Saturday, July 21, 2018

warming up

Maybe this year, a critter won't eat my chiles?  This - all the way from Santa Fe, and living happily through the Southern Californian winter - is the most advanced of this year's crop of Chimayo chile.  It'll turn up a much deeper red before I pick it and cook with it.

Or today's heading could also refer to next week's impending heat wave, which we could do without, especially since we are already under siege with tiny, determined ants.

There's no unforced way of making the heading refer to what was the preoccupying event of the late afternoon and early evening: the gunman holding hostage people in the local Trader Joe's (having already killed one of them in an initial shoot-out; having shot his grandmother earlier in the day).  If circumstances had been just a bit otherwise, I'd have been down there stocking up on avocados and grapes and green peas.  Today's soundtrack was the throb of police and TV helicopters.  

Friday, July 20, 2018


Another backyard corner ... I love this fern.  I've known it as long as I've known Alice - some thirteen and a half years; it moved from Hoover Street with us - where it used to live in the little back court.  Somehow, it kept going through the various not-very-plant-oriented tenants we had there.  It's the most Victorian plant that we have (indeed, why don't we have more ferns?  There's one that I bought this summer, in the front yard ...but I think that's it ... time for some more ...).  Indeed - I find I've missed, by a month, the Los Angeles International Fern Society Show and Sale ... but they do have a web site with some very useful fern tips ...

Thursday, July 19, 2018

broken candlestick

There's no hidden symbolism here - sometimes a broken candlestick is just a broken candlestick.  This is one of a pair I've had a long long time - back to Oxford days - and I can't even remember how this one got smashed - but it's one of those things that I've kept; that has a strange half-existence in the back yard, because I like the color of the glass ... And this corner of light and shade, which sprung into visibility as I was watering this morning, is a perfect example of one of my original reasons for starting this blog: an exercise in attentive looking; a deliberate finding something beautiful or worthy of visual note every day, no matter how unpropitious the general circumstances.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

tschotchkes in waiting rooms

Today, to an acupuncturist, in the hope that she could do something for Alice's still horrible nausea.  This helped a lot - just so long as the needles were in.  Then the nausea came back.  Meanwhile, I was left catching up on email, and wondering why people have collections of objects in waiting rooms that aren't entirely explicable - these were on top of a cupboard.  They don't necessarily have anything to do with the acupuncturist herself - there are several people who use the building - but I didn't get the opportunity to ask.

Also: tschotchke is a word I had to check how to spell, and is the kind of word that would be a dream play in Scrabble if you had tscchke, and someone had already put "hot" on the board.  If.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

chopping carrots

Back to the quest to find appetizing food for the chemo patient ... today's effort was an Instant Pot full of vegetables and lentils, which made a very palatable dhal.  This in turn could be added to bone broth, for soup - Alice - and to spinach - me.  Of course, as is always the case, these subtly-colored roots turned into dark orange circlets in the process.  A bowlful of soup was consumed - which I'll mark down in the "win" column.  

Monday, July 16, 2018

banana bread

Baking banana bread is truly a labor of love, since I like neither banana nor - usually - cake (which is what banana bread is, when one thinks about the recipe).  That last remark deserves some qualification: I like cakes made of almond flour, hazelnut flour, chestnut flour, polenta, and possibly various other creative substitutes as well.  And when I was Very Young - like about eight or nine - I used to make an excellent, light, fly-away sponge that involved a great deal of whisking in a bowl suspended over boiling water on the stove, and that was basically mostly eggs.  I should resuscitate that recipe, the next time in Wimbledon.

But I digress.  Cooking/preparing food for someone undergoing chemo has its challenges ... they think they fancy something, maybe, just possibly - and then because all their taste and smell receptors are haywire it tastes wrong and horrible the minute it reaches their mouth.  And in any case, Alice suffers badly from nausea, which makes the very idea of eating a turn-off.  But this morning, she thought that she might fancy some banana bread (to be honest, after that thought, she decided she'd like some Sara Lee Butter Streusel Coffee Cake - which I failed to find in local supermarkets, and now discover, on line, is a notoriously elusive gastro-commodity).  So this is my best shot, made with organic everything.  I tried a corner - frankly, I thought it was a bit dry, and tasted of banana, which I guess was inevitable - but Alice did, indeed, eat a slice and a bit.  I was so grateful.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

not yet autumn

Signing up to "Nextdoor Los Feliz" is a mixed blessing.  It's good for swapping info about, say, where to find a good window cleaner.  It's a virtual poster board for lost and found cats and dogs (and on one occasion recently, a rather pretty pig).  It's a clearing house for people who want to get rid of their perfectly respectable garden furniture or sideboard.  It's where people ask - as a message popped up on my screen right now - why has there been a helicopter hovering over a certain intersection for twenty minutes?  Or was that a gunshot I heard?  

But it's also the site of much paranoia.  "Suspicious black Honda with tinted windows on Amesbury."  "Suspicious man with backpack - maybe casing houses - on Cromwell" (I'm not saying these alerts have no utility value, although occasionally I suspect them being planted by local security firms who want to make us sign up for their patrol).  Yesterday witnessed a further ramping-up of anxiety: someone who though that a street's trees were being poisoned, because the leaves were all turning brown.

I've got news for that person.  Last week the temperature went up to 110F!  The sun was hot!  It is very Hot and Dry.  Leaves Die in these conditions.  I'm usually posting pictures of this table top with dead leaves in January, when they've fallen off in Los Angeles's very belated autumn.  Yes, it's weird in July, but that's why.

And yes - that is an apple from a USC University Club sandwich box.  It's been there for weeks - no . critter has tried to eat it; no sign of decay.  That confirms all my suspicions about those apples.

Also - I can still hear a helicopter.