Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sunshine and Flowers vs. Cat-Hair Tumbleweeds

Our house in Hollywood is starting to feel like my neglected child. While his mom is out spending time with her new lover (Santa Ynez), he's all locked up and alone, with only the cats to keep him company. I'm hoping he doesn't start attracting sketchy friends and huffing glue when I'm not around.

The contrast between the two properties is starting to grow more and more apparent. I've shared some pictures of my favorite super girly bedroom in Santa Ynez before, but I thought I'd do a little update because I've added a few more touches (and I just like looking at pictures of her).

The room gets such great light in the early afternoon. I want to just
lie on the bed and read a book.

Although I painted the sliding closet doors, I left the wall cupboard and drawers yellow
because eventually we plan to rip them out to gain some extra space in the
neighboring bathroom. Why paint when you're going to demo, right?

This little stool was $5.99 at IKEA and I think it makes a great place to put
a phone or glass of water before bed. Mr. W was mad at me for spending money on it.
As if he doesn't drink $6 worth of wine and just pee it out every week...

Yet another beef Mr. W has had with me over the house: Too many new rugs.
Since we bought the house, I've purchased 3. But they make such a difference in
their rooms! This one was from RugsUSA. I think on sale...

The bicycle pillow is one of my favorite things in the room. I found it on Joss & Main
and with a discount I had, it only cost me about $10 before shipping. I just think
it's so quirky and cute. Totally makes me smile when I walk in the room.
It's like a little girl's paradise in there, right? My brother, sister-in-law and nieces went to stay at the house recently and apparently when the littlest one saw the room, she said, "It's beautiful in here." My sentiments exactly.

The Hollywood house, on the other hand...not so beautiful. Here are some shots of what it's been looking like lately:

Between the laundry from Santa Ynez and the clothes in my hamper, I had a good,
solid 4 loads to do yesterday. As you can see, Zoë doesn't mind the mess.

One of my favorite dumping spots for papers, cords, and the occasional
shark-fin-shaped ice cube tray...

Some of these are clean, some of them are dirty. The sink was so bad I
couldn't even take a picture of it. Good thing I'm husbandless right now.

This is just a tiny snapshot of the cat hair issue that pervades our house.
Or at least how it's been lately since I've been putting my vacuuming
efforts to work at a different locale.
I'm really looking forward to having only one house to take care of again. Hopefully I'll be able to keep it on the side of sunshine and cleanliness rather than clutter and tumbleweeds. That is, if the garden and chickens don't start dominating all of my tidying time...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Neighborly Common Decency Is Dead

The other night, one of my neighbors (who seems like he might be hopped up on something given how fast he talks) came pounding on my front door at 11:30 p.m. I would have been rattled by anyone coming to the door at that hour, but his furious knocking and loud announcement of his name nearly shot me off the couch into the ceiling. In addition to telling me our tenant had left her headlights on, he proceeded to talk almost unintelligibly, at top speed, the entire way down our front stairs and back across the street to his house. And it wasn't a whisper. I'm sure the rest of the cul de sac appreciated it immensely...

This was followed by last week's incident where our lower neighbor cut the hell out of one of our orange trees without asking. I walked down to get the mail and our poor little tree had been sliced in half. Apparently it's unclear whether the planter is on our property or his, but still, you'd think he'd have the decency to at least mention it before hacking it away.

Our Santa Ynez neighbors are pretty much the polar opposite.

When we were spreading gravel in part of our front yard, one of our neighbors drove over in his tractor to help us. The other neighbor reprogrammed our sprinklers for us when he noticed they were on all day. Countless others introduced themselves to us when we were first up at the house pulling weeds on a weekend.

It makes me wonder what kind of neighbors Mr. W and I really are.

I don't go out of my way to get to know my neighbors. Not so much because I don't want to but just because I'm not quite sure how to do it. Deliver a basket of muffins? Borrow a cup of sugar? I feel like it's too late for any of that in Hollywood now. I think it'll be easier in Santa Ynez. I think Mr. W and I will have some sort of block party when we move up permanently.

We were talking on the phone last night, and because it was our 2-year anniversary, I was reminiscing about last year's caveman outfits. For some reason, I said that we should wear them one day when we're doing yardwork at the new house—just to get some additional use out of them. Of course, we died laughing, playing out the various possibilities that went with that scenario. And Mr. W said the neighbors would probably just say, "Look at them. They're from LA..."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Culinary Tour of the Pacific Northwest

We were walking down the stairs on our way to Fisherman's Terminal in Seattle when my friend Foodie said, "Since it's your first time, you should really hold it in your mouth for a little while. Don't just swallow it right away."

I stopped in my tracks and told her that kind of instruction might sound really perverse taken out of context. 

But she was talking about oysters, and we were walking to happy hour at Elliot's to cross a very important to-do off my life list.

When I turned 30, a couple of girlfriends and I made lists of things we wanted to accomplish before we were 40. The only two I can remember now are "go to a topless beach" and "eat an oyster." So Foodie was helping me finally nip that one in the bud.

She told me I should use cocktail sauce since it was my first time. I definitely liked that better than the champagne-shallot ice she chose to put on hers. As directed, I held the little blob in my mouth before chewing and swallowing, and was surprised by how non-rubbery it was. It was sort of like the center of a pickle. It even tasted a little pickly to me. So I ate 4 more. 

Not sure I'll be ordering these from the menu ever again, but I'm very glad I tried them. I definitely feel more cultured now.

Our other culinary adventures included a trip to Homegrown to join Sizzle for lunch. What a treat! And I think I might have had the best ham sandwich I've ever eaten in my life there.

Foodie and I also hit up Pike Place Market to buy some fish—and she prepared the most delicious dinner for me that night. Lingcod, fresh asparagus and romanesco, cabbage salad with crispy pork belly. I felt like I had a pork belly by the time all was said and done.

Saturday, Mr. W drove down from Vancouver and we set out to wine taste in Woodinville. But first, Foodie took us to the Melrose Market to load up on picnic supplies. I think I could have stayed at the cheese counter there for days asking for samples. The weather was fantastic, and the patio at Chateau Ste Michelle winery was a perfect spot for our meal. Fortunately we didn't have any duck pate with us. I think we would have offended the locals...

Mr. W and I drove back to Vancouver Sunday morning, making a very important stop at Trader Joe's before crossing the border. That night, we met his best buddy and his fiance for some of the fanciest sushi I've ever seen. 

And it tasted even better than it looked.

My stay was capped off with a home-cooked meal I made for Mr. W last night after he got off work. Spaghetti sauce from scratch and a nice green salad followed by some frozen Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies. I think he was pretty happy to come home to a wife in the kitchen after his long day. 

He's supposed to fly down to LA for a last-minute meeting on Friday. Fingers crossed it doesn't fall through. I'm making some nice dinner reservations for Saturday night just to be safe...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


If you already read my other blog, I apologize for the redundancy. But if not, I'd love to know some of your perspectives on goal-setting. I'm sharing some confessions that don't seem very life-coachy. And although I've been struggling with the fact that I don't have defined goals right now, I think I've found a way around it. (Or I'm super skilled at rationalizing my unproductive behavior!)

Let me know what you think over at The Path to Wonderful.

Friday, March 1, 2013


I know Spring doesn't officially start for another few weeks, but when I looked out my bedroom window this week and saw pretty pink flowers popping on our peach (apricot?) tree, I felt like the season had already arrived.

There are other signs popping up around the yard, despite the fact that several of the trees are still bald. The fig tree is making an effort (this is a bad shot, but there's a little baby leaf coming from the branch in the foreground):

And the carrots are starting to work their way up out of the soil, even though they're not yet orange.

I wish the beets would catch up. I think last year I got only two beets from whatever we planted. And I can't quite remember when I picked them. But they were tasty with some goat cheese and honey.

Sadly, the broccoli got some sort of bugs. Aphids, maybe? So I had to lop off the stalks. I suppose I could cut the few little florets that have grown, but it seems sort of sad. Also sad that this plague supports my dad's disdain for broccoli—because it's a "bug" vegetable. I guess he's right...

On the upside, the lettuce is rockin'. I've had several salads made with backyard leaves. I do love to grocery shop right outside my back door. I can't wait until there are lots of crops (and eggs!) to be collected when we live in Santa Ynez permanently.

The same day I took all these pictures, I was passing by the sliding glass door of our house when a moving shape caught my eye. A coyote had made his way into our backyard. I scrambled to get the camera, and he crawled under the fence and into our neighbor's yard.

He's the fourth coyote I've seen around town since Christmas. One of my shaman friends (yes, I have more than one shaman friend, which I think is pretty damn cool) says coyotes represent trickster energy. They flip things around and rile things up. I watched this one go to the lawn area and roll around just like a domestic dog.

I couldn't help myself—I walked to the top tier of our garden and peered over the fence at the coyote. He looked up at me and I asked him what he was doing back there. He stared. I waved my arms up in the air to make myself look big and menacing. Then he got up and started walking in the direction of my fence.

Having recently watched a coyote climb over a 5 foot fence, I ran like the wind down the stairs and back to the safety of my dining room. I don't think my heart stopped pounding for about twenty minutes. I'm hoping he doesn't decide to try to come through our screen door and make a meal of my cats!