Sep 30, 2009

Pho sure

I got a new camera. Actually it's secondhand, but still pretty new. So obviously what were one of the first things I photographed? Why food of course - specifically Vietnamese Pho. And out of courtesy, I waited until after lunch hour to post because these make me hungry.

So expect more food pics. And don't be surprised if this turns into a food blog.

Sep 29, 2009

Wine, Oh!

I've mentioned that we enjoy wine right? I mean we like the stuff. Love the stuff. And sadly, we've accumulated my former centerpiece ourselves. But rest assured, we're no wine snobs:

You are seeing correctly - that is an entire wine rack full of Charles Shaw. Because we buy it by the case.

Any good budget wine recommendations? We could use some variety!

Sep 28, 2009

The Hang of it

After finally hanging up some window coverings, several months later I've finally hung up some curtains to cozy up the look:

At this rate, they'll be hemmed around Christmas.

Do you have a home project that isn't that costly or time consuming but you've been dragging your feet on? Make me feel better and say yes.

Sep 25, 2009

In the Bag

There are certain things that tell a lot about someone. Their car, their shoes, their mama. Maybe it's the voyeur in me, but peeking inside someone's intimate things or places (fridge, pantry, medicine cabinets, garage) is truly fascinating. For men it's their wallet, for women it's their hand bag. So for all you peeping toms, here's a look inside mine:

Here is a break down of what I tote around:
  1. Canvas hand bag from Old Navy
  2. Pen from Schilke Music Products, Inc. (acquired from trade show)
  3. Trident Spearmint sugarless gum with xylitol
  4. Trader Johann's Spearmint Lip Balm
  5. Key ring with club member cards
  6. Garmin Nuvi 255 GPS inside an old sunglass case
  7. Motorola Krzr cell phone
  8. J. Crew leather magic wallet
  9. Receipt from Trader Joe's with Dr. Suess quote on back (see below for close up)
  10. Checkbook labeled "CHECKING"
  11. Change purse
  12. Old checkbook registry
  13. Grocery store coupons and grocery store list
  14. Kit Kat bar

What does this say about me, I want to know! Do I tote around the bare essentials? Am I missing something really important? Questions? Am I one of those people who write checks at the grocery store check out? Do I love spearmint? Do I love Kit Kats? I want to know your impressions!

Sep 24, 2009

Light Years Away

A while back we installed new outdoor light fixtures on our back patio. Here is the before* which were original to the house which was built in 1973 (that's 36 years ago!):

And here is the after:

We also installed dimmer switches for some nice ambient control. We picked these lamps up from Home Depot for a steal, and it looks way more modern than the previous ones. They're easy to install, just like any other light fixture.

Does it take at least 30 years off our home's age?

*These are actually our neighbor's light fixtures. I never snapped a pic of our old ones but they were exactly identical. You can tell that these are our neighbor's by the creeping fig remains.

Sep 22, 2009

By Accident or Design

I like this:

So I got it because I felt like it was a happy accident. A funny mistake. And somehow rare. Would you have done the same?

Sep 21, 2009

On the Side

Is Jesse moonlighting? More importantly, do I get royalties?

Ants in My...

Cabinets! My new cabinets. Grrr.

I have researched all safe, green, and chemical-free ways to kick these nomads out of our kitchen. I read about chalk, cinnamon sticks, clove, and decided my strategy would be to set up some bait that was laced with a little something extra. In other words: orange marmalade with borax.

The plan was for them to find it, bring it back to the nest and to the queen, and let all the other little worker ants know. Then boom, they should all keel over or at least get the hint not to come back:

My first attempt was too potent, so all the hundreds of ants appear to have died upon immediate consumption. But hours later, all the bodies were gone. Every single one. Did the healthy ants become pallbearers and carry all the cadavers away? Even digging them out of the sticky jelly? So I concluded that my bait was too potent and they were temporarily passed out. In other words: fail.

Here is attempt # 2:

This is not supposed to be instant so after several days the results will become apparent. But the problem appeared to be worsening instead of getting better. And I grew impatient with this tamer version of bait. In other words: I resorted to chemicals.

Do you think my strategy would have been a success? Was my fatal plan fatally flawed? Was I just too impatient? Do you have better tips? To use or not to use chemicals?

Sep 18, 2009

Great Ball of Fire

Rylie is a small border collie, but even though she is the younger pup, she is still bigger than Karma (sorry Karma but it's a fact). She does have big dog tendencies - like having a bottomless stomach and when she drinks water half the contents dribble out of her mouth and off her loooong tongue.

But a little known fact is that even though she is the big dog in our household by day, she turns into a popple by night:

She has the immaculate ability to roll herself into an in indistinguishable creature with a feathery tail and a random paw hanging out here and there:

This gives new meaning to fur ball, doncha think?

Sep 17, 2009

Dimmed Out

We recently went out for dim sum. And it was grrrrrrreat! Although it was a very small restaurant offering a small selection, it had enough to totally hit the spot:

I never know if this will contain sweet soft taro filling or pork. And I sort of like that the sweet or savory outcome is a surprise. What would you guess?

This was a new one to me, shrimp and walnuts. I had never heard or seen this but it was tasty:

And I'm way too chicken (ha ha) to try these (chicken feet) but I hear they must be good!

The last time I had dim sum was at least 3 years ago! I can't believe it has been that long. Have you had dim sum? If so, when was the last time and how was it? If not, why not? Is there a cuisine you haven't had in a long time but you love? Why not go out and indulge yourself!

Sep 16, 2009

Black Gold

I always grew up composting to lessen waste going into landfills (this is what we did in Maine), but I've never actually used it. My family just had an open compost heap in the yard that slowly grew over the years (compost shrinks a lot while it's decomposing) and we just tossed our food scraps on there willy nilly. They never bothered to reap the fertilizing benefits, or even to turn it over regularly. Or ever. But I bet if they did, they would find some nutrient-rich treasure!

Remember the compost bin that I started back in May? Since then, I've filled that bin up and started a second one. But when I recently went to turn over the contents of that first one with a pitchfork (which hadn't been done in quite a while), I discovered that I had hit the fertilizer jackpot:

But now I just have to decide where to use this stuff. Do I use it as fertilizer for my container plants? For the lawn? As mulch? Any other ideas? Will the dogs get into it?

Sep 15, 2009

For the Books

What I miss about apartment living, is finding discarded items from residents moving out. (Sidenote: this sounds like an opportunity for a list here. Perhaps that will be a future post.)

One of the items was a shabby chic-country-whitewash folding bookcase. Not exactly my style but my belief on storage is that you can never have enough, so of course I snatched it.

Here it is after a coat of primer:

And after 2 coats of paint and a coat of oil-based polyurethane:

I've had this for a couple years but wasn't inspired to paint it until I found a quart of "oops" paint at Home Depot for $1 in a sea foam green that I couldn't pass up. Lucky for the guest bath that I didn't have a gallon of it...

Have you transformed a free, discarded item? Any other suggestions on what to do with the rest of the paint, I still have most of the quart left. Do you have a sea foam green bathroom? Is sea foam green tacky or awesome? Does it work on a bookcase? Curious if the bookcase still folds (the answer is, not really)? Where should I put this bookcase? Bueller?

Sep 14, 2009

Call the Shot?

My lime tree has a surprise growth that sprang up alongside it:

I reuse my soil year after year (thanks to many failed attempts), which include tomato, basil, pepper, avocado, cilantro, lavender, and green onion. Could it be one of those? Or is it an evil weed that I've been allowing to grow all this time?

All I know is that it is not the 1 plant I can identify in my sleep. Any ideas what this mystery sprout could be?

Sep 11, 2009

Popping the Corks

Here's another centerpiece that's popular around here because we like wine. Make that love wine:

Actually, it's less of a centerpiece and more of a convenient place to put corks. Because as you can see, we go through a lot of them. Frequently (we average about 5 bottles a week and about 2 trips to wine country annually). We buy wine by the case.

Speaking of which, check this one out:

Note: we consume mostly red wine. And I only used this box to transport my variety of wines.

How much wine do you consume in your household? Any good wines to recommend? Where do I put all these corks?

Sep 10, 2009

Heavy Metal

Earlier this year, we discovered a surprise relic on top of our (rather new) water heater:

(shown above on our garage work bench)

The timing was perfect - right during our kitchen remodel. I have no clue how old these are, or which previous owner they belonged to, but these snippers have definitely come in handy.

Did they belong to the previous owner (who lived here only 5 years yet perhaps gave these constant use), the owners before them? Or those before them? Or maybe they were left by the water heater installer?

And the saying definitely rings true here, they don't make things like they used to! These bad boys cut through a tin can like its butter. They're indestructible.

Have you found any useful or interesting relics, memorabilia, or treasures in your home? And yes, tools count!

Sep 9, 2009

Suzi, Kawi, Saki

Just over a week ago, we said goodbye to Jesse's motorcycle, '03 Suzuki SV650 (also known as Suzi*):

We made sure she went to a good home though - to a young boy transitioning from dirt to street bikes. He was enrolled in riding courses and surrounded by professional riders and had his mom's blessing (she actually bought it for him, cool mom!).

This was a somewhat sad moment as Suzi had become such a member of our garage pack for almost the last 2 years. I can't even begin to count the hours that Jesse has spent on her.

Being without Suzi meant he had to ride my motorcycle, Kawasaki '03 Ninja 250 EX (also known as Saki) in the interim. Which meant she needed tags. $300, 4 DMV trips and hours of aggravation later, she now has papers.

Before we knew it, this motorcycle joined our rice rocket posse ('08 Kawasaki Ninja ZX6R):

Her name is Kawi (apparently Kawk didn't appeal to Jesse). To go with Saki (the little big sister). So now we are a Kawasaki household. As well as a little big sister/big little sister household (in reference to our dogs). 3 trips to the DMV, 1 trip to a sketchy junk yard downtown, a $50 inspection and $600 later, this had papers and plates (yep, we spent a grand just to get these two bikes legit for the road).

Do you have brand loyalty to cars or motorcycles or other big ticket items?

*Completely coincidental and with no relation to this Suzi Suzuki

Sep 8, 2009

Go Sour

I love limes. I buy a lot when they are on sale. And then I put them in a big dish in the center of the table and call it a centerpiece.

And when I don't have limes, I use other foods.

Do you have a favorite produce that you are sure to stock up on when given the chance? Any lime recipes to share?

Sep 4, 2009

Zero in

This week was a milestone for Misti (if you don't know what Misti is, read post below). Her odometer went from a 5 to a 6-digit figure (sadly, this is probably the only kind of 6 digit figure I will ever know):

Some interesting stuff:
  • In scientific notation, this is written as 105.
  • In the Irish Language, Ceád Mile Fáilte (pronounced: KAY-ed MEE-luh FOIL-cha) is a popular greeting meaning "A Hundred Thousand Welcomes".
  • In Vietnamese, Thai, and Lao, there is a separate word for this number
  • A 100 year old person is known as a centenarian, so what is it called for a car that has reached 100,000?
  • This is my 100th blog post! Is there a word for that? Centenlog?
Is it unusual that I wanted to see this moment? Or is it more unusual that I photographed this? Or is it more unusual that I personify my car? Do you wonder where I was when this happened? Did you notice that I was at 0 mph in the photo? Have you noticed that Miles is going 0 mph as well, in the movie Sideways, when he is doing his crossword puzzle on his way to Jack's? Are you still reading this?

Sep 3, 2009

Polished Off

We are a motorcycle household, but we also have 1 car. Not a fancy car, not a new car, not even a nice car. But a car that gets us, the dogs, groceries, and building supplies - from one place to another. So therefore she deserves some love and attention as well:

Doesn't Misti look years younger? (Yes, we gave our car a name. Everything in our household has a name) And now you can see all her dents and dings really well.

What do you do to make your car feel special? And does your car have a name?

Sep 2, 2009

Low-hanging Fruit

My dirty little secret is that as much as I hate creeping fig, I actually did retain some of it. On an area which seems manageable, contained to a wall. But a little part of me still wishes I had it removed with the rest of the evil stuff.

Recently I noticed something different:

Do you see it? Here's a close up:

It's fruit. A fig to be exact. Creeping figs bear fruit? I thought they were just planted for their climbing vine ability. Or to make future owners of the property angry.

Does anyone know if this is edible?

Sep 1, 2009

Good Eats

My dad has been on a traveling kick ever since work has slowed down. He recently went on a trip to China, where he got all kinds of goodies. So after he got back, where to go next? Why, here of course!

These pics pretty much sum up how life has been here the past week:

It's a good thing we don't own a scale because I don't want to know the damage that we've incurred on ourselves this week.

So all in all, this is my kind of vacation!

ps. Don't forget to wipe up the drool on your computer before you exit this blog.