Friday, 29 April 2011

Congrats Will & Kate

It was a beautiful ceremony!

I was one of those crazy Americans that set the alarm clock for 1:15 in the morning and then watched the event on television for hours.

Can I just start by saying that the millenary creativity of your guests knew no bounds. From feathered fascinators to a vertical ‘satellite dish’ with netting, it was a virtual parade of hats.

The spectators outside Buckingham Palace also contributed to the pomp and circumstance.

Madly waving flags.

And more than one royal-watcher was caught on screen donning a Burger King crown.

Kudos for thriftiness and ingenuity!
And then the wait was over.

The ceremony inside Westminster Abbey began. 

Without commentary or analysis or critique.

Just the magic of a royal wedding. LIVE. From across the pond.


By the way, just love your get-away car, it was the icing on the cake.

Thursday, 28 April 2011


Outside the Museum of Art in Balboa Park, a tent is going up.

Inside there is a flurry of activity involving ladders, wet green foam, branches and buckets of flowers.

Preparations are underway…

 for the annual fundraiser, ART ALIVE, which is celebrating its 30th year.

It is an exhibition of floral arrangements inspired by the Museum’s art collection.

On the schedule for Friday is a Bouquet Bash.

Similar to Iron Chef.

Only the secret ingredient is an abundance of white flowers. Three floral designers will be battling it out for the best wedding bouquet.

Yesterday visitors were allowed a peek at the work in progress. 

Atop the grand staircase is a magnificent arrangement filtering the afternoon sun.

Today art-inspired floral arrangements will be set up on pedestals in front of paintings throughout the museum.

As far as I'm concerned, the scent alone is worth the price of admission this weekend!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Boat Houses

Not to be confused with houseboats (which would sit in water).

The S.S. Encinitas and the S.S. Moonlight sit on dry land.

A full block east of the Pacific Ocean.

On 3rd Street in Encinitas.

Tenants get a front yard and street parking.

And no one gets seasick.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Wildlife in Los Angeles

Wile E. Coyote meanders a residential street in the foothills.

Who you looking at? I’m no cartoon character.

Sunday, 24 April 2011


In February, we walked through Crystals at CityCenter in Las Vegas.

There stood a 1200-pound, 11-foot-tall golden rabbit.

At the time, I thought Vegas was getting the jump on Easter decorations.

The color should have tipped me off but there is a lot of gold in Sin City and we had just been inside Caesar’s Palace.

Turns out those are not gigantic jellybeans. They are oranges. It was an elaborate display for the Chinese Year of the Rabbit.

I hope it is still there today.

Passing itself off as the Easter Bunny!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Earth Day Edible Flowers

I googled “How to Celebrate Earth Day” and the suggestions included:

Plant a tree. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Clean up the beach. Learn more about the environment. Ride your bike. Build a birdfeeder.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that most of us have checked off all or at least most of the items on that list. And the three ‘R’s are done on a regular basis.

So this year I exchanged my garden gloves for an apron and spent the afternoon decorating cupcakes.

To look like flowers.

It is clear that artificial food coloring is no match for Mother Nature.

A sweet way to celebrate.

Here is what you need:

Cupcakes, Frosting, Colored Sugar, Miniature Marshmallows and Pastel Jelly Beans

Pour granulated sugar into a food processor with food coloring and pulse until the color is distributed. Make as many colored sugars as desired. I made pink, dark yellow, turquoise and purple.

Use scissors to cut miniature marshmallows on a diagonal. Then place sticky side down into the sugar.

Frost the cupcakes and start placing the petals (sugared marshmallow halves) into the frosting. Start with the perimeter. Go in a circle and work your way inside. Pop a jelly bean in the center.

Flowers can be all one color (such as the photo at the top of this page), or each row can be one color (below), or each petal can alternate a different color (above)….well you get the idea.

Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Early Bird

I am a morning person.

So it was easy to hop in the car and get to San Elijo Lagoon before 7:00 am.

Off the 5 Freeway, exit Manchester Avenue, go east.

Which was just an arbitrary time. I don’t know when birds wake up.

It just seemed like there might be more action if I got there early.

We all know who ‘catches the worm’.

I am not a bird-watcher or a birder or whatever they call people that hang out with binoculars and field guides identifying various species but I figured there are miles of hiking trails at the lagoon if there was nothing exciting to see in the water.

But that wasn’t the case…..

So enchanted by the sights and sounds that I will have to go back to see what's at the end of the trail.

Monday, 18 April 2011

I Won!

And you will never guess what.

Not in a million years.

Give up?

I won the closest guess to the “How Heavy is this Pig?” contest that just took place in Haarle, a small town in The Netherlands.

The results of the official weigh-in were mailed out this past Friday.

A local farmer donates a pig every year. Then members of the voetbal (soccer) team go door-to-door (following the
tractor and wagon carrying the pig) selling chances for their fundraiser. Loud music is used to attract attention.

This lovely redhead is a scant 250.2 pounds, just 2 ounces above my guess-timate.

So exciting to be a winner.

Even this far away.

With no hope of having the prize delivered to my freezer (half a butchered pig).

The honor is enough.

Thanks go to my college roommate, Molly and her Dutch husband, Rieks, who bought the tickets and entered my guess along with those of other long-distance friends and family.

My 11-year old nephew’s reaction: "Which end of the pig does the winner get?"

I’m thinking the end that turns into bacon and pork chops and ribs…

Saturday, 16 April 2011


April is National Poetry Month.

Which featured “Put a Poem in your Pocket” on April 14th.

I did not know either of these facts until Thursday night.

Went to Mission Hills Public Library to hear thirteen local poets present works that appear in the San Diego Poetry Annual.

Poet Mai Lon Gittelsohn spoke of her mother and mother-in-law and the hilarity of buying sheets
(when spoken with a heavy accent, a loud voice and a short 'i' instead of a long 'e'.)

The evening was interesting, often laugh-out-loud funny and the subject matter was all over the map.

One comment and a story really stuck out.

A young gal, when describing her favorite poet, mentioned ‘an economy of language’.

I love that phrase.

It describes good writing, regardless of genre.

Later, a French poet/translator stood at the podium with a certain quiet grace and dignity and recounted a travel experience that took place in France. She met a young Asian woman at the airport who was inquiring about hotels in the area. The French woman, nervous that it was high season and rates would be dear, invited the stranger into her home and then felt honored by her presence. It made me slightly envious of the lucky young traveler.

Capping off this evening devoted to poems, I carpooled home with an irreverent poet laureate who amused us with naughty limericks until our cheeks almost burst from laughing.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Fletcher Cove

Looking west.

Looking east.

When we moved across the country from Hingham, Massachusetts, we settled in Solana Beach.

Home to our first apartment (a bit of a dump) with the distinction that it was ‘west of 5’.

Fletcher Cove was within walking distance.

A local treasure. 

Tucked into the community.

Since then, the beach/park has undergone major renovation (as shown above).

Lots of attention went into the details. 

Which is why I must talk trash.

And believe me, I am not dissing the place.

I think Fletcher Cover should be awarded “Best of”.

Best use of camouflage when it comes to large unsightly trash bins in the parking lot.

Here is the entrance.

Up close.

That was too close (but see the far right corner of the shot above).

Ivy covered, trellised enclosure with attractive gates.


I kid you not.

So head down to Fletcher Cove this summer.

To use the basketball court, the swings and the picnic tables.

Swim in the ocean and take a shower outdoors.

Just remember to throw away your garbage on the way out. 

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Digging Up The Road

On Lomas Sante Fe Drive, there are large pieces of machinery around a great big hole.

But if you look closely, it is men and women doing all the digging.

With shovels.

From the Home Depot.

Ok, I don't know that for a fact but they look a lot like the shovel in our garage.

So heavy equipment provides:

a)  a wind block
b)  protection from oncoming traffic
c)  a ride to the work site

d) a place to rest your shovel.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Oh My, O Mai

My pedicurist, a lovely woman with a terrific sense of humor, has been busy lately making and selling a Vietnamese treat, called O Mai (pronounced Oh My).

It is what she serves her grandchildren instead of candy.

Laura dries a variety of fresh fruit outside on sunny days (no oven, no dehydrator, she likes things natural). Tamarind and ginger are used to cut the sweetness. She grinds licorice root into powder and also roughly chops some of it. The fruit balls are rolled around in the mixture until they are covered and no longer sticky.

I was intrigued, especially because she used apricots and kumquats in the latest batch.

I love apricots.

“I’ll buy a box,” I said. Sight unseen.

She was quick to reply, “Oh no, you might want to try a bite first.”


She brought out a container.

Hard to know what to say.

They were so ‘hairy’ looking.

And brown-ish.

Kinda like a root vegetable that was just dug up from the garden.

Laura laughed out loud and said, “Disgusting, right?”

“Oh yeah!”

But an oddly enjoyable mixture of sweet and sour.

Very filling. Meant to be served with a cup of tea.

Perhaps if they sat on a really pretty plate – to momentarily distract the eye - it would help the presentation factor.

I wonder if the name, O Mai, comes from the reaction of those seeing it for the first time.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Update on Stump

Back in January, at the entrance to Swami’s…

a Torrey Pine, infested with bark beetles, had to be cut down.

Stump was recently transformed by a local carver.

It is called Swami’s Easter Island Head.

I think the jaunty angle keeps him from looking too serious.

As if the dude just climbed all those stairs from the beach with a surfboard under his arm!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Spring Break

Many schools in San Diego have this week off.

But the weather has been uncooperative.

Drizzle, wind and gray skies.

On the other hand, it is possible to find a parking spot at the beach.

There is plenty of room to spread out.

Very little need for greasy sunblock.

And plenty of waves.