Saturday, June 23, 2012

My New Back Yard

I've been moving stuff from my beading workroom to the new house's converted garage studio over the past week. It's slow going because I can only cram so much stuff into the Mustang. On top of that, just getting it from the condo to the car is a hassle since there are two very inconvenient steps leading up to our door, which means I can't just put everything on my trolley inside the condo and roll it straight to the elevator. Nope, I have to haul everything down the inside stairs then take it all outside to the trolley. If the steps were just a little broader I could ease the trolley down, but they're just narrow enough that doesn't work. Oh, well.
Anyway, this morning I took a car load up to the house, unloaded and fed the kitties. Then I remembered I hadn't shared any shots of the back yard, so I grabbed a few on my iPad.

Here's the view of most of the back, that's a fountain and pond in the corner
A closer view of the pond and curved bench beside it
on the other side of the studio (converted garage) through some nice french doors is a little patio 
In the first picture (top left foreground) you can see a bit of this tree
I got a closeup of the flowers on it - maybe one of you knows what it is?

The little yard is really lovely and shady all day, quite cool to sit in even when it's very hot outside. Last weekend we had a little Father's Day/open house party out there and the temps were in the 80s but we were all cool and comfy in the shade.

I really can't wait to get all moved in, especially to set up my studio. It's going to be really wonderful to have such a great workspace (and there's a full bathroom in there, too!)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

More New House Stuff

Made a couple trips to the new house today to get ready for a little family gathering tomorrow. Bought a portable Coleman propane grill so we can bbq, some lawn-chairs and also a few carloads of stuff to stash in the studio.  While I was there I took a couple pictures inside and out front. I'll try to get some good ones of the back tomorrow.

Front of the house

I have roses! (There are other bushes out back, too)
The previous owners tell me that one of the rose bushes out back was from the Huntington Garden. They have rose & other plant sales there every now and then. There are a lot of plants & trees out back, it's going to be interesting figuring out what to keep and what to pull. Besides the plants the back yard also features many feral/semi feral cats, young (maybe a year, maybe less, old) cats and a kitten. I'll try to get some pics of them, too.

Living room west wall

Living room east wall 
The living room is a pretty good size and I look forward to figuring out what I want to do with it. Our current living room furniture is very den-worthy and will be put in my husband's 'man cave'. 

Dining room - window to the front yard (east)
 The house very obviously used to have a side entry. I like how they turned that into a niche with the narrow windows beside. Not crazy about the chandelier but it'll be fine until I decide on what kind of look I'm going for in here.
Roomy kitchen with granite counters
(finally have an icemaker/water dispensing refrigerator, too!)

Above the stove is a vintage fan & hood - the fan is noisy but I think easily fixed. Range is a bit dated and there's no microwave, so we'll need to get a countertop one. There are so many possibilites! Floor is travertine tiles (I think). I love the green in the granite, I'll probably decorate in the kitchen around that color scheme.

I'm beat, gonna rest now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

John Scalzi Stepped on My Toe!

I went to the local indie bookstore, Vromans, tonight to see John Scalzi and get a few of his books signed, including his new one Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas. Photographic evidence follows. Except for evidence of him stepping on my toe. The aisle I sat in was narrow and he was chatting with a friend sitting nearby. When he finished I didn't get my foot back quite fast enough and he stepped on the very tip of my shoe (I barely felt it). I'm just glad it didn't trip him!

Anyway, when he took the stage,  the first thing he did (saying that he had to get it over with) was sing the wonderful Redshirts theme, written by Jonathan Coulton, and self accompanied with a borrowed ukelele.

My dear husband joined me about an hour before the event and was on hand to take the pictures below with his iPhone.

John was fun and charming and the reading had some special "bonus material" that I am not allowed to talk about as John made us swear not to.

Side Note: There were a handful of folk, who like me, wore red shirts to the reading and one fellow had an official Redshirts tee-shirt (you'll see him behind me in line in one of the pictures). Unfortunately, mine didn't get here on time or I certainly would have worn it. I should have ordered it earlier than I did, as it was from Zazzle and they make 'em after you buy 'em so you need to remember to add the manufacturing time to the shipping time if you have a deadline you want to meet.

Captured just before John took the stage

Note the Coke Zero :-)

I thought this would be a tighter shot, so I leaned in,
but I'm glad it's wide enough to show the guy in the  "official"
Redshirts red shirt

John was so nice to pause and listen to me blather

And there I am with my signed copy!
BTW, I loved Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas - it is quirky and clever and a darn good read. If you want to buy it, why not click the link here so you'll go to my Amazon Affiliate link and I'll get a penny or two for your thoughtfulness :-)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Another in My Series of Lazy Person Recipies

You may recall my Apple Thing post some years back. I think I may have also mentioned other really lazy recipe ideas here like Snack Pack Chocolate Pudding Pie (buy a chocolate crumb pie crust, fill with Snack Pack pudding, top with Cool Whip, voila). So now I am pleased to introduce a new easy, lazy, Food Thing, Chicken Rice Thing.

My husband and I used to enjoy having a chicken and rice dish that was super easy to fix thanks to Lipton (now Lipton/Knorr) Chicken Flavored Rice. Comes in a packet and all we did was follow the directions on the packet plus add a can of cooked chunk chicken. I am avoiding gluten as much as I can, having recently found some stellar personal health benefits to doing this. The chicken rice packet has these tiny rice like noodles in it which, of course, are pasta made of wheat. So much for that easy meal.

The other day, though, I came up with a pretty good wheat-free imitation. I'm having some now and was inspired to share.

Chicken Rice Thing

One can chicken (whatever size and type you like)
One to one and a half cups cooked rice (I make a pot of steamed rice in a small steamer every few days, so I always have it handy - you can substitute instant cooked rice or boil-in-bag rice for a quick substitute)
a packet of Chicken Flavor Boost
Poultry seasonings
butter or margarine to taste (I think the recipe on the packet called for a tablespoon, I always use more because I like it butter-y)
two tablespoons of water

Put the flavor boost (I guess you could use a bouillon cube), water (stir those two up a bit), butter and poultry seasonings in a small cup or bowl and nuke until the butter is melted. Stir that into the rice, stir in the can of chicken and nuke the whole thing for 2 to 2 and a half minutes. You can also add other flavors like soy sauce, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes - you name it. That's it, you're done. Have another veggie on the side, some fruit for dessert and it's a fairly balanced meal. Kinda carb heavy, though. Quinoa has fewer net carbs, but because quinoa is not flavor neutral like rice, it significantly changes the flavor of the dish.

Friday, June 01, 2012

The New Casa!

In a couple weeks my DH and I will be moving to our new home. It was a rather nerve wracking experience buying a house, but I'm so happy to finally have a place to call my own again where I can put up whatever kind of curtains I want (there's a story about the HOA where we currently live behind that) and put up pictures and paint the walls purple if I please.

The house is a smidge under 1,400 sq. ft., not counting the studio which is a converted garage with a full bath and french doors to its own private patio.

This is the picture from the brochure - the little inset on the left is the studio in back, converted from a garage.

floor plan

I can't grab a good enough shot of the back yard from the brochure, (the ones above were taken with my iPad) but it's very nice with a little walkway to a fountain in the back corner, a very nice patio area and lots of shade from mature trees.

Needless to say, I'm counting the days!