Pounding

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One block North of me, a second house on the lot across the alley is going up and it’s a monster. I’m amazed whoever’s doing it received approval for it from the city. Talk about “mansion-ization”. This building fills the back half of the property almost completely. There is enough room to walk around it but that’s it and it’s taller than all the other houses in the area including the one in front of it on the same lot.

Sorry for the blur. Pic taken through 2 window panes.

Sorry for the blur. Pic taken through 2 dirty window panes.

I’ve been listening to the pounding of nails since last August when someone added on to a back house just two doors over from the current pounding. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is more metal in these two structures than wood based on the amount of pounding I’ve had to listen to. The pounders (aka construction workers) start at 7 a.m. and quit at 3 p.m. on most days. So much for any hope of sleeping in.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I guess this means the second “Great Depression” is over. Though if asked, most people would still question that. Just my opinion from what I’ve heard. Thankfully, they don’t work every day of the week. They must have several jobs going at once. But every Monday, without fail, they are over there nailing their hearts out.

The red on the right is the roof of the house in front. You're looking at the 2nd floor.

The red on the right is the roof of the house in front. You’re looking at the 2nd floor.

I’ll have to make a point of driving by the front house because from what I can see, it sure looks like the new construction is practically sitting on the front structure. Guess no backyard for people who wind up in the back house. On top of that, the building is built right up to the alley. Really can’t believe the city permitted this.

On a completely different note, I just made an appointment with the DMV. It seems I’m not going to luck out a third time and get my new license in the mail just by paying the fee. Nope, have to go in. Ugh. They want a new photo, fingerprint and vision test. Grump, grump, grump. Even with an appointment you still wind up waiting. Such a waste of time. On top of that, the DMV closed 11 offices in California for four to five months. They don’t say why but I’m guessing it’s due to budget cuts.

The extremely easy-to-get-to Pasadena branch is one of the shuttered offices so I have to go to the West Covina branch which is an unholy pain to get to. The area it’s located in has all kinds of one-way streets on angles. The street names change for no rhyme or reason. Actually that’s not true. It’s because it’s the juncture of several cities with extremely irregular borders weaving in and out of each other. So it’s very easy to get lost there.

I had to go to UPS over there to drop off a package about ten years ago and it was a nightmare. Plus the 10 freeway cuts right through the area which doesn’t help. I scheduled the appointment for 3:30 in hopes everyone will be focused on getting home for the holiday weekend  and not clogging up the DMV. Please pray for it to be a “good hair day” for me. Hopefully the nasty zit smack dab in the middle of my left cheek will be gone by Friday too, ’cause I’ll be stuck with this photo for ten years.

And now I’ll leave you with a little video. Remember laughter is the best medicine. :)

 

It’s Only April 8th. I Want a Do-Over

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Hi, hope all is well at your end of the internet. I haven’t written much in the last months about the weather. However, that is about to change. Sorry. And for those of you still dealing with a miserably hard winter, this won’t make you happy. But then again, it doesn’t make me happy either. So we’re even. Sort of.

The temps for yesterday were predicted to be in the upper 90′s. Specifically 99F (37+C). They’re also in the same range for today and tomorrow. This is mind-numbing since it’s only April 8. The temps inside yesterday got up to 83F (28+C). This is just too early for such hideously hot weather. I just had the heat on last week!

I wilt in the heat and truly hate perspiring. At least yesterday the humidity was only 16%. Sadly the wind was 1 mph so basically non-existant. Today’s humidity is only 12%. Auugh.

Photo Source.

Photo Source.  It’s just too early for this. Way too early.

I had hoped to revive my container garden by now and have the herbs and a patio tomato or two planted before hitting this kind of weather. Arrgh. Thursday and Friday should be in the low 90′s and then mid-80′s for the weekend. Still too hot for this time of year. At this rate I’ll never get the container garden going.

After my lightbox and excimer treatments today, I actually stopped on the way home and bought a desk fan. Seems I have to buy a new one every year. They just sort of croak by the end of our long summers and having to constantly run. If I start using this new one so early, I’ll probably have to buy another in July just to get through to November.

Also need to dig out my water-spritzer hand fan too. That was a lifesaver last August, September and October!

I’ll also have to ask the landlord to replace the window air conditioner in the bedroom. After seven years it’s pretty bad at producing cold air. It’s more like a glorified fan at this point. The number of BTU’s is too low for the space it’s to cover.

On a totally different note, I have another video to share with you. Wait till you see the expression on the little white dog’s face.
Darn, I’m doing something wrong and the link won’t show the video in this post, so just click on the link below.  It’s very short and very sweet.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/618360?playlist_id=1031&asset_scope=all

Isn’t his face expressive? Poor little guy. Well, I hope you’re having a nice evening, bye for now.

Gloria, Links and Surveys

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Okay, now I officially feel old. Just found out that Gloria Steinem turned 80 on Tuesday. OMG! Where did the time go? Seems like only a year or two ago, that she was declaring “this is what 40 looks like”. I didn’t need that first thing in the morning. Really. I didn’t.

Already I can see this post is going to be one of those “a little bit of this and a little bit of that” types just because I have a number of unrelated stories and links to share. First up:

I recently found an interesting site called BookBub.com. Every day you receive an email with about three to five links to e-books from Amazon for Kindle. Now I don’t have a Kindle but do have the app on my desktop computer. The limited time prices range from $3.99 to FREE. No affiliation by the way, just thought someone out there might like the link.

You can specify your preferences for the genre of books you prefer. So far, I’ve probably downloaded over 60 free books to my Kindle cloud! I may never get to them all, but they don’t cost me anything in money or computer storage and they’re not filling up my living space. Win-win.

This morning on Pinterest I found a link to an Amazon Kindle e-book that was also a freebie. If you click on “Photo Source” below the pic, you’ll be taken to Amazon where you can get the book for free (at least as of today). Again, no relation to Amazon or author, it’s free. :)

After my last post where I talked about CCD, only a day later, I found this.

A semi hauling “42,000 pounds of honey created “one sweet mess” when it overturned on the 605 Freeway on Monday afternoon, forcing the closure of four lanes through the city of Industry, Caltrans officials said.” What a shame, especially if we’re losing so many bees.

Late last May, I signed up at e-rewards.com for surveys. I didn’t use it till about six months later, but it’s very interesting. I’ve made $162.85 in rewards to date by taking a few surveys a week. They don’t take long and one gets points if you finish a survey. Even if you don’t you still get points just for trying to qualify.

This translates into real money. For example I could use $145 of my rewards for a $50 Starbucks gift card. Or $75 for a $25 e-gift card at Macy’s. I could also give to a charity like Kiva. For $40, e-rewards would provide a $100 loan to Kiva. There are other retail, music, restaurant, and travel partners too.

I’ve tried out a number of other survey sites, but they often require you to buy something to get points. Some send you info on a survey, but when you fill in the initial info, you’re not accepted so it’s a waste of time. Not so with e-rewards. So if you find yourself with time on your hands, check it out. I’m glad I did. Again, no affiliation.

Remember when I mentioned I was learning HTML and CSS online a few months back? Well, I just found a new education site, Coursera. It has 630 free courses. I’m looking at one from Stanford University called Computer Science 101. Yes, I probably know most of it since I’ve been using the internet since the mid ’80s but I thought I’d take a look especially since I’m completely self-taught.

This was my first Mac with a whopping 128K. !!! Since then I’ve pretty much stayed with Macs because of graphics. Although I did go to the “dark side” for ten years in the mid-90′s. Then I returned with a new iBook. Here’s a timeline of Mac’s life.

Image Source.

Image Source. Click on the “Image Source” link to get a better look.

Anyhow, as I said I might already know a lot of what will be covered in Computer Science 101, but it never hurts to look especially for free. The breadth of subject matter in Coursera is stunning. Some things sound extremely esoteric but then if you want to learn Ukrainian, you’ll find four classes. If you’ve thought of something you want to learn or brush up on, then you might have a look. Again no affiliation. I’m just always surprised at how much can be found online.

CCD, GMO’s and Other Acronyms

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When I published my last post, I discovered I’d posted 200 posts here on WordPress. A lot but if you add the 513 posts from when I was back at Blogger…I really surprised myself. Especially for someone who never thought she’d have all that much to write about.

Continuing on my previous post mentioning climate change and backyard gardening I ran across some scary information. First up today, GM foods. Love them or hate them, I ran across this video of ten worrisome things about them. You might want to have a look.

It’s odd, but with all the testing and so on this country does on prescription drugs before they’re released, no one is monitoring our food sources. It more than creeps me out thinking that big corporations are gaining control over the food supply in the world. Forget overthrowing governments. Just control the food. You’ll be able to cripple whole countries and economies.

We’re already screwing with Mother Nature by using incredibly noxious pesticides and fungicides freely. On July 25, 2013 “a first-of-its-kind study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a witch’s brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once”. It’s quite an enlightening article.

What I don’t get is why most people don’t seem at all alarmed by either GM foods or the nasty chemicals or the apparent fact that the government seems to be in bed with BigAg by just ignoring it all.

Getting off my soapbox now, it’s funny how one thing leads to another when googling for information. The above image led to finding a site called Anonymous Art of Revolution. It’s an incredibly long list of quotes in an art format. Like the following:

Warning:  It is rather addicting. Sort of like a sub-version of Pinterest. Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Tomatoes and Shamrocks

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A happy St. Patrick’s Day and week. Welcome to the Grey House Journal. I’m here to say that if climate change and greenhouse warming aren’t real (a belief held by the person I was formally married to) then I’m a green parrot. I base this observation solely on my personal experience with the weather btw.

Photo Source.

Photo Source. Obligatory photo of a person wearing green.

So it’s mid-March and the high for Monday is supposed to be 85F (29C). Last Sunday, the high was 97F (36.1C) and the humidity was 3%. Can I just say that this is insane. Frankly, winter has skipped Southern California entirely this year and I feel cheated. I love our winters, it’s my favorite time of year here. (My apologies to those who have endured/are enduring polar vortex after polar vortex.)

Currently I’m sitting in a light T-shirt with pants of the same weight and fabric and I’m rather hot ’cause it’s 82F (27C) in the house right now at 3 PM. Since I want to resurrect my container garden I decided to check a website, “All Things Plants”, it lets you enter your zip code and it will produce a guide for what to plant and when. Found it last year in May, when I wanted to know when to plant tomatoes only to learn I was SOL…too late.

Tomatoes of the Past

Tomatoes of the Past.  This particular plant re-volunteered for four years.

I entered South Pasadena as a location, which is in the general area of where I live and I’m already too late! AAAUUUGGHH. There was another link on that site to “A Way to Garden.com” which has more info on the same. Essentially we can plant year round.

Tomato seedlings should have gone out as early as last September. Personally I disagree with that since it was still in the 100′s then. So I need to get my rear in gear and figure out the container/grill/umbrella arrangement out back. Hopefully my “assistant”, T. will have a few hours free this week or next to move pots around and go to Home Depot to pick up three to ? bags of potting soil to fill them up with.

Google is just remarkable. I suddenly thought “just how much soil will I need per pot?”. So googled “how much soil for container tomatoes” and found a slew of info. So now I need to go out tomorrow and measure the pots as well as decide on the arrangement.

Next, I wondered where I was going to get tomato plants without having to navigate a huge Home Depot store?” So I googled “tomato plants for sale” and voila, found another gaggle of sites. Overall, even with shipping, it’ll amount to maybe $10 extra over a trip to HD. That, quite frankly, is cheap to avoid traipsing all over HD.

Talk About Extremes

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My apologies for the absence but the skin problems took me away from the computer for two weeks. The post below was written on March 1, 2014. Isn’t the rain beautiful?

March 1, 1014
RAIN! It started around 1 a.m. Friday and woke me up! Joy of joys! We and the rest of the country that benefits from California’s produce, needed it soooooo much. It will not take us out of the drought but anything is a gift.

We went from .25% rainfall for the winter to flash floods in the blink of an eye. Supposedly it’s supposed to go on for a day or three. Thank heavens! So far it rained most of Friday and most of this afternoon. Quite heavily at times.

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Much of the back and front yards are under water. I don’t want to even think how much water has leaked into the garage in two spots. :(  Hopefully nothing will be damaged.

This afternoon, as I sat here typing this post we even had the thrill of rolling thunder. First, at about 1 p.m. for a good ten minutes. Blue would have been beside himself and I would have had to tether him on the short leash to my chair to calm him as I noted in a past post.

About two hours later, more thunder and about an hour later, even more. All while pouring heavily. The front brick flower planters have a good four inches of water in them. Of course, the guys who built them for the landlord did not put in any means of draining them, so hopefully the plants in them will survive being under water till it evaporates.

Funny, while sitting here, my cell phone gave off an odd ring and a text message appeared announcing flash floods were predicted in nearby areas. Never had that happen before.

So now its about 6:30 p.m. and all’s quiet. Tomorrow supposedly has a 40% chance of rain. Hopefully it will show up. So it was quite a “weather” day here in normally sunny  So Cal. Finally.

Belated Happy Valentine’s Day

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I wrote this post on February 13 and totally forgot about it (in fact the avocado part of this post repeats itself in a future post since I completely forgot this post in light of the upcoming surgery) so since I’ve gone mad publishing several posts today, what’s another one? So get in Mr. Sherman and Peabody’s WABAC/Wayback Machine and relive February 13.

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Photo Source. The link has some interesting info btw.

Since receiving the news about my lip, I’ve had nightmares off and on. This isn’t normal for me so I’m attributing it to fear of the unknown. Fortunately Joanne of the blog, Eats Well With Others posted a comment on Tuesday that of all the cancers one can get, squamous has the best prognosis which is probably why Dr. Z was smiling when she gave me the news.

Well, that apparently took a load off my mind because the last two nights have been nightmare-free! Thanks Joanne! This is why I like blogging, you get to meet the best people! Joanne btw is an MD/PhD student in NYC and has some great vegetarian recipes like this one. Can’t wait to make these yummy cabbage rolls.

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Photo Source.  Stuffed Cabbage with Ricotta, Rice and Pine Nuts.

She also has an ample supply of baked goods and sweets. So in honor of Valentine’s Day, let me intoduce you to a wonderful, easy red velvet cake from Joanne. Her Rosy Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. OMG.

And I just so happen to have two bricks of Philly Cream Cheese in the fridge with no mission other than to grace a bagel this weekend. I may just hijack one and make this cake. Seems like quite an easy recipe.

What I like about her vegetarian recipes is that they’re not all cold lettuce salads. Especially in winter, I like some warm meals. Not that it’s been that cold here of late. (Sorry if you’re sitting in snow.) It’s been in the 80′s (26 – 32C) which is totally confusing all the plant life. For example the avocado tree had only three four avocados on it this winter which the squirrels got to first.

My Yellowing Avocado.

My Yellowing Avocado.

Normally it has hundreds of green pear shaped fruits. But this year only three four and it flowered in January. Normally the tree flowers in March or April.

Healthy Avocado, two doors over. Note, very green leaves.

Healthy Avocado, two doors over. Note, very green leaves.

Well, I got off-track there didn’t I? I still didn’t introduce you to Joanne’s Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette which I made…how could I not?

Photo Source.

Photo Source. Look at it…delicious!

The only thing I did differently is cut down on the amount of squash and up the onions. Love caramelized onions. Seriously delicious. Kind of reminded me of Trader Joe’s A Taste of Alsace “tart/pizza”. Only better!

You might also want to check out her Spinach and Chard Ravioli Nudi. You’ll recall my post a while back on gnocchi and gnudi. Never knew the difference till I did a little research.

Nudi or gnudi are easier to make than gnocchi that use potatoes. They turn into the softest little pillows which when napped with a homemade tomato sauce are utterly delicious. Note: the post for the above nudi includes a recipe for a simple tomato sauce also.

And before fresh cranberries and Meyer Lemons vanish till next year I want to make her Meyer Lemon Cranberry Poppy Seed Muffins.

Don’t these look delicious? She described them as not overly sweet, which is right up my alley. So do take a little stroll over and visit her blog Eats Well with Others, you won’t regret it! Enjoy!

And thank you Joanne for allaying my fears, I slept much better! xo

Trilogy: Part lll

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This post didn’t get finished or published when I planned…was recovering from the lip surgery, so this has turned into “A Trilogy” and this is Part lll.

Recovering (Sorry, no photos…but would you really want any?)

So it’s been three days since the surgery and I have to say, so far I’m impressed.  Surprisingly little to no pain! All seems to be progressing well. I iced the daylights out of it (in intervals of course) per the doctor and nurses and it’s really gone down.

Did give me an idea of how I’d look if I had my lips augmented like some actresses and celebrities.

Of course, it isn’t a really great example since my lower lip is sitting quite petite-like under the upper one. :)  Yes, still puffy, though not nearly as much. And the wound sight still looks like…well…a wound in all ways, but cancer-free. Yay!

Getting used to the schedule of pills, cleansing and so on, but nothing as bad as I’d feared (let’s knock on wood…just in case). Fortunately, my friend S. gave me a handful of straws when she dropped me off (the woman has quite a large stash from fast food places in her glove compartment!) which was great since trying not to get the dressing wet with the remaining puffy lip requires drinking through a straw in the far left corner of my mouth.

I’ve actually been shocked at the food I’m able to eat. Thought for sure I’d be using my immersion blender to puree the noodles into the broth of the Campbell’s chicken noodle soup…but no. This is way better than my previously posted recollection of wisdom teeth removal in college. :)

Facts I’ve discovered:
- This kind of surgery can result in cold sores so I have pills to take
- Ditto with psoriasis outbreaks at the wound site, but no pills
- Ice is your best friend (well, you probably already knew that)
- Don’t touch wound site even with a clean facial tissue (I really threw them into a tizzy when I did)
- Only use a sterile gauze pad or Q-tip to touch the site
- Apply Aquaphor or Vaseline to keep area moist and again, no fingers, etc.

So that’s the way it is here at Grey House and I’m very thankful for the end result to all of this. If I was a bit too graphic or descriptive for your tastes, sorry, but I felt it was needed to help anyone else who may find themselves in a similar boat. The “C-word” isn’t as bad as one’s mind can make it seem sometimes. Bless you and peace.

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