Full/Exhausting 3 day weekend

By the photos here you would think this post is all about watermelon salad.  When in fact its more about getting prepared to host a brunch.

We don’t entertain much, in fact hardly ever.  But we were having company over on Sunday so we started cleaning up the yard two weekends ago.  Now that we have time again on the weekends of course we promptly fill them up with more chores.

Anyway, stay on track already….friends of Lori’s asked to see us and they would like to come to our house.  One of these women is a previous student who also donated lots of the cuttings and plants when we started re-doing the yard.  So of course we wanted the yard to be in tip-top shape.  Another woman joining the soirée also used to be a student of Lori’s and has her own garden design company…..tough audience for the garden.

There was a three-day weekend with a brunch on Sunday at our house to cap it all off.  Friday we went to home depot to get something for the yard and ended up renting a carpet cleaner.  I shampoo’d the carpets while Lori scrubbed the house and purged our book piles.  Saturday we went to the farmers market and got all the ingredients needed for the brunch.  We finished spreading the gravel I dropped when I sold the truck and got the last of the weeds out.  (By last of weeds you seriously know that the weeds are never ever completely gone – but it is close)

Sunday morning I was up and outside watering at 6:30.  (We are relegated to watering before 8:00 a.m. on Sundays and Wednesdays and after 7:00 p.m.)  Then I made us some oatmeal while I started cooking.  I started with banana bread and while that was baking I made the watermelon salad.  (Watermelon, mint, lime…so good).  I roasted zucchini and pablano peppers on the grill and cut them up for a fritatta.  I made the bacon and then right before noon when everyone was expected I put the grilled veggie fritatta together and put it in the oven.

Lori had been cleaning up the seating area and setting it all up.  We were done working, everything looked and tasted great and got to sit and visit for several hours with her friends.

The guests are long gone, however the leftovers we had for dinner and the house and yard still look fantastic!

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Results…maybe ?

I have become “that” person.  The person who writes letters to the city government to try to get things changed in the neighborhood.  I think part of this is from working at The City of Renton and actually seeing how local government works.  Knowing who to direct the letters to instead of just a random letter.

The main communication I have had was a letter I wrote to the head of economic development to try to recruit a Trader-Joes or a Sprouts to Norwalk.  I stressed the losing tax revenue going to neighboring cities because to get any organic produce you have to leave the city.  After several emails back and forth I was told that the city of Norwalk does not have the economic power to pull in a grocery store that focuses on organic (i.e. more expensive) food.  I did not stop there, I stressed the most recent census and cited the fact that lower-income families need healthy groceries perhaps more than the affluent and the city could stress the savings in health care.  I also wrote to both Sprouts and Trader Joes to encourage them to consider Norwalk.

There has been no movement yet on this issue, I was “reminded” of the Stater Brothers store in Norwalk.  I did stop in there,  They had organic green beans…..that is the ONLY organic produce in the store.

However another letter I wrote was to code enforcement.  I was stressing the parked cars parked half in the driveway and covering the sidewalk.  I cited two events that happened while I was out running.  One was a guy wheeling his wheel chair down the street and around the corner, only to be  stopped by a car on the sidewalk and him having to back track half way down the block to go down another driveway and then wheeled himself in the street for a couple blocks because not every block has curb cuts.

The other event was when I helped a woman off the curb with her electric wheel chair (that puppy was heavy), because she couldn’t get to her van because she parked in the street and the neighbor was blocking the sidewalk.

Now my focus was the cars parked across the sidewalk, pet peeve and I hate trying to run around them but I did also stress the wheelchair access in the neighborhood being so poor as there are were some blocks that only one of four corners had a curb cut.

Well the last couple weeks there have been crews in the neighborhood putting in curb cuts on the corners.

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Garden Maintenance

We were in the garden just after 6:30 this morning.  We also worked a good part of yesterday trying to get some things weeded and cleaned up.  Some of the plants we put in a couple of years ago when they were “donated” where overgrown or just not water-resistant enough.  We pulled out five of the six verbena we had it and moved some other plants around.  It really cleared out the middle of the garden but it will fill in.

Just two years ago this area looked like this

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Today it looked like this, mostly because we cut out an entire yard waste bin from this area alone.  The rest of the weeds I was pulling (mostly grass I was pulling out from the cactus and out of the gravel is just piled next to the fence to re-fill the bin once it is emptied on Wednesday.

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Lori also finally finished the brick work on the side between our house and the neighbor.  This finished up the border and it looks so much for complete.  It was about noon that I was so overheated I sat in the shade and talked to Katherine on the phone for an hour before calling it a day, it was just far to hot to continue.

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Lucky Iron Fish

I tried to give blood at work a while back.  Each time you give blood you can get 8 hours of PTO.  We had a co-worker dying of cancer and we all wanted to donate the time to his wife who also works for the same company; she was out of PTO because of the last year and was going on leave for Charlies final days.

What I found out when I went in to give blood was I was low on Iron and the blood center would not let me donate.  The standard suggestion from the nutritionist was to add red meat to my diet.  (blech)  My response that it wasn’t really an option was addressed with eat more kale and add citrus to it to help absorb the iron.

Well I have Kale and Spinach a lot and usually dress my salads in just a squeeze of lemon juice……so now what.

Lori found this Lucky Iron Fish and bought it for me.  Because she bought it through their website another one was donated to a family in Cambodia to help them get the needed iron they are lacking.

So this little guy will be added to every pot of oatmeal, beans or soup I make.  Hopefully next time my blood is checked I will have more iron without the need of red meat.

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Home from the Yoga

The week away is now complete.  It started by driving to Big Bear and needing to go around the back way because of the San Bernardino Lake Fire.  There was a worry that the retreat wouldn’t happen but even though the fire was near by it wasn’t near enough to disturb the retreat.  Sadly now that we are home and have news and internet it has tripled in size now at over 20,000 acres and only 30% contained.

The retreat was good.  Not exactly what I was expecting but all still good, just in different ways.  There was not as much yoga as I had expected but still with a couple of sessions a day it was actually enough.  There were a lot of other workshops that I didn’t think I would be interested in but the actual connections with others at the retreat made them worth it.

On Monday we then headed to Palm Springs to a nice spa there.  The three days there included reading, hanging out in the room reading during the “high” of the day of 113 degrees.  Sitting by the pool….reading.  Getting in to cool off and then, yep reading some more.  There was also an hour long massage that was awesome and some yummy food.

We came home today with a brief stop off to visit the nieces.  Then home, back to the reality of Charleston and growing fires and 500 work emails.  With a three day weekend still on the agenda I am currently grilling stuff I had in the freezer.  Tomorrow will be yard work, laundry and grocery shopping.  It is a nice cool 95 which actually feels cool after being in Palm Springs.

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Juxta-vacation

We left Big Bear today.   We had been at a yoga retreat for the last four days.  We were staying in a hostel, sharing meals and bathrooms. 

Today we arrived in Palm Springs.  Just like big bear there will be massage and yoga but the setting is much different.  



Lack of Proof

My brother arrived a week and a half ago.  He arrived on Saturday the 6th and we had a great ten days of visiting.  We dropped him off last night in Irvine to stay with friends for the last two days.

He stayed in our tiny house and it worked out pretty well, we are getting lots of experience this year at sharing our tiny abode.  I worked the entire time he was here but we still got a lot of visiting in.  Dale ventured out exploring the neighborhood and went swimming nearly every day.

We went to dinner at his friend’s house in Irvine and spent six or seven hours there visiting.  We went up to Calimesa and hung with the nieces.  The girls made us dinner and we played cards.  Dale and I had a nice long walk at Long Beach.  We all even went to a movie.

However the only photos I have from the entire week are this one of Dale and Riblet and grilling portobello mushrooms and veggies one night.  Guess we were just having too good of a time to take photographs.

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