Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Changing of the Guards

A major complaint folks have about living in Southern California is the lack of seasons.  It’s definitely winter here -December 2nd – but you would never know if you took a stroll through my garden.  Roses, gardenias and daisies are abloom, and the although the apricot tree leaves have changed color and are dropping like a sunshine snowfall, the high today was 79 degrees, definitely short sleeve & flip - flop weather.   

Having lived here for 45 years I have learned to recognize the changing seasons, not by the temperature, but by the fruit selection at Trader Jo’s. Good-by juicy peaches and hello tart apples. Growing up in Jersey I have wonderful memories of winter and the way it’s supposed to be: snowmen, hot chocolate, and wool clothes faintly smelling of sickly-sweet moth balls.  

I need my winter. So, despite the fact that I can wear my Old Navy cotton pj’s all year long, I have a long standing tradition of replacing my summer pj’s with my flannel pj’s. Only then can I say that winter has arrived.
Notice the rose on top of the pile of flannels? Just picked that from my garden. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Lipstick on a Pig

A real honest to goodness laundry room. Never had one. Never had the fun of decorating a laundry room with adorable signs and labeled baskets. Poor me, I know.  Our Washer/Dryer is relegated to the garage and although I love our house, I have always hated the dark and dingy cave where our Kenmore duo resides.
On my To Do One Day wish list was to make the spooky W/D corner a little less frightening. So, in honor of Halloween, last week I tackled this scary corner.
I agree with the porcine proverb, “If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.” so I wasn’t expecting miracles. However, what I wanted to do, build walls around the monstrous water heater, was not possible with my very small budget. Determined to tackle this eyesore I went to where the experts hang out – Pinterest – and found some budget friendly ideas to hide the scary water heater. Well, actually there weren’t many options, just two – a folding screen or fabric from a curtain rod.
As you can see in the above After photo (sorry not to post a Before photo but trust me, it would have frightened the bejesus out of you!)  I went with a lightweight screen with a NYC scene.  And, I was able to hang up a NYC sign.  It’s not the laundry room of my dreams but this piggy is wearing bright red lipstick and if I do say myself, it looks fabulous!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Day Two

I love the husband but he does have a few foibles. One thing that drives me certifiably nuts is that more often than not, he doesn’t notice things I change in the house. I usually play a “hot and cold” game with him by telling him that something is different and have him try and guess what I changed. I would say his success rate is somewhere about 50%.

After a major remodel the husband’s bathroom is done, except for a few minor accessories. Last month I purchased a small succulent from Trader Jo’s that was perfect on the husband’s counter top but alas, it (the plant, not the counter top) died a slow painful death and I had been searching for something that could take its place.

I normally don’t like plastic cactus plants but my sister has one that she purchased from Amazon Prime and it fooled me, so I took a chance and ordered one for the husband’s bathroom. I am thrilled how realistic it looks and best of all, nothing can kill it. So, two days ago I placed it on the husband’s counter top. My thought was that if he liked the cactus I would add a favorite photo of his in a rustic frame to balance out the counter.

Does he like it you ask???? Well, TWO days have passed and he hasn’t noticed there is a new occupant in his bathroom. How is that even possible? And in case you’re wondering, no, I am not going to tell him about the cactus. Just going to wait and see how long it takes him to notice. My guess, it will be another 2 days.

Question – does your significant other notice changes you make?

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Murder in the Garden

I have always been proud of my Green Thumb. Planting a seed and watching it grow is a spiritual experience for me and I have successfully grown everything from Artichokes to Zucchini. Over the last few years, because of the California water shortage, my gardening days faded like dried out plantings in the fall. However, this year my soul desperately needed reviving so I decided to plant a small garden of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and basil.

I bought two raised self-watering planters, organic soil and expensive organic plants from our local nursery instead of the big stores thinking I would have reap a larger crop. Exception was the seeds I purchased at the Dollar Tree. I actually bought two, peppers and basil, but the peppers never sprouted. Surprisingly the basil did well and I planted it with the other more expensive greens.

First mistake was that I planted the week of the big summer heat wave. We’re talking close to 110 in the San Fernando Valley. I watered both morning and night but the heat was too much for my seedlings and most perished.  I tried so hard and as I clipped dried up leaves from my brave baby plants, this atheist said a few prayers to the garden goddess.

Wish I could report that prayers worked. Not. The only plant that has thrived is the little basil plant. Go figure. Looks like we are going to have delicious Caprese salad this summer, curtesy of Whole Foods and Dollar Tree.  

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Cookie Monster

Every day, when my sisters and I got home from school, we were greeted with a glass of milk and a plate of store bought cookies. My mother stored the cookies in a large ceramic apple cookie jar that sat on our kitchen counter and I honestly don't remember it ever being empty. Cookies are still my favorite comfort food but are also my nemesis because I cannot be trusted with a bag of cookies. My absolute favorites are crisp ginger cookies, but I’ll eat any named brand bagged cookie. Honestly, if given a choice between a glass of fine wine or a cookie, hands down, I’ll take the cookie every time.
I love watching food videos on Youtube. I especially like Emmymadeinjapan. She is this adorable gal who tastes food for a living. She has amazing taste buds and can describe the experience of tasting food so expertly that you feel as if you are living in her mouth. She has tons of videos eating everything form exotic fruit to army food.

My current number one favorite food flavor is salted caramel. I adore it in/on anything – could honestly eat it on cardboard! When I heard that Oreos had limited edition salted caramel cookies I decided to do my best impression of Emmy.
Four cookies = 140 calories so I figured I could handle eating just 4 cookies a day as long as I went to the gym the day I eat the cookies. Without further ado…

First impression. The cookies are thin, never had or seen the thin version in person and they look a little weird. I miss regular Oreos. But, don’t judge a book or cookie by its cover.
First bite - UMMMMM?? Very disappointing. Barely taste the salted caramel but liked how crisp it is.  It’s very sweet…not impressed…think I might stop now and throw out the remaining cookies. Why waste calories on a cookie I don’t love? On second thought, since I did go to the gym this morning will force myself to try another cookie. UMMMMM, it’s a bit better. Still can’t taste any salt but I ’m getting used to it. Think I need to try another one…they get better the more you eat. Okay, 4 is my limit for the day. I like them but definitely don’t love them.

Was as I good as Emmy? NO! Were the Oreos as good as advertised? NO. Going to give these to the husband so that he can bring them to his co-workers. Me, I’m going to buy a bag of ginger snaps! What’s your favorite cookie?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Journey

I am forever a Jersey girl at heart and had been looking forward to seeing the film Paterson, which is both the main character's name and the  New Jersey city where the film takes place. Paterson is an independent film which received a 96% on Rotten Tomato and is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. The reviews that I read on Amazon - “Total Disappointment”, “Monotonic”, “Very Boring” and Pointless” are just a few of the comments from verified purchasers. 
I on the other hand loved this film, could be the best film I have seen all year, but I understand why so many misunderstood this film. There is no overt conflict. It’s not a story, but a portrait of a man experiencing the beauty of a simple life. And that can be boring in a society where life with the constant chatter of a cellphone is the opiate of the masses.

Paterson is also about dreams. We are brought up believing that our life, like a fictional fairy tale, will have a happily ever after ending. What this film reinforces is that it is not the ending, but the journey that brings us happiness. Paterson was more than just being a positive person, he was a man who could see joy in the everyday. He loved, went to work, observed the lives of folks without interacting and didn’t need more to be happy.
Makes me wonder how much I need to be happy. Yesterday I spent the day with my two sisters. We bonded over shopping and lunch. I lived as if I was Paterson and it was enough.

I understand this movie and I will take Paterson with me on my journey.

Monday, June 26, 2017

They Call Me Mellow Yellow

For as long as we have owned our house the front door had been painted a medium dark blue. Because it just blended in with the grey/blue house color, over the years I had tried to liven things up with colorful wreathes and lots of friendly flowers. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to help the bland curb appeal. A few weeks ago I happened upon an article on the internet about front door colors and their hidden meanings. “Blue front doors have a calming effect associated with stability and trust.” In other words - boring.

A reformed hippie, my email address is so this passionate gal decided to repaint our front door. In my search for the perfect front door color I found a quiz on HGTV where you answer a few simple questions and it will determine what color reflects your personality. Not too surprising this is the results of my quiz.

Your color is lemon!

You like your home to be bright, cheery and full of energy and this
perfect shade of yellow accomplishes all that and more.

I say not too surprising because my first car was yellow, my bedroom is painted yellow and I love yellow taxis. Further proof that yellow was the right color was that a yellow door says you are creative, have a positive attitude and are a morning person. YES. YES. YES.
What color is your front door?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Hot as H...

California’s 2017 rainy season (October 2016 – March 2017) was the 2nd wettest since scientists started recording weather over 122 years ago. It was a lot of water but it came with benefits, not only for umbrella manufacturers but more importantly for filling up the reservoirs up north. It's not surprising that The Old Farmers Almanac, which has been around for a whopping 325 years and holds the record for the oldest continuously published periodical in North America, also predicted a very wet season. 
Fast forward to June 2017 and Los Angeles’s newest breaking record blistering HEAT, and I’m not talking about the jalapeño peppers. Try 101 degrees in my backyard. Of course, I just planted my veggie garden and all my plants are barely clinging to life, despite being watered three times a day. Plus, I am in the midst of the husband’s bathroom remodel and yesterday was the tar on the shower floor day, which means the house smells like a roof. A very hot, stinky roof.

Things couldn’t get worse, right? Wrong. Our air conditioning stopped working. According to the Old Farmers Almanac today's weather is just a preview of what is to come. "Summer will be hotter than normal with the hottest periods early and mid to late July and mid August."
Figure my only way out is the mall, the movie theater or the gym. Unfortunately at this hour the only thing open is the gym so as soon as the contractors arrive I am out of here. Hope you have a cool, calm day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


There is a long standing debate among experts as to whether the fear of the number 13 is a phobia or a superstition. In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter what you call it since the fear, which has been around since medieval times, holds a legitimate role in our everyday life. According to Otis Elevators 85% of their elevators do not have a 13th floor button. Many airlines omit the 13th row and even some cities skip over 13th Street. Blame it all on Triskaidekaphobia.

The one place where the number 13 is considered lucky is in Italy. And lucky for me, the husband is 32% Italian. Last week we celebrated our 13th anniversary so I made a list of the 13 reasons why I love the husband - in no particular order.

1. He tells me I am beautiful
2. He is generous
3. He loves my daughter
4. He never kills bugs, even spiders
5. He makes me laugh
6. He irons his own shirts
7. He vacuums the house
8. He doesn’t complain when I don’t make dinner
9. He is proud of my accomplishments
10. He takes care of me when I am sick
11. He trusts me to make decisions for the two of us
12. He lets me park my car in the garage
13. He still buys me flowers

Marriages are hard work. Happy marriages are even harder. Here's to the next lucky 13 years!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Day 1

According to a recent survey, having His and Her bathrooms is one of the keys to a happy marriage. I agree 100%. I love my pretty butter yellow bathroom with its Victorian hexagon flooring and crystal vanity light. His bathroom is sage green and although not dogeared ugly, it is outdated.

Since the husband plans to retire by the end of the year we decided to do one last major house project and have His bathroom remodeled. I must say we debated long and hard whether to tackle this project but in the end, it’s the husband’s bathroom and his word of the day was YES!

It’s 5:30 AM and the demolition is set to begin at 8:00 AM.  WHY? That’s my word of the day. The house is already in chaos and my daily schedule for the next two weeks is in tatters. Have you ever remodeled a bathroom? If so, any words of advice?

Monday, June 12, 2017

A Belated Birthday Present

1946 was a memorable year, with such noticeable events as the debut in Paris of the Bikini and the introduction to the US consumer of Tupperware. It was also the year the microwave oven was invented by Percy L. Spencer, plus the year I entered the world on a cold early morning, courtesy of Mac and Dorothy.
In my lifetime I have owned an itsy bitsy teeny weeny green bikini and endless Tupperware containers but unlike 90% of Americans, I have never owned a microwave oven. Our kitchen actually had a space perfect to house one, but because wine is a more important commodity in our house, I had a wine rack built and until recently had never had regrets with my decision.

Ah, sweet retirement and the luxury of staying in bed binging on Netflix and drinking endless cups of once hot, now lukewarm coffee. I admit I had occasional thoughts of buying a microwave, but it wasn't until that fateful day a few weeks ago, when I removed a bowl of leftover cold vegetarian meatballs swimming in a congealed pool of tomato sauce that I was convinced that what I needed to make my lunch and life perfect was a microwave.
Lo and behold, let me introduce the newest member of our family - my new red microwave.  I admit I now find myself wondering why it took me so long to buy one. I love using it and I love the way it fits in perfectly with our black and white retro kitchen. Best of all I like to think of the microwave as a birthday present from Mr. Spencer, invented just for me to make my leftovers eatable.