Thursday, May 24, 2007

one stupid thing

I usually don't do posts without proud am I that I knew that the blonde chick in the 'Looking Glass' in LOST was the same actress who accused Steve of rape in Bevery Hills 90210? (yeah...I know my "Bev Hills Niner"...yeah I do, baby, oh yes I do!)

The Negro Problem - yeah, that caught your eye, didn't it?

How much do I wish I live in NYC?

Okay, stupid question.

How much do I wish I lived in NYC so I could see Passing Strange, a musical at Public Theater by Stew? SO much so.

I finally finished reading the review my husband saved for me from Monday's NY Times. (yeah, that's how long it takes me to get around to things like that these days)

So...if you live in the vicinity of NYC - go see this thing. Where else do you hear lines like that go like this:

Dutch character with a fascination for 'the American Negro' asks, "So do you play jazz? Do you play blues?" Black character by the name of Youth answers, "Do you live in a windmill? Do you wear clog shoes?"

I've always loved his writing. I've always loved his music. Now a musical, an entire musical. I hope this thing comes back out West someday. Or, better yet, anyone wanna send me two plane tickets to the Big Apple for a night? If you ever have a chance to see him and his gal pal, Heidi, playing live... Do It! Makes me sad to think he probably won't be playing for a six buck covercharge eva again. Okay, time for me to put on all The Negro Problem + Stew albums and sing my lungs out...

She's in nostalgia's grip, twenty years shy of hip. Gonna be the final time you listen to the vinly and go off on how the president's gypped. To Disneyland in winter, to Disneyland in winter when everyone else is gone.

[and if you're still not convinced that this guy is the best singer/song writer out there, here's another LINK]

frumpy girl with the big shoes

Yesterday, after I confirmed a lunch meeting for today at the fancy schmancy La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, the first thing that occurred to me was - but I have no shoes! You see, I'm just not much of a shopper. My husband is the one with the shoe fetish. Me, I find a good pair and I stick with them through thick and thin. Take these big clunkers for example:

I don't know why it is that I have chosen to be that frumpy girl with the big shoes. But these babies got me through Europe, I wear them every time we travel. Because they're well worn, I never get blisters. Their thick Doc Martin soles get me through rain, sleet and snow. Where most girls have a little black dress for travel, I've got my big black shoes. Never leave home without 'em.

But as I was walking onto the Martha set, it occurred to me that the biggest regret I'd carry with me for the rest of my life was that I didn't get new shoes for the show. I guess I thought that I wanted to be comfortable. I figured no one was going to see my feet anyway - no one, that is, except for Ms. Martha. Why oh why didn't I buy new shoes? I'll forever be that grown woman with the clunky shoes. Business at the top, and then - hey, whoa, what's that you got on your feet?

Don't get me wrong, I still love my big shoes. A bit worn - black shoe polish always makes them look pretty again. But, each time I see Ms. Martha show off her very expensive, very fancy schmancy shoes on the show, I'll cringe. She's a shoe girl, I'm sure she saw my clunkers.

Oh, and last night I went out and bought a new pair of shoes.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

gutter water + other sources of inspiration

Here are some of the rocks I picked up on the beach. I love the swirls and colors. I ran them under the faucet because the colors look the way I saw them when I found them when they're wet. I've posted about these holey rocks before. People always ask what the holes are from. The only thing I can imagine is that little shellfish burrow in the sandrock and then piece break off, becoming smooth as they tumble in the waves. Any marine biologists out there who can confirm?

I especially love this orange/yellow rock with the greenish tints around each hole. This might have been the source of inspiration for a painting I started while on our beach trip. Has to be. It wasn't like I was thinking about it at the time ("hmm... I think I'll make a painting just like that groovy rock") - but looking at it and the painting again now, it seems so obvious. Inspiration comes in all forms, after all. As an Art History student in college, I loved learning all the potential sources of inspiration of the great masters. Like the influence of Japanese prints on the work of Vincent Van Gogh. Once things like that are pointed out to you, it's obvious. But influences like that are subtle enough so that they're not exactly carbon copies. The other example that comes to mind (and is completely silly in comparison to Van Gogh) is Andrae's "gutter water dress" on Project Runway season 2. You wouldn't think a picture of gutter water could inspire a beautiful gown. And you wouldn't know it was inspired by that unless someone told you. But once they did, it'd be obvious. [By the way, I hope another season of Project Runway comes out soon. Love that show more than I like to admit.]

Now if only I could find myself a quiet little moment to finish that painting. Maybe this afternoon if I'm lucky. Oh boy - I just looked over my shoulder to see Little Mr. Play-Doh Man using a cheese grater to shred his Play-Doh. How's that for inspiration? Oy vey! This is what I get whenever I try to carve out time - suffer the consequences. Maybe I'll just fix my cup of coffee first and let him enjoy his fun for a bit more before I take on the cleaning. Ha - he just said to me, "Don't look this way Mommy. Don't look this way!" Don't worry kid, I won't. Not for another five minutes, anyway.

Monday, May 21, 2007

jalama mama

Back from Jalama (pronounced 'Ha-Lama') Beach. (this post is going to be pretty photo-heavy) It's always nice to be back home, isn't it? But that's not to say that we didn't have a swell time. The kid, especially, had a ball. He was so depressed this morning to wake up here in his boring, sand-free abode.

Didn't do quite as much beach combing as I'd anticipated. The winds were mighty and fierce. Day-1 was gorgeous. First part of Day-2 was the same. Should have taken advantage of those hours. The wind came in and rattled the entire campground Day-3. One of our tents snapped and came down - fortunately we had my parents' trailer to huddle in on Day-4.

We did get in one long walk in, though. Love the rugged nature of the coastline once you get out of the heart of Southern California. Just look at what the waves and wind can do to the sandstone. So beautiful. I collected several pebbles with the most beautiful wind-swirled coloring. Great source of inspiration.

Jalama Beach is just off highway-1 once it splits from the 101. You follow a 14-mile long and windy road through farmlands, vineyards and rolling golden hills dotted with oak trees. I love that landscape. Those oak trees look like fluffy green clouds. With all that wind, the fog and clouds were pushed up to the mountain tops. I love the way that fog bank just lingers up there.

The wind makes for great sand dunes. The sand was so soft! We spent a little bit of time nestled into a dune. I had my own little zen garden thing going on - meditating as the sand fell between my fingers while I raked little mounds and valleys. But as I mentioned earlier, I didn't take advantage of those calm hours. Once the wind kicked in, it was miserable down there - sand blowing every which way.

The birds huddled together to wait out the wind storm. It was fascinating watching them. A gust would occasionally lift one or two birds up and they'd just glide with the wind. No way to fly against that force.

One of the trees in this photo didn't make it through the night. The wind took down a huge cypress tree, just missing a tent (not ours). Incredible how things like that happen, isn't it? An angel must have been there to just nudge that tree trunk a few inches from the tent, to stop it a foot short from hitting a car and keep it up long enough for all the campers to be safely tucked away. That same Jalama angel must have blown the now infamous stray beach ball our way. A beach ball my son became immediately attached to - only to be blown up the hill and into my dad's path on his bike ride miles away the next day. It is now our magical Jalama beach ball. Now it's time for this Jalama mama to take on the task of unloading the car. Oh joy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

hit the road

(sketches from my notebook)

Headed out to the beach. Looking forward to a little quiet, some wave watching and nightly star gazing. This time I've packed the sketch books and paints. This is the first time in a long time that I don't have anything packed to stitch. Just wasn't feeling it this time. This will be a trip for collecting shells, drawing and reading. (if the kids allow it, that is) There once was a time when the husband's bag was filled to the brim with books and mine was filled with projects. Now we just slip a little token book/project in there just in case there's a spare moment. Maybe in between sand castles and camp fires. So, this will be the last post for the week. Hopefully I'll have lots of pics to post next week though - if the sun comes out for some good photography.

Monday, May 14, 2007

very nutty

I love it when a recipe I try out for the first time works. Love it when we're all finally seated at a table for dinner. It was a very enjoyable Mother's Day. I found two good recipes from my two favorite cook books.

I love
Martha Stewart's
Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook and
Ruth Reichl's
The Gourmet Cookbook.

From Hors D'Oevres, there was a recipe for "Bisteeyas". Imagine the taste of chicken cooked with garlic, onion, turmeric and saffron inside a phyllo dough package along with raisins, cinnamon and almonds. Very tasty!

And for dessert, a strawberry treat without the shortcake. "Frangipane Tart" from Gourmet. All those strawberries layered on top of frangipane made from sugar, egg, butter and almonds. I think I'll forever insist on the combination of strawerries and almonds.

There were also teriyaki chicken and pineapple kabobs on the barbecue and pasta with a very simple, yet delicious, peanut sauce that I found on the SlimFast website, of all places. This meal was very potpourri - Moroccan appetizer, Hawaiian kabobs, Thai peanut sauce and Italian dessert. Very nutty. Almonds in the Bisteeyas and tart and peanuts in the pasta.

Here is the recipe for that simple peanut sauce (great in pasta, even better for dipping kabobs):

1 garlic clove, minced (I always use more - can't imagine that one is enough!)
1/2 t. fresh, minced ginger root
1 T. dry roasted peanuts, chopped
1 t. canola oil
2 T. chicken broth
1 T. peanut butter
1 T. soy sauce
2-1/2 t. brown sugar
1/2 T. white rice vinegar
1/8 t. chili powder

Saute garlic in canola oil for 1 minute, then add remaining ingredients. Continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until smooth, stirring continually. Remove from heat. For pasta dish, add green onions and carrots to cooked pasta along with peanut sauce.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

mother's day treat

I love planning for a dinner. I've invited my family over for Mother's Day. They all say, "you're a mother too - I don't want you to slave away on dinner." But this is a Mother's Day treat for me, to plan and prepare a nice dinner. My favorite thing is looking through all my recipe books, putting together the perfect combination of courses. Makes me feel like I'm preparing my meal for Top Chef. Oh, and coming up with a dessert. I'm thinking it must include strawberries, but not shortcake. I'm just not into the strawberry shortcake thing. Over done. Strawberry tart maybe?

Happy Mother's Day all you mamas.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I know I said this already, but man it feels like summer! I love it when the berries are in season and I don't have to feel guilty buying them because they're so incredibly reasonable. Strawberry and blackberry smoothies all week. And, if you can believe it (which I almost can't), the sourdough starter I talked about last month is still very well and bubbly and alive. Continuing to pump out whole wheat sour dough loaves. Nothing like a slice of toasted, homemade sourdough bread with strawberry jam. If I weren't stretched to find the time to tackle everything already on my long, long list, I'd add: make + can strawberry jam. In addition to the fact that there just isn't time for a big project like that, the house is too hot for me to have a big pot of bubbling jam simmering on the stovetop. Unfortunately, that seems like the kind of thing I'd love to do around the holidays, when all those big, plump, juicy strawberries aren't in season. It is seriously hot in these parts folks. Finally have a chance to dress the baby in a onesie - exposing those chubby little legs and toes. Ah, those precious toes.

Monday, May 07, 2007

to do or not to do

I was very excited to finally put together this design for postcards I'm having printed. Let's see... how long is it that I've been wanting to do this? Too long. Why, oh why, do I let things take this long to do? I've actually started jotting down things I need/want to do in a little notebook recently. As I go through my day, things pop out at me, like, I really need to touch up the paint on that base over there. Or ideas occur to me, like, I'd really like to make some postcards. So now I jot it down. Let's see if that helps me to get some of these things done. I'm hopeful.

The air has a feeling of summer. We've really got to kick Project Backyard into gear. Last night while I was grilling dinner outside, I looked up at the stars and thought about how nice it'd be to have some kind of lounge out here for lying back and gazing up at the stars. But first, we need some kind of nice place for a lounge chair. Time to break out the trace paper and start sketching up some plans. Those summer nights are just around the corner!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

is it just my imagination?

Like staring at the clouds...


This little guy keeps smiling at me each time I walk by the orchid.
Is it a bunny?
Is it a floppy-eared puppy?
It'll be kind of sad when this bud opens - sure the flower will be beautiful,
but how can I live without his sweet little face?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

dig it?

The onesies are here!

Finally had a chance to silkscreen my onesies. Sold out at BazBiz last December and just never got around to doing more. I'll be adding them to the site tonight or tomorrow. Today, however, instead of working on Out of the Box, I think I need to go work out in the dirt. Need a little break. Weather is nice, sky is's time to garden! Time to start thinking about Project Backyard '07 - that's what the husband and I like to call it anyway. With warm evenings coming up soon, it'd be nice to get the patio project we've been wanting to do since we moved into this place underway. I dream of the idea of sitting outside, throwing something on the grill and eating dinner as we watch the sunset. Besides, I've been promising the kid we'd garden soon. We even bought him his own little itty bitty garden gloves and spade. Plant some seeds and watch them grow!