Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Weekend Edition: Selections from Palm Desert and San Diego

My weekend-plus in California was full of beautiful scenery, poolside relaxation, hilarious friends, and practically untouched 60s Modernism. In no particular order we enjoyed the wildflowers blooming all over Southern California and especially here at the Balboa Park Cactus Garden,

we sat around a vintage game table to play cards after lounging by the pool most of the day,

visited a xeric park,

we enjoyed light reading and coffee at the pool in the morning,

took in the scenery on the drive from coast to desert,

wet our feet in mossy tide pools,

sat and watched sea lions nap in the sun,

and saw the sun set across the ocean.

Lovely. Many more pictures on flickr. Any of you been to Palm Springs/Palm Desert before?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Last Minute Details

Do you go crazy with last minute details before you leave town? I do. I'm on my way to Palm Springs this evening, via San Diego, and I'm running around like a crazy person trying to get the house cleaned, drop off magazines for recycling, buy sunscreen, water the plants, do a last load of laundry, pack and on and on and on. Sometimes it feels like so much work to get done before a vacation that I wonder why it is I wanted to go on one. Its always such a relief to finally take that seat on the plane and leave it all behind!

Luckily once I get there it'll be five straight days of fun and relaxation which will include visiting Balboa Park, hiking in the desert, lounging by the pool, reading shallow detective novels and Vogue, cooking and drinking with friends and who knows what else.

Its an early sign-off, but hope everyone as a great weekend!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Ideal weather

I took this photo of the apple blossoms on one of our embattled trees. Only one of three trees is doing well after a hard freeze-thaw-freeze cycle two years ago which cracked the trunks open on many of the trees in the neighborhood. One tree is basically dead and needs to be removed, one is struggling to come back, but is now shaded out by bigger trees that have grown up since it was first planted, and this last tree is covered in gorgeous blossoms.

The weather has been perfect this week making it hard to do any indoor chores or work. Right now I'm tied to the inside because I'm on hold, but I'm hoping to get outside soon and enjoy the day. Its supposed to be overcast and rainy tomorrow, but I'm hoping that it won't rain much since Sunday is our first day to irrigate, and I don't want that cancelled.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weekend Edition: Bits and Pieces

This weekend was mostly spent on unglamorous, back-breaking tasks such as cleaning the irrigation ditch and starting to irrigate. Cleaning the ditch doesn't sound that hard, but we're talking about 200+ feet of ditch that accumulates a lot of weeds and dead leaves over the winter. It has to be raked out and sometimes dug out where sediment has collected. Then the debris filling the bed of the pick-up needs to be taken to the local green-waste dump and unloaded. It's taken us the better part of three weekends if we add in our portion of the shared acequia that we cleaned a couple weeks ago. And we aren't finished! Almost though. Then all we have to do is clean out the actual garden, re-dig two of our raised beds so we can line them with weed fabric, build a couple of gates for the irrigation ditch, PLANT the garden, dig a new bed for the raspberries that we received on Friday and need to get into the ground asap... and on and on and on. While I love summer, the early part is so much work it can get overwhelming pretty quickly.

The plus side is that all that physical labor makes me not feel any guilt when I eat delicious high calorie treats like these peach and banana tartlets that I made on Thursday. They were modeled after the tart tatín recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini which uses a short crust instead of puffed pastry. I had some peaches that we froze last summer that I wanted to use up, but not quite enough of them for the quantity of dough, so one tart was made with a banana which was the only piece of fruit on hand. I have to say it was really good-- not surprising since how could you go wrong with banana, caramel and shortbread? The peach were excellent as well.

I also got new shoes. Basically a Swedish Hasbeen knock-off, which are cute enough, almost half the price, and most importantly available locally so that I can try them on before buying. I anticipate these being my daily wear-with-everything shoe for the summer.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book shelf: Currently Reading

From the top: The Lost Boys (dvd), Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes, My Mother's Clothes, Restoring a House in the City, and Inside Cuba (Taschen).

I treated myself to a stack of books last week, and they are now sitting on the shelf awaiting my attention. Just one library book to finish and then I'll start in on these. I LOVE new books! This stack is just about perfect (although it's lacking fiction... I've been getting that via the library lately)-- part decor/renovation, part gardening, part cooking, a little bit of fashion, and a classic movie from my youth. This photo was snapped before the entire order had actually arrived, it also included The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook: A Year in the Life of a Restaurant, and a Footloose/Flashdance dvd. (The dvds are for a bachelorette weekend that I'm soon to attend-- favorite movies from our childhoods being part of the entertainment-- The Lost Boys was my pick, Flashdance for the bride).

An inside shot from Restoring a House in the City. I still don't have a scanner, so sorry for the wonky photos.

From Inside Cuba. I recently got one of the Inside Africa books, and am now on a mission to acquire as many as I can of this series. Totally inspiring to look through.

And inside What We Eat When We're Alone. The illustrations in this book were half of what made me buy it-- very charming.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Musings

As a follow up to yesterday's post about Jamie Oliver, this speech he gave for TED is a condensed version of how he sees the problem (of obesity), and what we should do about it. Definitely worth 21 minutes of your weekend. (Discovered via Gala Darling's weekly Carousel post. She always has really interesting links- this week she also linked to the article below, and the articles about happiness via Sandra Bullock and the article about Polyvore were both really interesting too).

This snippet from the NYT was referenced by several of the blogs I read, so I'm not going to link to any particular person, but it interested me because the author, Dominique Browning talks about how she was constantly hungry at one point after losing her job as the editor of House & Garden. It made me wonder about the correlation of obesity and unhappiness in America. (She's not overweight, it just triggered the thought in my mind). If we are the fattest nation in the world, are we also the unhappiest? Why do people eat so much and so badly? I know that I eat to make myself feel better a lot, and that the fattest I've ever been has also been the unhappiest-- and not because I thought I was fat, it didn't help, but it wasn't the core reason, while the thinnest I've been was also the happiest.

Hmm, now that I think about it, I shop to make myself feel better too. Maybe that's the reason that our nation is so consumerist? (You know, because I'm totally indicative of all Americans).

What do you do to make yourself feel better when you aren't so happy?