Thursday, May 31, 2012

Flower Power

It's peony season in SoCal, thanks to Trader Joe's.

Gorgeous pink petals...

turn a sublime pale yellow over time.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer Fun

Joe found some great vintage stamps at the swap!

So I made a little collage.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Adventures in Flight (2), 2008
transfer drawing

Speaking of my stepfather, Joe and I plan to visit him in Arkansas later this summer. So, I checked flights on American Airlines and came up with the following:
     2 adult round trip tickets from SNA to LIT:    $1286.00
     $25 bag fee each adult each way:                          100.00
                                                     Subtotal:                $1386.00

Plus, despite the fact that there were still plenty of seats available, only the middle seats on each flight were available without an extra "preferred seat" charge. If we wanted to avoid middle seats (and, with my long legs, I most certainly do) we'd have to pay an additional $80.
                                                         Total:                   $1466.00


Adventures in Flight (6), 2008
transfer drawing

I checked out Southwest:
     2 adult round trip tickets from SNA to LIT:       $686.40
     bag fees:                                                                           00.00
     "preferred seat" charge:                                                00.00
                                                          Total:                      $686.40

Adventures in Flight (7), 2008
transfer drawing

So, we booked our flights on Southwest.

I think if I owned any American stock, I'd get rid of it right away. Their policies are not user friendly. And I'm curious... how much does American's CEO make?

Well... that is easy to find out! A quick google search found the following grid. And if you'd like to read more from the Consumer Traveler blog that provided it, click here:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Elder Abuse

One day last week, my stepfather, Bob, received a visitor. It was a former occasional caregiver who said she was stopping by to say hello and see how he was doing. "It's so nice to see an old friend!" she said warmly. She reminded him that her name was Kim. Bob was delighted to have company and they had a nice chat. Then, she asked him for money. "I'd like to borrow fifty dollars," Kim said. 

My stepfather is a kind and generous man. He might have given her money, but he didn't have any cash. She left. When I called him later that day, he told me about the visit. I was incensed that Kim had asked him for money, so I called Bob's care coordinator, Stacey. Stacey was perplexed, because she didn't, and hadn't, had an employee named Kim.

A few days later, Stacey called to say she'd gotten to the bottom of it all. "Kim" was really a woman named Melissa Daniels. She'd already been arrested for exploitation of the elderly in April, but was at it again. My stepfather might not have been the only "old friend" in his building she'd visited that day.

Think how easy that might have been for "Kim." She would have gotten the money, and maybe more, and never returned. Bob wouldn't have had a way or the means to find her. Or, even worse, she might have come back with friends...

Melissa Daniels has been caught again this time. But she's a repeat offender so she'll be back on the prowl most likely.

Financial exploitation of the elderly - abuse - is alive and well. In the last two years, my parents experienced a lot of it: money was stolen, their wedding rings were stolen, food and household goods were pilfered regularly, many caregivers told them about their personal difficulties and then asked for "loans." One asked for a thousand dollars. One caregiver's friend came with a gun and shot it in my parents' home.

If you have elders who employ caregivers, make sure you are involved and watchful. Your elders are vulnerable and care giving is a profession that attracts people with bad intentions. BE INVOLVED.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A New Glass Blowing Workshop in SoCal!

Thanks to our friends John and Debra, Joe and I were invited to attend the Grand Opening of Joe Cariati's Glass Blowing Studio in nearby El Segundo last Saturday evening. A former warehouse in a mixed use neighborhood of homes, WWII Quonset huts, and industrial activities, 141 Penn Studios has been transformed into an inspiring studio with furnaces, equipment and tools in an ideal setup. Wide doors at each end let sea breezes flow through to keep the work space cool.

Formerly an instructor in California State University, Fullerson's award winning glass blowing program, Joe Cariati is now fully engaged in his new space. He makes glassworks for commercial buyers like Ikea, offers classes for beginners as well as more advanced students, and rents time to experienced blowers.

Saturday night's opening featured a demonstration. Janusz Pozniak, from Seattle, made several beautiful glassworks during the evening as we all got to watch.

Find out more about 141 Penn Studios at Joe's website,

Sadly, my new camera wasn't functioning properly, so I didn't get to take pictures. But here are some  great ones of the event from the web:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Today's Neighborhood Walk

This morning's walk-about focused on an investigation of how others are using native plants and gardens. The whole shift from green grass lawns to water tolerant plantings is a HUGE movement now in SoCal and lots of people are doing it. Many different designs exist, including 1) the grid approach, in which individual plants appear in organized rows and columns over the entire lawn otherwise covered in gravel; 2) the multiple-paths approach, in which areas of the yard are separated by gravel covered walkways flowing around everywhere; and, my favorite, 3) groupings of natives at various points in the yard with hearty ground cover elsewhere.

Here is a bit of what I saw: 

 Love the colors and shape of this! Will have to find out what this is during a trip to H and H Nursery.

 A relaxed, purple flowered plant fills a corner nicely.

 So exotic. I'm hoping to find a spot in our yard for this beauty.

Same plant from the other side, befriended by smaller natives with vibrant color. 

I happened by one of the stops on today's self-guided city-wide garden tour sponsored by the Water Department. In Long Beach, there are grants available for home owners who want to go native. The grant program has encouraged many people to take the plunge.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Photo Booth Program

With my new camera came a new (at least to me) program called Photo Booth. It is fun! It works like the old fashioned curtained booths we'd find in train stations and malls but there are all sorts of new ways the photos can be altered. This is the "Andy Warhol" application. 

Me Times Four

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Watch Cat at Work

Sophie claims his job is harder than it looks....

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sock Monkey Portraits

I've just finished adding watercolor to two editions of linoleum block prints that I made earlier this year.  The Sock Monkey Portraits were inspired by a desire to explore contrast and patterning for which the linoleum block process is perfect. Princess and Spike have been waiting patiently for their debut so here they are, all dressed up and ready to go:

 Princess, 2012
linoleum block print with watercolor
edition of 14

Spike, 2012
linoleum block print with watercolor
edition of 14

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

This is the first Mother's Day since my Mother's death. I miss her, but in many ways I have a sense that she is still nearby. Thank you, Mom, for many things including teaching me how to be a happy person.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bixby Travel Log

Today, I'll take you along on my early morning walk. A three mile round trip, we'll head northwest through the neighborhood on our way to the slowly revitalizing business district along Atlantic Avenue, then loop around to the south on the way back.

 We have a lot of beautiful tall trees in our neighborhood.

 A common sight in SoCal: an elementary school with an outdoor cafeteria.

 Chalk art drawn by a bidding abstractionist!

Pet snake, anyone?

 Don't tell others, but I've met Rick Wicked and he is a nice guy.


E.J. Malloy's Bar and Grill, a popular neighborhood hangout, hosts a trivia tournament on Tuesdays. The bookstore next door has a CLOSED sign with a second line: "Time for Reading."

 We are lucky to have had Alsace Lorraine French Bakery in our neighborhood for years.

 One of each, please.

 A gorgeous bed of spring beauties. Thank you, unknown gardener.

 Our local ARCO: four fifteen a gallon today.

 A large, empty furniture store has become an art gallery with regular shows and classes.

 And, I see, there is a craft market coming up.

One doesn't encounter too many of these in SoCal; Elise's offers a formal English tea with crumpets.

 A new letterpress business has moved into the neighborhood. Looks good!

 I've always loved this house on a corner.

 Recently, this yard was transformed with a native plant focus.

 Natives are popping up everywhere.

 Here, too.

 We are coming up on a yard sale in progress. Too bad I don't have any cash with me.

Hello, handsome! Meow to you, too!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Thought for the Day

"Beauty gives you peace inside."

                           -Sister Brigitte de Singly, Abbess of Poor Clares Convent in France, about the chapel Notre Dame du Haut, created by Le Corbusier in 1955.