Monday, June 27, 2011

Gardening: Victories and Defeats

First of all, my man has gotten as into gardening if not more into it than me.

He has taken to grabbing whatever seed or sprouting thing he finds in the kitchen and throwing it in the dirt. It's been wildly successful.

A few months ago, he threw the seeds of a Santa Claus Melon (no kidding, that's what it was called) into the ground. They grew. We read that in order to produce one melon, it would have had to take over our entire property. A moment of cost/benefit analysis led to us ripping it up.

A few weeks ago, an onion of mine began sprouting. Michael stuck the onion in the ground with the sprouts above ground. The green sprouts grew very quickly and I've been using them in my cooking. Since we're alive, I guess they are not poisonous!

Yesterday, he put jalapeno seeds in the ground. We shall see what happens. 

Second, there have been a lot dead/dying plants back there. Bugs got to the beets killing most of the poor, little sprouts. And I was too lazy to figure out what was happening to remedy the problem. The four that survived Beet Blight 2011 are now going strong. I still have some hope for our carrots. As for the spinach and lettuce... I'll just blame the heat for their shriveling up over the last couple of weeks.

I can't believe our rate of success at willy nilly throwing things into the ground is higher than our serious attempts at gardening normal-style.

The lettuce was way too dainty and difficult for my non-green thumb.
Or maybe I should have followed directions and just planted it in the
winter when the temperature is right.

But, the TOMATOES!! They make me feel so successful! I don't think I could kill them if I tried. We planted one puny tomato plant. It is now massive. We've only harvested a handful of cherry tomatoes so far, but judging by all the little green tomatoes and blossoms all over the plant, we will be harvesting dozens and dozens. Since everything has been difficult but the tomatoes, we went to our local garden center and purchased two more tomato plants yesterday.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday Photography Walk

I am supposed to keep my walking to a minimum so my booty stitches can heal.

I was getting depressed sitting inside all... day... long... when the days are so long and so beautiful. So, I went on a photography walk. I am such a rebel!

Here is the plunder:

My lens doesn't zoom much, so I was about fifteen feet from this door when I took this picture. Can you imagine how awkward it would have been if someone walked out as I was taking it? I would've muttered something like, "I... uh... cool door" and subsequently fled and locked myself up indoors again.

This one makes me feel emo. I think I'm going to call it "Vampire Love." But, seriously. I really like this photo and the fact that all the brown in the picture is dead flowers. So emo.

Backlit leaves. Very nice.

Have I mentioned before how much I love Southern California's citrus trees?

There is a violin maker's shop nearby. The entire shop is covered in tools, wood shavings, wood stains, and violin parts. I need to go back sometime to see the violin maker in action. Can you pick out the knobby, tuning part of the violin in the photo below?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Giraffe Without Spots

Readers, it's time to get intimate:

Since February, I have had eleven moles shaved off and biopsied. Out of the eleven, nine were developing abnormally (what doctors call "dysplastic") and could have become cancerous.

At one point, my dermatologist told me that she felt like she was on "Extreme Makeover: Mole Edition." Cute.

Two of those moles had to undergo the special treatment since the abnormalness didn't all go with the biopsy.

(side note: Sometimes I feel abnormal. Does that make me dysplastic all over? Is that why the dermatologist is slowly removing all of me?)

The dermatologist dug a small chunk out of my back a few weeks ago. Grossed out yet? If not, keep reading.

The plastic surgeon then dug another larger chunk out of my... inconvenient location* on Friday. I never realized how much that part of my body moves when I walk.

Needless to say, I spent most of my weekend not moving and when Michael headed out of town, he kindly put all low lying objects up high on dressers and tables so I wouldn't have to choose between wearing shoes to work and having intact stitches. What a sweet hubby I have!

So, why a giraffe?

A few of my college friends decided that I looked like a giraffe because of my long neck, big eyes, and my brown spots all over. At the rate my dermatologist is going, I should be spotless within about 500 years.

Finally, with all these biopsies and minor surgeries, I have become best friends with these bandaids. They are AWESOME!!

They cost significantly more than normal bandaids, but they stay on for several days, block out water & germs, and best of all they prevent scarring like nothing else I know.

Throw out your traditional bandaids and buy Nexcare bandages! (No, I am not paid by them. They may make $10 max off of this plug. Unless my blog becomes wildly popular. But, then again, if lots of people were reading this, I'd probably take down this post...)

*my "inter-gluteal cleft" as the medical professionals all called it. :) 

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Low sun. Sparkling ocean. These conditions make even a rope look good! Here are three photos straight off the camera that I took recently on a dock at Catalina Island.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Watermelon Smoothie

Since it was only 15 cents per pound, I bought a gigantic watermelon for a little Memorial Day barbecue we had with a few friends. One of the guests arrived with half of a gigantic watermelon. Another guest walked in the door lamenting that she had forgotten the watermelon she had planned to bring at home. I told her it was ok. Needless to say, there was way too much watermelon that day.

Today I decided to try to make a considerable dent in our leftover surplus by creating a watermelon smoothie before it all turned sour. (I guess I absorbed the grade school geography lesson on the four cardinal directions: "Never Eat Sour Watermelon.") I threw some watermelon, mint, spinach, and sugar in a blender and this is what came out:

Ok, so I tried my hardest with the sprig of mint in the glass and the mint and watermelon background, but it still doesn't look that tasty. Whenever you put spinach in a smoothie, the whole drink turns brown. So you'll just have to take me at my word: The mint/spinach/watermelon trio is very unique and tasty. 

If you are brave enough to try this summery beverage, blend:

  • 4 cups of watermelon
  • 1 cup of spinach leaves de-stemmed
  • three mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (though if your watermelon is sweet, this is unnecessary)

Here are the proportions in picture form for the visual learners:

I decided to take a picture of my smoothie without pretending to be a Martha Stewart Living food photographer and this is what resulted:
This actually looks worse than the smoothie looked in real life, so don't be deterred. But, isn't it amazing what flash, indoor lighting, bad angles, and bad backgrounds will do to a picture? But, I digress. Go buy a gigantic watermelon and make yummy smoothies!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Folk Music Center: Heaven on Earth

erhus (I did a google search for "Asian stringed instrument" to figure out what this one is called!)
percussion instruments that look and croak like frogs

Music and other cultures are two of my favorite things in the world. The Folk Music Center puts both in one heavenly store. Every time that I walk through the front door of the Folk Music Center, it takes me at least an hour to walk back out because it is jammed, crammed, packed full of instruments from everywhere.

cultures + music = Folk Music Center --> happy Christie

Click on this picture to spy into the store to see drums and stringed instruments from all over!
Ironically, the instrument that I always end up playing first is the least international of all – the banjo. I know two chords. Well, if the banjo is properly tuned, you simply have to strum to play a G-chord, so I guess I only really know one chord.

If you're ever in the area and want to try your hand at dozens (hundreds?!) of instruments, let me know and I will bring you with me! Be warned that it will not be a short visit. And you will have to hear a horrid, two-chord banjo solo.
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