Monday, April 30, 2012

A One-Block Walk

Today, Won Ton and I went on a little walk, just around our one block. I let him set the pace and stop as many times as he wanted, to sniff the bushes or just stand in the shade and look around:

While he sniffed and marked and looked at things, I had more time to look around, too. I noticed the most beautiful flowers on my block. Like an entire flower bed filled with this one variety of blush-creamy rose:

A fat, round little cactus, pushing its glorious blossoms between the bars of a fence:

Bachelor's Buttons (for some reason, I didn't think these could grow in Southern California):

Tiny little yellow flowers spangling the grass and clover, each blossom no more than 1/4 inch across:

A stunning purplish-blue-and-white Bearded Iris:

A succulent, with the most intriguing, ratchet-y edges to its outer leaves:

 Won Ton kept busy with the sniffing:

While I admired some daisies that, on one plant, ran the gamut from bright white to purple and every tint in between:

Nasturtiums, in traffic-cone orange and caution-sign yellow:

Before I knew it, we were back at our front gate. It was lovely, taking time to stop and admire all the flowers.

Thank you, Won Ton, for making me slow down and enjoy what was right under our noses.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Another Roadside Rescue

 I found this wall shelf on its side in a neighborhood alley last weekend:

The first thing that drew my eye was the sweet pierced work along the back:

It has one shelf, two drawers, and a row of hooks below. That's a lot of storage for a small piece:

This makes me smile: Some child--a girl, I think--has written "Specil things" on one drawer:

...and "cool things." on the other:

Almost too cute to paint over. But I will.

Because somebody else might want to designate those drawers for something else!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Green Pug Recycles for Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! Not sure how to commemorate it?

For some ideas, try watching  this video of a pug recycling.


Find something green to do, and keep doing it!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Alter Egos

My daily "uniform" is a tee shirt, jeans, and an apron. Hair pulled back in a ponytail, maybe a pair of earrings on if I remembered. This is how I look, about 99% of the time:

Me, giving baby Pao a bath before the kitchen remodel, March 2010.

A few days back, I went to visit my friend Idrea's boutique, "Lucky You Resale." It's a wonderful little shop, chock full of gently-used clothes, shoes, and accessories. I dropped by just to say Hi, but she asked me if I had a couple minutes, whisked me back into one of the dressing rooms, handed me clothes and jewelry to put on, and "floofed" my hair until I hardly resembled myself:

Photo: Idrea Lippman

Ha ha! I told her I look like an aging French dance-hall girl.

Photo: Idrea Lippman

She said she thought I looked more like...what was it? An artist who gives jewelry lessons and hangs out at corner cafes? Anyhow, it was a blast to dress in a style totally foreign to me, and it was great fun to see what somebody else's vision of me could be.

It got me thinking about what limits we put on ourselves. How our potential might be blocked from our sight, but a friend, a loved one, or even a stranger can see in us something we don't see and--under the right circumstances--coax it out to play for a few hours.

Photo: Chuchicarmelo

Play, creativity, and alter egos:

Photo: Warby Barker

They are gifts we sometimes forget that we have at our disposal.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring Herbs

The threat of cold nights has passed here in L.A., so I finally purchased and planted the last of the plants for my potted-herb garden. I already had pots of rosemary, oregano, thyme, and sage. Today I added in curly parsley:


Basil (three large pots of it, so I can make lots and lots of pesto):


Any activity I do in the garden is always supervised by the pugs:

Mu Shu seems to think the chives look skimpy. Just wait a bit, Mu! They'll grow; just please don't eat them. Thank you, little one.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Walking Won Ton

This is how it usually looks when I take Won Ton for a walk in the neighborhood. He doesn't like walking in the neighborhood.

A Won Ton walk is more like a Won Ton drag. With lots of stopping. And lots of "C'mon, let's go!" and "Heel!" and sometimes a little "Heel, dangit!"

Won Ton would prefer to sit in the beautiful Ice Plant and contemplate just how stupid I am.

Because he knows that I know that he prefers going into the village to walk.

In the village, there's more interesting smells to visit, and lots of people to greet, and sometimes a treat, or at least a bowl of water, in some of the shops.

Won Ton's on a sit-down strike until I take him shopping.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

From English Countryside to South of France

In my neighborhood, there was a cute, Tudor-style cottage landscaped with an unfortunate mishmash of mostly tropical plants. The house and its surroundings didn't mesh:

But the house had a lot of appeal, including this pop-out bay in the kitchen:

Beautiful, authentic leaded-glass windows:

And this very appealing front entry, with a door the color of a British phone booth:

So adorable. I thought there was nothing wrong with the house that a redo of the garden wouldn't solve. Out with the tropicals, in with the English-country garden flowers.

Then, the house sold for the first time in 60 years, and the new owners had a completely different vision for the place. At first, I was worried: All the English cuteness was demo'd, and nobody was sure what the final product would look like.

Well, the final product is gorgeous. Not English countryside any more, now the house looks like it's from somewhere French, near the Mediterranean. There are olive trees planted around a low, gray-stained wood fence that surrounds the property:

The owners wisely bumped the fence back around several stately trees that are probably as old as the original house. Venerable senior citizens, they deserve to be highlighted:

Where this beautiful, low-ish fence now stands, the former owners had a tall, hideous concrete-brick wall that was topped with barbed wire. What a transformation!:

The hardware and accessories the new owners chose are just dang gorgeous:

Look at the patina on this oversized mailbox! Beautiful:

All the plantings evoke the South-of-France feeling and echo the silvery-gray colors of the house and fence:

An inner courtyard of decomposed granite--very European and Old World--provides the perfect transition from street to house. A great choice, water-wise, for semi-arid L.A.:

Inside the couryard, beautiful objects rich in patina and texture cluster around the front door:

I am in love with these huge balls near the front steps. The largest one is probably two feet tall. What a brilliant, outside-the-box piece of garden architecture!:

I'm not sure if the current owners know this (although, when they read this post, they will!), but I have a connection with their house, now. When these lovely leaded-glass windows ended up in their dumpster, I asked the foreman if I could have one. He not only said yes, he loaded it into his pickup and drove it around the corner to my place.

And now it hangs, a terrific piece of found art, above the dining-room side table in our daughters' Funny-Looking House:

Thank you, neighbors. And a belated Welcome to the Neighborhood!


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