Saturday, December 24, 2005

Kiki uses a treadmill!

I never thought I'd see the day, but when I did it wasn't surprising that he was using it for napping purposes only.

Zack's closet

It's not every day that you come across a closet with contents like this. And so, I post this closet photo for you to observe and/or admire...

I outdid myself, I really really did!

I made this totally awesome (not to be boastful here, but seriously, as I was making it, I was impressing the pants off of, well, me!) knitting bag for my amazing cousin Amelia. Basically it's a tote-bag, but on the inside I sewed a pocket with a lot of skinny sections in it specifically to hold needles. So I guess that means that when not in use for a knitting project it would make a handy purse.
Since she loves horses, I decided I would quilt a horse on the bag, so first I decided to see if I could draw a horse - as it turns out, I COULD draw a horse - then it was a simple case of fabric selection, carefully cutting, and hours and hours of sewing by hand (which is easily one of my least favourite tasks).
Finding purse handles was also tricky, after deciding against every ugly pre-made gigantic purse handle available, I stumbled across wooden numbers and letters for house fronts. Two "O"s made perfectly adequate, and much more charming handles. I topped it off by including yarn and needles in the bag...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

'Tis the season...

I put up my tree. Then, without planning, ended up finding ornaments that I actually liked, purchased them and decorated. The question then is, how many dinosaurs can you fit in a 1 foot tree?

Friday, December 09, 2005

The 2-day Quilt

I'm really not a big fan of x-mas gift exchanges. You have a limited budget, and so very few people are creative enough to get something cool with it that you end up with a singing santa or ugly snowflake doilies, or cheesy stuffed x-mas trees, or hideous wooden snowmen, or I don't know what - but essentially something that you don't want, will never use, and will probably end up donating to the Goodwill, where it will then be picked up by someone else, presumably to bring to a gift exchange... I have one of these gift exchanges tonight.

Well, being ME, I of course take the challenging route and decide to make something. Something appropriately x-massy without being too x-massy, but also being within budget. I went to the Goodwill. I bought several (overpriced) sweaters - I think my local Goowill is totally overcharging, I need to find a different charity store for future projects.

Anyway, so I buy several sweaters, demolish them all, sew like MAD for 2 days, and complete a reversible quilt to give away tonight. See pictures above. On the purple snowflake side you can barely make out the seams - which are at funky angles to make up for lack of colour, and you can also barely make out the silver star buttons scattered throughout - but believe me, they're there!

Needless to say, I got NO work done during this time period.
Also needless to say, I will doubtless be returning to the Goodwill to drop off whatever it is that I receive at the exchange tonight...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

"Perspective" for Kilometres

It's just a trellis, you know, for grapes to vine on, but the sky was so blue I knew I had to take a picture.

Epitaph for some sneaks

Alas the time finally came to shed my old Adidas sneaks. I'd had them since 10th grade. They served me very well. In fact, for many many years they and my old Docs (replaced 2 years ago at xmas thanks to a very wise gift from mum) were the two pairs I wore alternating (despite having a gallery of other shoes to choose from).
I tried to find suitable alternates for the best burgundy sneakers ever, and was unable to find a) burgundy or b) equal comfort, a pair of black ones were purchased, briefly worn, and sent to goodwill. A pair of blue ones were purchased, still worn, but never equaled the comfort. The Simples equalled comfort, but died a miserable death after only 2 years - wore right through the soles! Even these Adidas, I have been slowly wearing through the heel, and only recently (nearly 12 years later!) actually broke through the rubber!
Oh burgundy Adidas sneakers, you will be greatly missed, but it is time to say goodbye, and hello to the cute new white and orange ones that I can only hope will last me another decade.

Friday, November 25, 2005

what's worse than socks and sandals?

I guess there are several things that are worse than socks and sandals - but for an example, I would like to present exhibit A, above. Here we have a walk down to Manhattan Beach, CA, and the look of choice appears to have been tights with plaid shorts and white socks and tennis shoes. If it was cool enough to do such extensive layering, one might consider wearing pants. However, this clearly made a much more uh... "definitive" uh... "fashion" statement. Well, it might not have been "fashion", but it was definitely a statement. Loud and clear!

Monday, November 21, 2005


In light of the holiday that fast approaches I was greeted by this. A chocolate turkey. I suppose that this follows in the Easter tradition of chocolate bunnies. At Thanksgiving we eat an actual turkey for dinner, so now at Easter I imagine we should be eating an actual bunny for dinner. Then for desest and breakfast at both holidays we eat the chocolate form of the meat we have just consumed. Then, what should naturally follow is leftover bunny sandwiches the week after Easter, and some sort of hunt for... cranberries? at Thanksgiving.
As a friend recently stated "Americans can turn ANY holiday into a mass-marketing scheme", I thought there was enough evidence of this already...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Cat Cage

After over 2 months of Kiki happily hanging out on the edge of the patio wall, he finally jumped. He had never shown any inclination to escape this way previously, and the one day he got up the guts and bailed. Of course he did this at night, so I was left peering around the bushes in my PJs with a flashlight trying to locate the renegade kitty. Luckily (?) for me, a group of teenage boys had seen him and directed me to where he had gone. Not surprisingly this was in the direction of traffic.
For a solution, my brilliant mother suggested I put chicken wire over the top of my patio so that my plants still get sun and rain (when there is rain) but effectively trapping the cat. I did it, it worked, the cat is now caged in. Naturally he paced and meowed at the caging hoping that by being loud it might go away, whatever this new trapping this was.
All was well until I stupidly left the upstairs patio door open. While in the earlier set up of no chicken wire, the upstairs patio was an easy one for me to leave open, the worst that would happen is that Kiki would hop up on the edge and precariously wander over to Karen's patio next door. The jump down from there was WAY too much. Until now. Now I have unwittingly set up a safety net over the downstairs patio. A safety net made of chicken wire. You can imagine my surprise to see the cat ON TOP of the chicken wire with the downstairs patio door closed. How on earth???? I wondered?????
The other photos are pretty flowers from around the apartment complex. I took these today on my way to doing laundry. It's kinda cool to see flowers still bright and pretty in November!

Friday, November 11, 2005

The 24th Street Cafe of Deliciousness

Bakersfield has a little hidden gem of a breakfast-lunch place. This is called the 24th Street Cafe. It is located on 24th Street, as one might expect.
They are Toba-like in flavour and quality, but have a more extensive menu and only serve breakfast and lunch. The sandwiches are comparable to the crazy awesome ones that Kilometres invents with avocado on them. Their Belgian waffles are the size of Belgium with almond butter on them and fresh whipped cream. We had the best ever scramble there: prosciutto, brie and sun dried tomato! Sourdough bread that is toasted to perfection! Rusty tricycle decor! Fat chef sign! Waitresses that know how to wait! Who remember your order! Who are friendly and sweet and never let your coffee mug empty to the bottom! Who could ask for anymore?

Except that maybe they would be open for dinner...

Customer Service

Back when I first arrived here in August, I was sleeping on an air mattress. This actually translated to me NOT sleeping on an air mattress. Stupid lack of ability to sleep on not-comfortable things. So, I quickly remedied the situation by buckling down and buying an actual mattress of substance. A quality mattress. A hypoallergenic mattress. A comfortable mattress. I decided going without food was more bearable than going without sleep. As it turns out, I don't function well with a lack of either of those things.
It took me a while to decide on the winning mattress, and Karen and I explored a few mattress places in Bakersfield. You know, places like "Mattress Land", "Mattress Depot", "Mattress World", etc. At one of said places we met the WORST imaginable salesman ever in the history of salesmen. Firstly, he was the size of 10 or 11 regular salesmen. While you might think this would give him the power of more than 1 salesman, it seems to have been more of a hinderance. I state what I'm looking for. I state my price range. He says "why would you move here? you're not a geologist, you need to go to Yosemite, you don't want that, you ACTUALLY want this and this and this and that won't work and you're wasting your time and there's great waterfalls but not now and you can't just buy a mattress..." and Karen said "I'll be out in the Karen" abandonning me with the freak who CLEARLY doesn't want to sell me a mattress, even though that's obviously the point of his job. I barely escaped. We went elsewhere. I found the perfect mattress. I bought it. I convinced my new neighbour, who I met when I went and asked him this favour, to pick it up for the warehouse for me in his truck.


At a delicious feast for us new folk put on by the president of the College (see example of his neighbourhood in photo) Karen and I were chatting with a couple who had just had a mattress buying adventure. Where did you go, I ask? Oh, to "Mattress Land" or "Mattress World" or something. Oh really? How bad did the salesman suck? I ask. The husband starts to laugh - he was terrible, he says! I left Becky in the store while I waited in the car! Same guy, obviously...


While I was at the GOOD mattress store, I fell in love with this child's captain bed. It had shelving in the headboard, was all high up off the ground thus creating a world of storage beneath. All this is good for me, as I selected the smaller room for my bedroom. However, I couldn't afford the bed at that time. So I decided to order it after the next paycheck.
Turns out it's a custom order, you can get any colour you want. So I order a yellow full-size bed to go with my blue mattress and green dresser - it's going to take a month to come in. So, I settle in to the "patient waiting" and continue to sleep on the floor.
After a month I get the phone call that the bed is ready, so I head on down to the store to pay the balance and pick it up. The lady says she'll call the warehouse to let them know that I'm on my way to pick up the Twin Captain's Bed. "TWIN???? It's a double! A full!" I say a little aghast at 1) how outrageously priced that would be for a twin and 2) that she would even say that considering the order form on the desk between us clearly says double on it. "No, it's a twin, she says cheerfully". "NO, I reply, it's a double, I ordered a double to go with the double mattress that I bought from you." She looks crestfallen. She glances at the order form, typed by her or one of her associates that says "full captain bed, sunflower yellow" on it. "We don't make mistakes often", she says.
Well, I seriously hope not. But how does THAT make me feel any better??? I'm like "I'm sure that you can remedy this, and I'm certain that you can provide free delivery and set up as well". I angrily storm out of the store - which is on the opposite side of town from where I live, and is not a particularly pleasant drive to get to.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


That's almost an alliteration. So this cost $4.50 at the Goodwill, and is CLEARLY worth EVERY penny!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

General Sherman

This is seriously one big tree. Thanks to Richard Goode, my new "rock buddy" for taking the photos and stitching them together!
How seriously big is this tree? Let me tell you. This tree, while not the tallest, broadest or oldest, is the BIGGEST LIVING THING ON EARTH by volume.
That's how seriously big it is.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Produce Irony

This is a cucmuber purchased at the grocery store here in California.

Big Indian Chief of Oildale

Karen and I went to the Corral Cafe last night for a beer with Kris after a long, hard, week's work. The reason we decided (I decided) to go there is because earlier in the month we had driven by this place and saw the giant (politically incorrect, I'm sure) Indian standing there, greeting passers by with a raised hand. He stands tall, more impressive than David, with a poem between his legs. Please note the trees for scale. Beers were $2.50 a pint. The Corral Cafe is my new favourite bar of all time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Crystal Cave, Sequoia National Park



While in Sequoia National Park this weekend I came across an old friend - or at least a distant cousin of an old friend. While the maples were starting to turn all gold and orange and maple-y, they did not produce their sweet sweet syrup. Alas!