Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sights Around My 'Hood

Here are a few photos of two of the more decked-out homes around my neighborhood. The families start decorating right around Thanksgiving. That's a LOT of lights and a lot of work! My SIL's father has a saying for decorations like this - "Looks like GE threw-up on their yard!" It may be a bit much, but I think it looks magical.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Always Remember

"...a date which will live in infamy..."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Scary Experience

This is the broken housing which caused the cruise control cable to get stuck while I was driving my mom's Ford Taurus on Wednesday while we were doing last-minute errands for Thanksgiving. I had been slowly accelerating to about 30-35 m.p.h. when the car just "took off" without me stepping on the gas pedal. I pressed on the brake pedal which slowed it a bit, but the car wouldn't stop. I was beginning to panic. I got the car to slow down enough to where I put it in neutral and then park and it came to a very abrupt stop, but the engine was really reving - it sounded like it was going to explode. I turned it off quickly and we both said "what the hell happened?" The gas pedal was not stuck, so we were not sure what had happened. I called both the Auto Club to get a tow truck and then my dad. He came down to wait for the tow truck with us and to see what the cause was. We waited for about 30 minutes and then he told us he would wait for the tow truck and that we should go finish our errands and he would call us when the car got to the repair shop. The above-photo shows what happened. The housing to the cruise control cable broke, causing the cable to get stuck. That is, in a nutshell, what happened. Our mechanic put the clamp on as a temporary fix to hold the cable to the housing, but it is now disconnected.

I am so thankful that this didn't happen while any of us were driving in traffic with cars in close proximity or on the freeway at 65 miles per hour - I don't know how the car could have ever been brought to a stop safely had that been the case. It is a very scary thought indeed. We were very, very thankful, to say the least.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A "Noble" Knit

This is one of the knitting projects I'm currently working on. This is "A Noble Cowl" by Emily Kausalik. It is an easy knit and I love the pattern. The yarn I'm using is Shibui Baby Alpaca DK - it is so soft! I'm making this one for myself and one for my mother in blue. I love the subtle variations of color in this yarn. It is one of the softest yarns I have ever touched and is an absolute joy to knit with. I love me some alpaca!

I am also knitting Christmas gifts this year, but I can't share those with you right now because a few of the intended recipients read my blog. I'm really liking how those are turning out and I have almost two finished already. It will sure be nice having them done in plenty of time.

Are any of you making your Christmas gifts this year? If so, what are you making?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Here's wishing everyone a safe and Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Wish This Wasn't Necessary

Cancer sucks. I'm knitting another chemo cap for one of my aunts; I wish it wasn't necessary. The pattern is one that I've unfortunately knitted-up before for another one of my aunts. I love the yarn - it's a very soft, machine washable DK weight and will be easy to just throw into the washer. The pattern is very easy and has such a pretty pattern at the crown. I will post a photo of it when I've finished. I found the pattern on the "Head Huggers" website where they have lots of patterns for both knitting and crochet, along with great information.

On a happier note, we survived the first rain of the season and the mountains have stayed-put for now. We are only about 1/2-mile away from the foot of the mountains and the mudflow has been forecasted as possibly traveling as far down as a mile to our main boulevard. The city and county are taking precautions very seriously this time around. We had a wildfire way back in 1978, which was nothing in comparison to what we just went through in August/September, and had mudslides as a result. It was bad. Come to find out that the debris basins had not been cleaned-out. Well, it's completely different this time around, thank goodness. We still have a long rainy season to get through and with an El Nino forecasted, we are still not out of the woods, so to speak. The danger of mudslides can remain for up to three years, but today is a beautiful, sunny, crystal-clear day with temps supposedly reaching into the 80s! Only in California do we go from the 60s to the 80s in the span of a day! Go figure

I am so excited for baseball tonight - the Dodgers play Game One of the NLCS against the Phillies. We lost to them last year. Hopefully, this year will have a different outcome. I'm dreaming of a Dodgers-Angels World Series! That would be so awesome!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's All Greek To Me

I regularly watch Food Network for four shows in particular: Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa & Back to Basics and Giada DeLaurentiis' Everyday Italian & Giada at Home. I find most of their recipes easy to make and absolutely delicious. I was watching this week when I saw Ina Garten make "Greek Panzanella" and decided to make it to have with barbequed chicken for our dinner tonight. It is absolutely delicious and the bread just adds to the texture and flavor of the dish. If you like Greek-style salads, you may want to give this one a try - it's a keeper!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Okay, just a few. Here are some photos I took yesterday. I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


THANK YOU for putting your lives on the line for all of us and for keeping our city and homes safe. Thank you doesn't seem adequate, but it comes from the heart and we will be forever grateful. We mourn the loss of two heroes, Tedmund Hall and Arnaldo Quinones, who died while trying to find an escape route for their charges.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fire Update

This is how our mountains look from my neighborhood. A few of my neighbors and I walked two blocks up this evening to see how bad the flames looked from another perspective. Wow. This view is from a distance of ten blocks, which is still too close for comfort. They have evacuated the streets above this point; however, not everyone has left. We got an emergency mandatory evacuation order this morning at 2:15 a.m. We talked to the sheriff's officer and asked if we had to leave and he said no; we should do what we felt we had to do. We stayed (we are in no immediate danger). I'm not so sure about later tonight or early in the morning. Things can change so quickly, as we have all learned over these past 5 days and counting. My neighbors and I are going to go take another look in a bit to see how far it has progressed. This fire is massive and it shows no signs of ending any time soon. There is so much fuel that hasn't burned since 1976 and it is tinder dry from years of drought. Wouldn't you know that this would be the year that El Nino is supposed to show up. You know what comes next - mudslides.
I feel so emotional about all this and am close to tears this evening. One of my favorite places is on fire - the wilderness park that has brought so much beauty and joy to my life. My cousin and I loved to hike here. I also can't help thinking about all the wildlife; it absolutely breaks my heart. I know that people and houses are the first priority, of course, but this is their home too.
Mt. Wilson, along with countless other communities that cover something like 134 square miles, are in danger or have been burned. They say it will be September 15th before it will be under control - that's two weeks away. My heart goes out to everyone who is anxiously watching and waiting to see what this monster fire is going to do next.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Still Burning

I haven't been doing any crafting or jewelry-making, as I've been keeping a close watch on the fire that is raging here. This thing is just massive and as of tonight, racing toward Mt. Wilson where communication and telecommunication towers that serve all of the greater LA area, as well as an observatory, are situated. The magnitude is just mind-boggling. I just spoke to my cousin who lives about six miles from here and it's raging where she is right now. There is just no end in sight. Two firefighters lost their lives today battling this monster. What they do is so brave and so appreciated. My heart goes out to their families. They are doing an absolutely amazing job.
If you are affected by this fire, stay safe.

God Bless Our Firefighters.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Here We Go Again

This was the scene we had around 8:50 a.m. this morning from our backyard. A fire broke out yesterday afternoon and it was quite smokey for quite a while. Towards evening, the smoke seemed to have dissipated quite a bit and we didn't see any last night while taking our nightly walk, but it seems as though it has kicked-up again or this is a different fire. As of this morning, the "Station Fire" was only 20% contained. This seems like it is closer to us, although I'm waiting for the local news to come on and see what the heck is going on. I just went out to take a look and it has gotten wider by the look of the smoke. We are constantly hearing airplanes as they go back and forth getting boron or water for their drops. This is very unsettling. It's good that it is nowhere near human homes, but I always think about all the poor animals who are affected. It seems like they are always the forgotten victims of wildfires.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Look Who Visited Us Today...

...Bob. As in Bobcat! This morning one of the scrub jays was outside having an absolute fit. I looked out the window and saw a cat under the lilac bush. I, of course, assumed that it was "Marmalade", my little friend who visits fairly regularly. I went outside and called him, but he wouldn't come out, which was very unusual. He usually runs out to greet me. I said, "Marmalade, what's the matter with you?" and upon looking more closely I realized, that's not Marmalade - THAT'S A BOBCAT! He was smaller than one we had that visited us back in January of 2008. I had some errands to run and when I returned he was laying on the cement in front of our windows that face out to the backyard. I was able to get these pictures (they aren't the best, but I had to take them through the screen and do it fairly fast as to not really scare him off). He ended up moving to another spot in the yard and was there until late this afternoon when he moved on. I was worried that Marmalade would come sauntering into the yard and become his breakfast, lunch or dinner, but thankfully, that didn't happen. If this had been a mountain lion, I would have been extremely concerned and would have called animal control to come and tranquilize it and move it back up to our nearby hills. They are around and a 200-pound cat was seen up at a popular wilderness park about a mile from here which, needless to say, put a kabosh on my hiking there. The park ranger said, "Oh, they more than likely are around, watching people hiking and you don't even know they're there." Somehow the thought of a 200-pound cat eyeing me and trying to decide if I should be its next meal doesn't make me feel very safe. Call me crazy. I'll stick to Descanso Gardens, thank you very much.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

One Can Dream...

... of cooler days! It is another toasty day here, but I met my dear friend "K" at one of our favorite spots, Descanso Gardens, this morning for stitching and good conversation. She is working on quilt pieces for a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt and I started a cross stich pattern I had bought last year. I figured if I start now, I'll have it finished in another couple of "stitching days" we meet for and will be able to hang it on my Christmas tree this year! I thought it was apropos to stitch this on such a warm day. While we sat stitching, we were fascinated by the dragonflys that almost seemed to be dancing from flower-to-flower around the pond. There were three large orange ones and about four smaller blue ones that almost seemed to glow in the sunlight. I think I made good progress on my first Christmas ornament for this season!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Absolute Perfection

A week-and-a-half ago I met a dear friend for a walk at Descanso Gardens and lunch. After lunch, we went to a couple of local quilt shops where we each bought some fabric. After we said so long, I decided to go up to one of my favorite spots, that being Deukmejian Wilderness Park. The sky was absolutely stunning that day. It was very warm out, somewhere around 90 degrees, but there was a lovely breeze. I walked around the lower complex and ventured up one of the paths for a short distance, but not too far. There is a sign posted that a mountain lion has been spotted in the area and to be vigilent and not hike alone. This is one creature I never want to come anywhere near. I then found a bench under some pine trees and sat there taking in all the sights and sounds of this special place, high in the hills overlooking our lovely little valley and the Los Angeles basin in the distance. As I sat there with a wonderful breeze blowing, I was thinking that it didn't get much better than that. It was absolute perfection for that moment in time.