Subscribe Via Email
February 28, 2009
Here's my latest crafty, creative Friday night project. My friend and I made these together, chatting over a period of two hours, and ended up with three or four new belts to spice up our wardrobe.
I picked out about two yards each of a few 1 1/2 or 2 inch wide ribbons in colors that struck me,and some hardware packaged like this:Holding the ribbon around my waist, I cut it to length to fit me plus a couple inches for the fold over. The next step was to stitch one end of ribbon and backing around the D-rings to attach the hardware. We sewed the ribbon, with just a straight stich on each side, to some cotton webbing as backing and wrapped the end of the ribbon around the backing for a few inches to allow for folding back over the D-rings.I'm really excited about the finished products and know they'll make me smile every time I put them on!
February 14, 2009
I just replaced my old peeling celphalon pots with all cast iron enamel. Since I'm not used to cast iron, I'm experimenting with everything lately.
When it began to smell really good, I added in about a teaspoon of dried ground kelp, and took a fresh nutmeg and ground it generously over the pot. The nutmeg was a gift from a chef-friend, and this was the first time I've freshly ground my own, rather than pulling out the Schilling's. Wow! It was instantly fragrant and definitely added to the recipe.
I have to add that I was really being adventurous in even trying this mix because I hate beans. Hate Them. They have an icky texture and the taste does nothing to endear them to me. That is, from what I remember from childhood, because since the age at which I've been allowed to make my own food choices I've used this knowledge to simply steer away from beans in all forms (minus soy). I am the Vegetarian who Does Not Eat Vegetables. But, as an adult I know I need to widen my palate. So I thought I start in my own home, where I could influence the outcome of the recipe.
Here's what I ended up with.
1 Head Cauliflower
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Butter
3 Cloves Garlic
3 Tbsp Flour
2 Cups Vegetable Stock
1 Cup Milk
3 Cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1/2 Tsp Ground Mustard
1/4 Tsp Fresh Grated Nutmeg
First, clean and trim head of cauliflower into florets. Bring a couple inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add cauliflower, salt, and cook until tender, about five minutes. Drain, mash, and reserve.
In a large Stockpot (I used my 5 qt. cast iron), place the olive oil and butter. Heat over medium high heat until butter is melted, then add garlic and
One onion, finely chopped.
Cook until tender, 4-5 minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the stock and milk, bring up to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
To finish, whisk the cheese into the liquid, stirring until all has melted. Stir in cauliflower mash then remove from heat. Stir in mustard and nutmeg.
February 11, 2009
Tomatomania is back! This is the best source for tomato seedlings, with over 400 heirloom varieties. The staff is knowledgable and willing to offer suggestions, and prices are reasonable. They offer basic supplies, like fertilizers. In years past I've gotten strawberry seedlings there as well. They travel to several locations throughout the spring, so check their website for exact dates and locations.
Find Tomatomania at tomatomania.com
What activities signal the arrival of spring for you? Comment about it below.
Here are some other fish & chip places that were suggested in a newspaper clipping some time ago. I love the atmosphere at the Cat & Fiddle, the first on this list. There I get the Welsh Rarebit, a sort of open faced cheese sandwich. The rest of the places in this article are on the list for the next time Dad's here.
Gainey Vineyard is one of my favorite wineries in Santa Ynez. A quick trip from LA, but removed to another, Tuscan world.
The yearly crush party features grape picking in the vineyard, a barefoot grape stomp, hayrides, a "Lucy Look-a-Like" contest, barrel-tasting with the winemaker, cooking demos, live music and dancing.
It's pricey, at about eighty bucks a head, so I haven't been yet, but it's on my list of things to do....
For this years dates, check the website at www.gaineyvineyard.com/events/wineryevents.asp
February 10, 2009
Bungalow Heaven is Pasadena's first Landmark District and a recent addition to the National Register of Historical Places. Each spring, the neighborhood association offers a walking tour of eight or ten homes in the area. The program and hosts explain architectural features and tell the story of each house on the tour.
The spring tour's a really neat way to experience Arts & Crafts-period bungalows in person and get ideas for your own home, while learning more about California history. New in 2009 they will offer a Living History Home with costumed performers showing a family and their activities of the 1900s-1930s. It's a great family activity, although allow for inclement weather. Give yourself at least three hours to visit all the homes.
Bungalow Heaven is located north of the 210 (Foothill) Freeway in the heart of residential Pasadena between the Lake and Hill exits.
Prices are generally around twenty bucks. Advance tickets are available as well as day of event. For exact prices and info, see their website at http://www.bungalowheaven.org/
February 8, 2009
The FBI Citizens' Academy was initiated in 2000 by the Los Angeles Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as part of its Community Outreach Program. It's an eight week (ten session) program that gives business, religious, civic, and community leaders an inside look at the FBI.
The Academy is designed to promote a more informed community through educating business, labor, media, minority, government, religious and community leaders in the Los Angeles area about federal law enforcement issues and challenges.
The goal of the Citizens' Academy is to foster a greater understanding of the FBI's role in the community through open discussion and to support the FBI's efforts to deliver information about their role, tools, tactics, jurisdiction and vision for the future in national law enforcement, homeland defense and counter terrorism on all levels.
If you'd like to participate, or just want more information, go to www.fbicaa.org/academy.html. It explains the program and offers a downloadable application form.
February 7, 2009
Animal cruelty crackdown in Los Angeles has results
February 8, 2009
Furious that his girlfriend had broken up with him and stopped taking his calls, Steven Butcher decided to take his anger out on the couple's small puppy.
"Every time you . . . don't pick up the phone, I am beating the dog," Butcher said in an angry voice-mail message he left for his ex-girlfriend. In a later message, as the dog yelped and cried in the background, he said: "You got some more of the dog getting beat."
When police officers arrived at Butcher's Reseda home, they found Nelia, the pit bull puppy, shivering in a sink with cold water running over her. The animal's jaw had been broken, her eye sockets had been fractured and several of her ribs had been cracked.
Butcher, 23, was charged and convicted last year of animal cruelty -- one of a growing number of serious animal abuse cases in Los Angeles, where police and prosecutors say they are taking crimes against animals more seriously than ever.
The Los Angeles Police Department has devoted five officers and detectives to a task force dedicated to investigating animal abuse and neglect. The county district attorney's office recently began training a select group of prosecutors to handle animal-related cases and is seeking tougher sentences for repeat offenders.
Los Angeles has become a national model for its stepped-up enforcement of animal cruelty laws, animal welfare experts said. The efforts by L.A. authorities and others throughout the country have been propelled by a growing public disgust of such abuse and mounting evidence of a link between animal cruelty and other types of crime.
"As a society, we're just less tolerant of unnecessary and unjustified cruelty to animals," said Dale Bartlett, deputy manager of the animal cruelty and fighting campaign at the Humane Society of the United States.
In Los Angeles County, records show that during the 12 months ending in August, the district attorney's office filed animal cruelty charges in 116 cases, nearly 50% more than the previous year.
Last year, prosecutors won a rare dog-fighting trial against a 42-year-old nurse, who was sentenced to three years in prison. And in a separate case, the first person they had ever charged with a felony for cockfighting was convicted.
Randall Lockwood, an expert on animal abuse and a senior vice president at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said Los Angeles had adopted one of "the more progressive approaches" in the nation in dealing with crimes against animals.
"It's something that's needed in more major cities," he said.
The Los Angeles City Council created the Animal Cruelty Task Force in 2005, following a proposal by Councilman Tony Cardenas. In backing the measure, LAPD officials cited studies finding that animal abusers were often involved in other crimes such as drug trafficking, child abuse and domestic violence.
Task force detectives said they have seen the connection for themselves.
In the case of Nelia, the beaten puppy, police said her owner also threatened to kill his girlfriend during some of his phone calls. He was sentenced last year to 270 days in jail for animal cruelty, placed on five years' probation and ordered to undergo counseling. The puppy survived and was adopted out when authorities suspected that Butcher's ex-girlfriend might reconcile with him, police said.
The task force investigates nearly 300 reports of animal abuse and neglect each year. Its successes include 57 arrests for cockfighting and several arrests for deadly violence against animals.
In 2006, LAPD officers stopped Gene Speer when they noticed him walking along a Hollywood side street with blood all over his shirt. Speer was carrying a backpack. When officers looked in the bag, they found a dead rat terrier that belonged to his roommate.
Speer, 34, told police that the dog, Nehi, had bitten him and he had struck out in self-defense. But LAPD Det. Susan Brumagin, a member of the task force, said officers found animal feces on the carpet and believed that Speer beat the dog to death with a shoe after the animal defecated. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison.
"None of the people we arrest think they could go to prison for hurting a dog or a cat," Brumagin said. "They don't show remorse. . . . They're more shocked and surprised."
From a small office on the 18th floor of the downtown criminal courthouse, Deputy Dist. Atty. Deborah Knaan oversees all of the district attorney's prosecutions for animal abuse.
A former manager in the city's Department of Animal Services, Knaan offers advice to prosecutors about animal cases and organizes training programs for prosecutors and police officers on identifying signs of cruelty and neglect. She has also written a proposed law that Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley is sponsoring to ban people convicted of animal cruelty from owning pets for up to life.
During a recent interview, Knaan sat behind a desk adorned with a photo of herself cuddling her three dogs -- Ziggy and Spice, her two Jack Russell terriers, and Elmo, a Dachshund-Chihuahua mix -- and spoke about the need to protect animals.
"They cannot talk. They cannot get away. . . . They're totally vulnerable," she said. "It's our huge obligation to them to take care of them."
Last year, Knaan filed felony cockfighting charges against Israel Ramirez, marking the first time the district attorney's office had treated cockfighting as a felony since state lawmakers changed the law in 2006 to allow prosecutors to do so for repeat offenders.
Ramirez, who had three prior convictions for cockfighting-related offenses, had been arrested at his home in South Los Angeles in the middle of what police said was a contest, or "Derby Day." Officers seized about 50 roosters and numerous knives used to attach to the birds' spurs for fighting.
Knaan said Ramirez charged spectators $20 each to watch the fights and sold them sandwiches and beer. "It was a real moneymaking sporting event," she said.
Ramirez was sentenced last month to 360 days in jail and ordered to undergo a year of animal abuse counseling.
Last year, prosecutors charged Jerome Woods, 55, with dog-fighting for the third time in a decade.
In 1998, the former carpet layer spent one day in jail for dog-fighting. In 2000, he was convicted again and incarcerated for 23 days.
Woods' latest trouble came when the task force searched his South L.A. home and found 11 pit bulls, all but one locked in chain-link cages. Several of the dogs bore scars on their heads and forelegs -- injuries consistent with fighting. Police also found three treadmills, commonly used to train fighting dogs, and a blood-spattered plywood enclosure used for fights.
Woods pleaded guilty in June and was sentenced to five years in prison -- the longest sentence in a Los Angeles dog-fighting case since prosecutors started keeping comprehensive records in 1996.
"It lets other dog-fighters know that . . . they're not going to get a slap on the wrist like Mr. Woods did in the past," Knaan said. "We reflect society, and society feels that it should be taken seriously."
One of my two dogs is a rescue, and she is my angel. I could not have asked for a better or more loyal friend. I have shot movies at a county shelter, and while the facility was very well maintained, it was the hardest two days of my life, with all the helpless faces staring out at me. I came across a flyer while there which lists Animal Help Agencies & Rescue Groups. There's a specialty rescue group for every breed and type of animal, so if you know what you want, try a google search for your area, or contact one of these agencies:
Ace of Hearts 310-358-3344
Actors & Others for Animals 818-755-6045
Adopt A Chow LA 310-306-2871
Adopt-A-Star Greyhound 310-985-5505
Afghan Hound Rescue 909-305-0552
All Retriever Friends 818-951-8686
Amanda Foundation 310-278-2935
American Eskimo Dog Rescue 562-928-4933
American Humane Assoc. 800-227-4645
American Tortoise Rescue 800-938-3553
AngelDogs Rescue 661-299-2307
Animal Avengers 323-655-4220
Animal Guardian Society 310-652-8618
Animal Poison Hotline 888-232-8870
Animal Rescue Volunteers 805-579-8047
Animal Safety Net 323-733-0219
Animals Rule Rescue 310-832-9929
Australian Shepherd in So. CA 951-943-8830
Basset Hound Rescue/So. CA 805-524-9353
Basset Rescue Connection 800-411-2388
Beagles & Buddies 626-444-9664
Belgian Shepherd Rescue 310-326-6447
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary 818-377-9778
Border Collie Rescue of CA 310-547-9574
Boston Buddies Rescue 310-364-4543
Boxer Rescue 213-532-6541
Brittany Foundation 661-713-5240
Bunny Bunch 909-591-7200
Bunny Luv Rabbit Rescue 818-988-4488
California Poison Control 800-876-4766
California Wildlife Center 818-591-9453
Canine Companions for Independence 800-572-2275
Cat & Dog Rescue Assoc. 323-666-1357
Cat Crossing 818-759-6554
C.A.T.S., Inc. 818-341-8936
Cats In Need 909-622-0121
Collie Rescue 626-398-8987
Crow and Raven Rescue 626-262-8227
Department of Sanitation 800-773-2489
Dogs for the Deaf 541-826-9220
Doris Day Animal League 202-546-1761
Ellen's Precious Pooches 818-343-0360
English Bulldog Rescue 714-612-0265
English Springer Rescue Amer. 818-363-5754
Feral Cat Caretakers' Coalition 310-820-4122
Fetching Comp Retriever Rescue 818-412-3382
Forte Animal Rescue 310-362-0321
Friends For Pets Foundation 818-767-5919
Friends of Animals Foundation 310-479-5089
Friends of Parrots Group 310-459-0166
German Shepherd Rescue 818-558-7560
Giant Schnauzer Rescue 714-893-5821
Golden Retriever Club & Rescue 818-700-5200
Great Dane Adoptions/Rescue 951-279-5100
Greyhound Adoption Center 805-987-7628
Greyhound Pets of America 562-694-3519
Greyhounds--Retired Racers 661-269-2544
GreySave--Greyhound Rescue 866-473-9728
Guide Dogs for the Blind 800-295-4050
Guide Dogs of America 818-362-5834
Hearts for Hounds 714-721-4221
Hummingbird Rescue 818-881-0053
Karma Rescue 310-512-7833
Kitten Rescue 818-347-3037
L.A. Pot Bellied Pig Assoc 818-899-8465
L.A. Pot Bellied Pig Rescue 805-955-0240
Lange Foundation 310-472-7727
Lhasa Happy Homes 310-74-LHASA
L.I.F.E. Animal Rescue 818-707-2007
Life 4 Paws 818-772-4335
Lifeline For Pets 818-951-1164
Little Angels Pug Rescue 626-795-3944
Maxie Animal Fund 323-726-3444
Mercy Crusade 818-597-2926
Much Love Animal Rescue 310-636-9115
National Poison Center 888-426-4435
The Nature Network, Inc. 310-289-4188
Nature of Wildworks 310-455-0550
New Leash on Life 661-255-0097
Opossum Society of CA 714-536-3538
Orange County Cavy Haven 714-242-7548
Pacific Coast Dog Rescue 818-701-0659
Parrots First 866-248-7670x5937
Parrot Information Hotline 818-613-4003
Parrot Society of Los Angeles 310-358-2907
Paws for Peace 800-269-3591
PAWS L.A. 323-464-7297
Paws With A Cause 800-253-7297
People and CATS Together 310-230-5974
Perfect Pet Rescue 310-726-3731
Pet Adoption Fund 818-340-1687
Pet Assistance Foundation 877-772-9738
Pet Mania Rescue 818-848-5512
Pet Orphans of So. CA 818-901-0190
Pet Pride (Cat Adoptions) 310-836-5427
Pet Rescue Association 818-767-4400
Precious Paws 818-773-3336
Pugs 'N Pals 949-262-7843
PURRfect Solutions Cat Rescue 818-784-4297
Rabbit & Pocket Pet Adoptions 818-709-0055
Rabbit Rescue Inc 562-862-8844
Rainbow Rescue 661-256-7948
Recycled Pets 818-986-0201
Rescue Me, Inc 818-999-2400
Saint Martin's Animal Foundation 818-771-8750
Samoyed Rescue of So. Calif. 714-956-6180
Sante D'Or Foundation 323-788-3638
Save the Dalmatians 310-803-5414
SC PAW 213-368-4608
Scottie Rescue of So. CA 714-893-5821
Seal Beach Animal Care Center 562-430-4993
Second Chance for Rabbits, Inc 562-807-0071
Serenity Place Rescue 818-999-4022
South Bay Bird Society 310-376-5954
So. Cal. Boston Terrier Rescue 310-364-4543
So. Cal. Dachschund Rescue 818-795-2201
So. Cal. Labrador Retriever Rescue 888-554-ALAB
So. Cal. Siamese Rescue 818-830-3380
Southland Collie Rescue 310-366-5573
Southland Sheltie Rescue 818-996-1269
Southwest Herpetologists Soc. 818-503-2052
Sparky & The Gang 310-621-1417
Stray Cat Alliance 310-281-6973
The Bill Foundation 310-860-0171
The Eco Station 310-842-8060
The Purple Cow & Friends 760-749-4790
TigerLily Cat Rescue 661-252-9454
Urban Animal Rescue League 818-779-7720
Valley Cats, Inc 818-883-5252
Villalobos Pitbull Rescue 661-268-0555
Voice For the Animals (VAA) 310-392-5153
Westside German Sheperd Rescue 310-202-SAVE
Whale Rescue Team 310-455-2729
Wheaten Terrier Rescue 714-893-5821
February 6, 2009
When I was growing up in the midwest, rain showers would make me think of spring flowers. Here in LA, when it rains, it pours....cold winter floods. The best way to waste a rainy day in my leaky frigid house is to slow-cook something fragrant. So today, I took advantage of a pause in the torrent to run over to my old apartment complex. There's a wonderful kumquat tree there that I really enjoyed when I was a resident. Since I left, they've chopped it to nothing but a spindly arm of a branch. It makes me cry to see it so butchered, but I know in a few years it will have come back from the cutting. Anyway, I brought a bag with me this afternoon and picked, intending to fill a five-quart stockpot, but was only able to get about four cups of kumquats.
This chutney recipe came in an issue of Vegetarian Times when I was living next to the kumquat tree. It was as if someone knew I'd been staring at these tiny orbs, wondering how to enjoy them. That first year that I made this chutney, I took it home for Easter weekend and served it poured over a block of cream cheese. It made a wonderful cracker spread.
So, in honor of midwest spring rains, and the memory of that Easter, today I decorated my four small jars with an Easter-y pink-and-green polka dotted pattern.
Vegetarian Times Issue: October 1, 2006 p.64
Makes 1 cup
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 cup sliced kumquats (about 16)
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1. Heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add kumquats and onion, and sauté 5 minutes, or until onion is softened.
2. Stir in sugar and 1/2 cup water, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove from heat, and stir in vinegar. Cool, and store in airtight container in refrigerator.
Per TABLESPOON: Calories: 26, Protein: g, Total fat: 1g, Saturated fat: g, Carbs: 4g, Cholesterol: mg, Sodium: 2mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 3g
February 5, 2009
I was on eHarmony for about two years, at a cost of at least six hundred bucks. Still single. And, as a person who meets people only at work, it wasn't really about the dating anyway--it was about meeting new people, having a social circle, and getting out of my house. Getting out of the house is a big one, as a freelancer who often finds herself with large chunks of time off.
This year, I'm determined to do the same thing, for free. My friend got me involved in My People Connection, an LA-based social networking site that's free to use, while offering special benefits to paid members. I've met some great people there who share my love of crafting.
Another friend recommended to me a site called OKCupid. She met her boyfriend there. I'm in the process of setting up my membership there, so I'll have to report back.
Then there are the food groups. I think I'm going to try to get involved in LA Foodies this year. It just sounds like a lot of fun. I look at it as a social experiment, so you'll get to follow some of my adventures on this blog.
My People Connection
The Los Angeles Foodies Group
How do you meet new people? Give me your tips in a comment below.
February 3, 2009
Most people who know me have heard about my grandpa's soda plant, and how I was raised on bubble gum and soda pop--literally. As a toddler my bottle had pepsi in it, not milk. My grandpa was born on a dairy farm, and around the turn of the century (1900s) they added some sort of orange drink to the dairy line. The family's own label soda company, Rosentreter Beverages, was born. This company's heyday was from the 1930s-1950s. Eventually, my grandpa became a Pepsi bottler, back in the day when soda came as a syrup and the bottler mixed it up as part of the bottling process. Grandpa stuck with the Pepsi company as the bottler became simply a distributor of aluminum-canned product. He was the sole distributor in his county in Carlinville, IL until cancer forced his retirement shortly before his death in 1986. His brother, my great-uncle Harold, owned and operated the Pepsi distributorship in the neighboring county in Alton, IL during all of this time. Whenever I visited Grandpa would have a case of Choc-ola in the closet in my grandparent's kitchen. When my sister went off to college in Missouri in the mid-80s, Grandpa sent her Diet Pepsi by the flat.
So when I had a small amount of money and was looking for a great gift for my dad, the man who has everything, I turned to old-time sodas to bring back his small town memories. Back in 2003 I sent him a case of 24 bottles of sodas that I selected from Ifs Ands & Butts extensive list. At the time this cost me around sixty bucks. The flavor, feel, and memories brought out for my dad were priceless. ***edit: Just discovered Ifs ANds & Butts is no longer in business. They were replaced by The Soda Gallery. Info below.***
In Los Angeles a newspaper article led me to a small country store called Galcos. I clipped the article and was able to take my dad there once when he visited.
And then there's the big box chain--BevMo. My friend raves about their five cent sale that happens several times a year. She stocks up on wine, and entertains thanks to that sale.
The Soda Gallery
408 North Bishop Avenue
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 946-SODA or toll free 1-866-946-SODA
Galco's Old World Grocery
5702 York Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90042
What's your best source for soft drinks? Tell me about it below.
February 1, 2009
For savings in buying printer ink cartridges, I've repeatedly been pushed toward those do-it-yourself refill ink kits. I hate messing with these. If I spill even a little, I would do far more damage to my furniture than the savings I'd get over buying a cartridge. I like to buy my ink from
In addition to supporting them with my business, I send my used cartridges to them in prepaid envelopes they provide. They get whatever funds they can for recycling the cartridges, and I keep my cartridges from the landfill. Everybody wins!
17308 Havenwood Rd
Sparta, WI 54656
(866) 808-8080 TOLL FREE
Do you have any recommendations for office products? Let me know in a comment!