Friday, April 22, 2011

So... That Was Cool, or The Time the President of the United States Came to Dinner

Yesterday evening my friend Barack Obama came to eat dinner.  Well, okay, he didn't come to my house.  And alright, if you push me, I'll admit that he didn't even eat with me.  But I'm sure that was just because he was being considerate.  You know, he understands that I'm busy and didn't want to bother me.  He's thoughtful that way.  But really, the POTUS did eat down the street from my apartment at a fancy restaurant in Brentwood.  There was a lot of police presence and tons of yellow tape everywhere.
I got the impression that Angelenos were scarred by the last time the President came to visit L.A. because most people in my office freaked out when they learned that he would be in town.  The traffic in L.A. is near disastrous on a regular basis; when they shut down major arteries for presidential security, it becomes a nightmare. 
Luckily I was able to escape work about an hour early and squeeze in right before the police closed off my street.  From what I've read on random LA Traffic websites, I also managed to slip out about 30 minutes ahead of a shut down to the area where I work.  So... that was good.   
I did go out and try to see the motorcade, but no one was being too specific on his route (for good reason), and I happened to pick the wrong corner.  But that's okay, there are youtube videos if you or I really want to see it.

Mostly, it was great to stand around with the crowds of my neighbors and chat about the excitement, the traffic, the weather, and everything else.  I live in a pretty great city, and in a pretty swell neighborhood- full of diversity- but it's easy to lose sight of that. 

So thanks for coming to dinner, Mr. President. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Beautiful World: Care Package

This came in the mail for me yesterday and it was completely surprising and entirely timely!  I definitely needed a pick-me-up yesterday, and it was perfect.  Best thing ever: personal sparklers for indoor use!  Rachel, you know me so well!  Thanks buddy!

And as always, if you aren't interested in Beautiful World Posts, no worries! Just scroll down to the most recent long post, tagged "Musings" and click on the tag. It will remove all the "BeautifulWorld" tagged posts from the page.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beautiful World: Porch Garden

This is what my porch garden looked like a few weeks ago.  The geraniums are going to town and the sweet alyssum is just wonderful.  It smells divine and is overflowing its pots!  There's a gerbera daisy in the background, and a little orange cactus.  Fantastic.

And as always, if you aren't interested in Beautiful World Posts, no worries! Just scroll down to the most recent long post, tagged "Musings" and click on the tag. It will remove all the "BeautifulWorld" tagged posts from the page.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Beautiful World: A Good Saturday's Clutter

When my dining room table looks like this once the sun starts to go down, I firmly believe it's been a good day.
I recently had the occasion to buy "real" water colors that come in a tube, not a Crayola plastic tray!
I love how this tiny vase I got from World Market functions as a water jar for my water-coloring.
It turned a delicious pink!
And as always, if you aren't interested in Beautiful World Posts, no worries! Just scroll down to the most recent long post, tagged "Musings" and click on the tag. It will remove all the "BeautifulWorld" tagged posts from the page.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mara Came to Visit

A couple of weeks ago Mara, Malcolm's sister, came to visit.  She stayed for two weekends with us, and went off exploring Las Vegas with a friend during the week between.  It's especially exciting to have her come to visit, because she's going to be moving to L.A. herself in a few months.  She's going to be an awesome screenwriter one day; her scripts are chilling.  Also, she'd want me to tell you, she's great at high fiving!
We didn't get to show her around as much as we would have liked because of a series of unfortunate events.  For example, on her first Sunday in L.A. I got a migraine, it was pouring rain, and 26.2 of the most prominent and most crucial miles in L.A. were shut down for the L.A. Marathon.  It was a bit difficult. 

We had to take her with us on a bunch of errands, but she seemed tickled to see Trader Joe's and help me pick out crafting supplies for another set of bridal shower invitations I'm making.  So much pink guys!

We also got to take her down to the Pacific, as well as to our old stand-by- the 3rd Street Promenade. 
Mostly, though, it was just nice to see the two siblings be together.  With siblings (I gather) you don't feel like you have to entertain them the whole time they're visiting- it's just nice to interact without the sense of performance.  I don't really quite understand what it must have been like to grow up with someone so close in age to you, and yet, seemingly, worlds away- but it's nice to look in every now and then.   

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Salmon Sandwich with Special Ten Ingredient Mayonnaise

You might remember this picnic I made Malcolm for his birthday:  When I showed it to you the first time, I also told you I would show you how to make this special birthday sandwich.  It's taken me a while, but here it is:

First Step: Go shopping for your ingredients!  I tried to go organic for the produce and fish elements of the meal, partially because I can only afford it for specials and partially because it tastes better that way.  Proably.
You Will Need:

For Preparing the Salmon:
salmon fillet of whatever size you like, skin on
olive oil

For the Sandwich:
thinly sliced, hard-crusted wheat bread
half a red onion
tomatoes, avocados

For the Special 10-Ingredient Mayonnaise:
2-olive oil
3-lemon juice
4-Braun's spicy mustard
5-freshly chopped basil leaves
6-freshly chopped dill
7-the juice from a caper jar

* Please don't ask the cashier where to find/how to pay for love.  You have been warned.

Second Step: Take your salmon fillet and rub it with salt, pepper, about a tablespoon of olive oil, and some sprigs of fresh thyme.  (Which you should grow on your balcony/porch/front stoop.)  Then bake in the oven at 475 degrees F for 15-20 minutes.  This intense but brief heat really helps keep the moisture and flavor in the fish. 
Third Step: Take a fork and flake the yummy cooked salmon off the skin; it should come right off.
Fourth Step: Wash the arugula, snap off the over-long stems and leave it in a cup of water so it can be extra crunchy.
Fifth Step: sautee your red onions so they get a little sweet, a little more potent.
Sixth Step: Make your Special 10 Ingredient Mayo.  The mayo is made by mixing approximately:
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon of spicy mustard
1/4 tablespoon chopped dill
3/4 tablespoon chopped basil
2 teaspoons juice from the caper jar
salt to taste
pepper to taste
love to taste- And yes, I am just THAT cheesy. 
... but really, you should just add these ingredients in a combination that pleases you.  I didn't really measure while I mixed it up.

Seventh Step: Assemble ingredients and admire them.
Eighth & Ninth Step: Toast your wheat bread and spread it with special 10-ingredient mayonnaise.
Eleventh Step: Create a bed of arugula.
Twelfth Step: Add an inspiring layer of your flaked salmon.
Thirteenth Step: Add your lovely cooked/slightly blackened/sauteed red onions.
Optional Step: Add tomatoes or avocados if you feel like it:
Fourteenth (or Fifteenth) Step: Add final piece bread and cut in half. Admire. Possibly admire through your camera's viewfinder like I did.
Final Step: Give your boyfriend his sandwich.  Yay!  Remember to eat a sandwich yourself, silly, you've worked hard!