the removal of fats
  • Turkey and beef are roasted in-house daily for deli meat
  • Tuna is dolphin-safe, packed in water
  • Seafood should be purchased fresh when available locally. Salmon is wild caught. We support the Seafood Watch guidelines as recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Olive and canola oils are used for everyday salad dressings, specialty oils for other purposes (i.e. walnut oil or chili oil)
  • Trans fats are not used in our kitchens
  • All salad dressings are made from scratch. Nonfat and low-calorie dressings may be purchased as necessary
  • Vegetables are prepared in batches at the last possible minute and served in the smallest possible batches
  • MSG and peanut oil are never used in the preparation of our food
  • Mashed potatoes are made from fresh potatoes
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice is used for cooking and sauces
  • Cookies, muffins and breads (where possible) are baked fresh daily
Tired of feeling like you can't do anything? Here's a great way to get started in your own kitchen, What you can do. I also love their Top Five Low Carbon Diet Tips and a cool little search page for local, sustainable food in your area. Eat Well Guide. And finally, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has a pocket seafood guide so you know what fish is ocean-friendly and safe to eat. Don't forget to ask restaurants where their seafood was caught or raised and don't buy seafood that has to be flown in buy frozen when caught. Shipping fish uses less energy than flying it into your market, fresh-caught. If you can't see the ocean don't buy fresh-caught.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Mi Doyers

Ever since Vegas I feel like I'm on vacation. Not cooking much so that means not posting on the food blog. Not really doing much of anything. I'm still dealing with a bum elbow so resting it is utmost these days. I do the minimal amount of cleaning; just enough to keep the health department at bay. That leave watching TV which has become a favorite now that the temp hovers around the triple digits.

Neither my beloved or I favor much regular TV but with Tivo, (or what we call, what did we do before this?) we can watch the few things we like. The Dodgers are pretty high on that list right now and as we slide headfirst into the All-Star break they are in a battle for first place. Hopefully the break will give everyone a rest and maybe a little batting practice. Ethier can only do so much and let's face it, the old man, Kent is getting more fragile each game. He still is a force to be reckoned with; let's hear it for the old guys.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Fire in the sky causes problems for all of us

Happy Fourth of July. Always a fun day but filled with some angst for me. One, the doggies; they do hate all the noise and two, the fireworks. Someone gets hurt because when you combine fire and things that go boom with the inevitable consumption of alcohol you've got problems.

Now I'm not saying we don't set off a pretty spectacular display ourselves but we get the safe and sane varieties legal in the county ( just not our city) and safety is of the utmost importance. We hose down the cement area next to the pool, have water and fire extinguishers at the ready and only one responsible person lights off the fireworks. It's been a tradition but we won't this year. The Arnold our Gov wants a crackdown on fireworks so our little city will fall in step with some pretty stiff fines. You can understand why, just go on YouTube and search "fireworks accidents", such a bunch of idiots in this country. Thanks for ruining it for us.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Tuesdays with Moon

Today was a very busy day to be without a car. To make an 8:00 a.m. physical therapy appointment I needed to leave the house by 7:15. I was wonderfully cool and I almost hated getting on the bus but I knew if I walked the three miles by the time I got there I'd be a sweaty mess and I had other things to do afterwards.

My former watercolor teacher called me a few weeks ago and asked me to join a class she was starting on the first. I planned to just go and register and not paint; I'd drag my materials next week. When I got there late, because of my other errands, I found she isn't teaching a class and there weren't any other students. She is a bit on the flaky side and must have forgotten who she'd called. This didn't surprise me but did disappoint me. I was looking for a kick in the butt to get back into painting and now I've got to motivate myself which won't happen because I've got my hands full just keeping on track with "no gas Tuesdays"!

Babylon, where the whores are.

Vegas proved to be very entertaining. We never saw one show except for the traveling performance of the Human Comedy. God, it's a great place to people watch. If I only post what went on last weekend I'd have material for the rest of the year.
  1. It was pride weekend so we weren't the only women staying together
  2. Sure, I'll have another
  3. Fast food with a Daiquiri Bar
  4. Is vomit in the pool considered a party foul?
  5. Why is it light outside?
It had been six years since the four of us all got together and we had so much to talk about we never had time to drink or gamble, or get into trouble.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.