May 29, 2009

I Can Has Teddy Bear...

because I has slain dee fee-rocious beast for you.

Love, Rylie

May 28, 2009

Patch Master

In the fall, we had gophers in our lawn. Although I never saw any in person, I bet they're really cute*. The doggies love to try to catch them too, not realizing they live underground. What's not so cute? The mounds of dirt and big gaping holes they leave in our lawn through their underground network.

So now that it's summer, I've finally decided to attempt to deal with the aftermath (spring just flew me by).

First I filled in the holes and leveled out the mounds. Then I dug up the ground a little since it's pretty compacted.

Then I sprinkled grass patch all over it (make sure the layer is not over a half inch in depth), and watered it thoroughly. I'll have to do this twice daily for the next couple of weeks.

I've got more areas that could use this treatment but I wanted to do a spot treatment here first to see if this will even work. Does anyone know if I should be doing something instead or addition to? Is it too late in the season for me to hope for success?

* Our gophers went away on their own, but maybe they are just seasonal residents here. We've been told that the only sure way to get rid of them involves a garden hose and a shovel. Disclaimer: I do not condone this method on the cute little creatures.

May 27, 2009

Eastern IHOP

A couple weeks ago, we were introduced to the world of Japanese pancakes (properly called Okonomiyaki) by our flyball friends Cindy and Wayne.

We went to Gaja in Torrance and arrived in style in their spiffy new Honda Element. We were the very first passengers to experience the new car smell so we've got bragging rights, at least over their dogs.

It's a casual cuisine, where you are served the ingredients in a bowl (meat is pre-cooked for you) and you cook your own pancakes on the griddle in front of you. I love food and getting to interact with it was totally my thing.

And afterwards, they took us to my favorite Japanese market, Nijiya. I got all kinds of goodies to take home in addition to my leftovers. And some much needed ingredients (a BIG bottle of soy sauce, and pickled leeks of course). It was a great way to kick off the weekend!

May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

This weekend marks my first year anniversary - with my motorcycle. Here's a pic of me on Saki right after getting her last year.

And here is she today:

I can honestly say I've been playing it safe.

May 23, 2009

Dishing the Dirt

If you have, or have access to one of the following:
  • dirt
  • grass
  • leaves
And you have in your dwelling one of the following:
  • patio
  • balcony
  • deck
  • yard
Then you should be composting.

Why? Reduces trash (which is less hassle for you, and your dear waste collector, and less to go into the landfills for poor Mother Earth), and oh yeah free fertilizer (ca-ching!). It's also fun in a science experiment sort of way. So if you're a nerd like me, this should be up there on your list of good times like a game of charades.

Sure you could buy one, or gather some lumber and make one. But here's an even easier way to do it: find, repurpose or get a decent sized bin with a lid. This was my old 'pantry' bucket that held non-perishable foods while we were cabinetless (bonus points if it's green, for going green).

Next, drill* holes in the bottom because composting requires oxygen, yo! Use whatever size drill bits, and do as many as you want, it is a free country.

Next, fill it with dried leaves, dirt, grass clippings, whatever you got (sorry that the pic is sideways, but just tilt your head, it's good to stretch your neck). I used dead creeping fig leaves because I hate them and want them to rot in... a bucket.

Next, throw in your food scraps and cover with more yard stuff. I threw in 2 dead plants I had, and instantly gained 2 hanging planters! This is already paying off.

Lastly, moisten the contents, cover and drill holes into the lid. Place somewhere outside (I put mine with the trash barrels) and always put a layer of yard stuff on top of your food scraps (no odors this way). Make sure the contents always remain slightly moist (but never soggy), turn with a pitchfork about once a week and in about 6 months (I think, I hope) you'll have some great stuff for your garden.

Things to keep in mind:
  • Composting is a fancy term for stuff rotting, so the smaller the bits the faster it will rot (IOW corn cobs will take a long time to decompose). If you don't care how long it takes, then just toss stuff in whole.
  • Tree branches and twigs seem like they would take a long time to decompose too. I'm just guessing, I don't really know for sure.
  • No dairy, bones, or meat products. It either takes a long time to decompose or doesn't at all, definitely will become stinky, and therefore attract critters.
  • Things like newspaper and cardboard rolls can go in, but it's best to shred them. Nothing glossy, nothing colored because that means finishes and inks and such.
  • No chemically treated greens. So if pesticides were used on your garden or grass, keep those out!
  • No poop. Keep your pet waste out, it carries germs folks. And any other poop, ew I know what you were thinking and if you were considering adding it, you've got issues.
Sidenote: Ryobi drill bits suck. It broke during this process. Totally lame, come on drilling through plastic.

Ok go make some dirt!

May 21, 2009

Electric Feel

After changing out the last of the light switches downstairs, I learned the hard way about 3 way switches (usually found in a hallway or stairway where switches in 2 locations control the same source). I had a slight feeling that the single pole switches may not work but thought I'd give it a try. What's the worst that can happen, I blow the switch? Blow a circuit? Shock myself? Burn the house down?
Rest assured, none of those things occurred. Although to be honest, I was a little scared to turn the breaker back on (I remained outside with the dogs for a good 10 minutes after turning power back on with my cell phone in hand ready to call the fire dept). And while power was off, internet was off. At this time I called Jesse at work to ask theoretically of course, what would happen if I left a live wire hanging? You know, just curious and all. Aren't you?

Well don't try it. I ended up putting a nut over it to cap it off. Anyway, after a trip to HD I got some 3 way switches to complete the job. And if you are just going by the pictures, it looks like I did it the easy way the first time.

Isn't that hot (in a non-live wire exposed kind of way)? Minimal with no screws in sight.

Timesaver: light switch electrical cables are 10 gauge, so they won't go into the little holes of the new switch, I tried for a long time. So you'll have to wrap them around the little screws and tighten (no shortcuts folks). Outlet wires on the other hand are 14 gauge, so those will. When dealing with electrical, make sure all connections are tight as can be, safety first!

Sidenote: the name of this post is homage to MGMT. Recommended music for house work when you are jacked up on caffeine. Try it.

May 20, 2009

Soffit Touch

Finally, some closure on the soffit color experiments, cause I know you've been dying to know.

I tested out Wheat Bread on one portion and lived with it for about a month. I thought it was ok but in the end decided against it because of the sheen. It was eggshell (therefore slightly reflective) and the rest of the ceiling was flat.

So back to flat white it went. The end.

May 18, 2009

Birds Eye View

This past Saturday we went to a Doves concert. These are all the photos that I got the whole night:



Although I show no proof, it was a great concert, impressive sounds and a great set list spanning 4 albums. And because we sat in the mezzanine, I enjoyed the absence of ringing post show. I wanted to enjoy the opening band because they were from New Hampshire, (remember my roots!) but sadly, it just was not possible.

I went with 3 audiophiles, including 1 who has become infamous for his inability to enjoy live music (no names will be mentioned however it rhymes with Lion Sucker), who dare I say appeared to be enjoying himself!

We started the evening off with Dave at our place, enjoyed some Two Buck* and some grilling, and finished the night with spending 30 minutes for some grub at IN-N-OUT, with sprinklings of an embarrassed chick vomiting in the lobby of the venue and awkward highschool prom goers in their braces-and-acne adolescent glory.

An interesting Saturday night for sure.

Sidenote: Wild Light if you are reading this, please no more tight white jeans (they look like long johns). And don't prance around on stage in them. Quite honestly, your music doesn't call for prancing. Perhaps a more appropriate career match could be found here.

*Dave if you are reading this, you have officially entered my inner circle. Along with anyone who comes over and insists on a glass of ol' Chucky.

Last Call

This morning I sealed off the last hole in our wall (the old phone jack). And I'll show you how to as well:

First, leave the phone off the hook. Why? Well since you asked, there is a little tiny bit of electricity running through the telephone wires which is no biggie, but if the phone rings then you might get a shocker. Since turning off the breakers won't do anything, I believe this is your only choice. If not, it's got to be the easiest.

Second, separate and strip the wires so that they are nice and tidy. I've got 8 wires, for 2 phone lines. We're only going to use 1 line so I'm going to seal off the extra wires.

Tip: phone wires are 20 gauge, so use the tiniest notch in your wire strippers. Hopefully that saved you some time. Like 7 seconds.

Second, screw the mounting bracket into the outlet junction box for the faceplate (keep in mind how you want the faceplate to be positioned, you probably don't want that on crooked):

Next, hook up your wires. They are color-coded for your wiring convenience.

Lastly, mount the face plate and test the sucker out. That's right hang up the other phone, plug it into your nifty new jack and pick up the phone. Dial tone = success. Silence = fail. And you'll only have yourself to blame.

Congrats, you probably saved yourself some money.

May 16, 2009

The Dark Side

This week I turned this:

To this:

Bright red was fun for a while. Especially in the loft apartment. And as much as I love Christmas, I hated seeing it next to the green couches. Do y'all like red or black better?

May 14, 2009

Tier Up

Last week I bought this for $5:

And then I did this to it:

But what to do with it now? I'm not even sure what it is. Send me your ideas please.

May 13, 2009

Kidding Around

A couple weeks ago I participated in a children's school carnival by doing a flyball demo with fellow team member, Helen (and of course the doggy Karma). I think the kids really enjoyed seeing the dogs run and trying* to beat them (they all failed, despite the major head starts and sans jumps).

After the demo, I got down to business being a kid. Jesse caught me just as I arrived back home:

What's the big deal, it's just an ordinary Friday afternoon. Is this not normal?

*Kids if you are reading this, here are some tips: run in a straight line ahead of you, try not to fall when you turn, and stop looking at the dogs when you are running. Also blink 3 times and click your heels together and you probably will win.

May 11, 2009

Porter's Send-off

Porter's vacation is drawing to an end. But there's still time to get in some more fun!

What do you want to do today, Porter?

Go to the grocery store?

Go to the toy store?

Go shopping for new threads?

Take over a kitty condo?

Try on some bunny ears and look ridiculously cute? Bingo. And Porter's definitely man enough to sport some pink.

May 10, 2009

Temp-Mother's Day with Porter (Part 2)

..Porter wouldn't settle for anything less than the real thing.

So we went to the beach.

Temp-Mother's Day with Porter (Part 1)

Porter definitely misses his mom on Mother's Day, but had a temp-mom as a stand in.

Starting the day off right with a big cup of designer coffee.

Then trying out some patio furniture...

These are all ok but... (to be continued)

May 9, 2009

Porter's Saturday Stroll

Today Porter went for a walk in his new neighborhood, and he feels right at home.

May 8, 2009

Porter's Casual Friday

Porter accomplished everything on his agenda for today:

1. Sleep in late / sunbathe (both achieved simultaneously)

2. Lounge by the doggy pool

3. Snuggle and nap with gal pal Karma

And it's only 1:30 in the afternoon. How does he do it?

May 7, 2009

Porter Takes a Trip to Our Second Home

Porter demanded a ride in the shopping cart.

He also insisted on finding a matching wood stain with the kitchen cabinets.

Overseeing our granite choice, which meets his approval (phew!).