Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Dilemma

I need some serious advice. I was browsing Etsy (mistake number 1) and stumbled upon this adorable gold charm, and now I have been obsessing about it for the past four days. There is something about it that speaks to me… even though I never wear necklaces and I NEVER wear gold I am convinced that it would become my “signature piece” and I would wear it all the time.
It’s not the money, per se. But still, after shipping it’s $30+ and to spend $30+ on something I’m not sure I’ll ever wear seems silly. Plus, to wear it I’d have to spend more money and buy a chain because, you know, I don’t own any gold. And now I’m not even sure if I love it as much as I think I do or just want it or because I rarely splurge on pretty things for myself.
So what do you think? Should I throw caution to the wind or be sensible? I need some input here, people.     
Please refer to the link here if you need more information before making your decision:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Half Full

I’m not crazy about Florida. Those of you who know me well know that, despite my reserved personality, I have mentioned this fact a handful of times in the past. However, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day I have decided to embrace what I love about our adopted home. So, without further ado, here they are:
Biscuits. Biscuits are awesome. Warm, buttery, flakey; they are pretty much perfect with any meal. Or as any meal… you’ll hear no arguments from me about this one. And they serve them everywhere here. You can get them as a side at virtually any restaurant (Barbeque? Cuban? Ethiopian? No problem!) and most service stations (although I am wary of any food item that comes free with a $10 purchase of gas). Southerners were on to something good when they perfected the biscuit.

Breakfast is ON!

Okra. Okra was something I had the opportunity to sample only a few times before moving to the south. I had always liked it but it’s not often on the menu in California restaurants, so I was thrilled to find that it grows like a frickin’ weed here. Seriously, people just give it away. So now I am enjoying learning how to cook with okra. Yum!
I am hungry just looking at this.

Key Lime Pie. Real Key Lime Pie. Made with actual, freshly squeezed Key Limes. Perfectly sweet and tart and silky smooth and with just the right proportion of crunchy crust… FANTASTIC! Enough said.
Ok, Ok, so my first three entries were food related… can you blame me? After all, this is a Valentine’s Day post and the way to my heart is through my stomach. And Southerners are known for their cooking. But for number four I’m going to shake it up and say estate sales.

I never truly appreciated an  estate sales until I moved to Florida. The reason: maturation. California estate sales feature things like old exercise equipment, VHS collections of All My Children taped directly from the television (circa 1984-1987), stained Beanie Babies and Marlboro Man t-shirts. No one has lived in California long enough to acquire quality estate sale items. Floridians, by contrast, have lived in Florida for a long time. Some families have lived on the same property for generations, all the while handing down unique, handmade furniture, Civil War memorabilia, hand thrown pottery and folk art. Florida estate sales put California estate sales to shame. 

This is a typical find at a Florida estate sale. Floridians stock pile this kind of stuff in case an apocalyptic event renders US currency useless and we devolve into a society in which collectible memorabilia is used as a medium to barter and trade. 

And finally, Alligators. Yes, alligators. I know it seems a strange thing to add to my list of favorites but I kind of like that there are gigantic, apex predators just hanging out here and there. People hardly even bat an eyelash when one crosses a road or ends up in the neighbor’s swimming pool. I can’t imagine Californians would be as easy-going about a man-eating reptile the size of a canoe sunning its self in downtown L.A., San Jose, or even quiet Cuyama. It just goes to show that there can be a place where man and Mother Nature’s mightiest can cohabitate in (relative) peace. 
I bet you thought I was going to post a picture of a big, scary alligator here, right? But no, I posted a picture of alligators with pie instead. See what I did there? 

And, of course, I love my husband and daughter, who just happen to be in Florida too. So Florida’s got some pretty good things going for it after all.  
Harper "dressed" herself for the first time this morning.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Monday, February 13, 2012

The Gift

Our little Seurat

Harper  has been crazy about art lately. So we purchased a set of crayons, some nice paper, (washable) watercolors and an Aquadoodle for her. Being the proud mama, I snapped a photo of her first (and latest) masterpiece to post for all to see. It is entitled “Delicious Crayons.”
Delicious Crayons
Crayon on Watercolor Paper
February 2012

I apologize for the poor quality. It’s a little light and washed out, due to our low resolution camera. Luckily, I was able to I digitally enhanced it, for those of you who’d like a better look.

Delicious Crayons
Crayon on Watercolor Paper
February 2012
(Digitally enhanced by author)

Aren’t the colors vibrant yet serene? And I really feel like she captured a moment, something transcendent in the peaceful ordinariness of it. She really has a gift. Next week, macaroni-decorated paper plate tambourines!
Channeling Kahlo (with bees, flowers and beads).

The Owl and the Pussycat

Like most kids her age, Harper is fascinated with animals. And, like most kids her age, she is equally fascinated with the sounds they make. First it was ducks and their ceaseless quacking , followed by rabbits vigorously sniffing, which eventually led to barking dogs, tweeting birds, squeaking mice, mooing cows, hissing snakes and most recently, buzzing bees. But around Christmas time she had a proclivity for owls- Harper spent nearly all of December hooting. So Santa brought her Douglas Owl, with whom she quickly bonded. Other plush animals may come and go but Douglas Owl had better be in the crib by bedtime or else no one is sleeping that night.

Douglas Owl

But before Douglas Owl there was Tabasco Cat.

Just before Christmas, Tabasco Cat, our 16 year old cat, passed away from complications from renal failure. Tabasco was a gentle cat. She would take a little while to warm up to you but once she did she was very sweet and affectionate, and never pushy. She took a liking to Harper and Harper to her.
In the months before she passed she would cry for Harper who would then manhandle her with wild, toddler-enthusiasm. But Tabasco never minded. Quite the opposite. She would purr and lean into Harper and start to drool. When Harper learned to “make the cat sound” it wasn’t a meow like most kids make. It was a loud “MAW!,” the sound of a geriatric feline looking for her little girl. So it broke my heart when it was time to let Tabasco go. For me but mostly for Harper, who loved her more than anyone.  

After Tabasco died Harper stopped walking around the house MAW-ing. You had to ask her what sound the cat made before she would answer. And now, two months later, she “meows” like the other kids on the playground. It made me a little sad to know Harper was forgetting her friend.
Another cat was out of the question but I needed to do something to commemorate Tabasco. So I did the next best thing; I got Harper a plush cat. A sleek, black cat, with big, green eyes, just like our beloved Tabasco Cat.
Snowball II (Yes, Brad named her.)

Harper was SO excited when she saw the little cat for the first time. She immediately started meowing and repeating “cat!” over and over. Harper is even meowing all over the house again. So now she has two favorites: meet Douglas Owl and Snowball II.

Kiss and hug!