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June 30, 2009

2nd Quarter 2009 Round Up

-Read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver
-Bought doggy toothpaste and toothbrushes and am attempting to clean the pups' teeth myself, rather than paying HUGE amounts for non-anesthetic cleaning at the vets.
-Continued taking Claire to off-leash dog training Saturday mornings as consistently as able (more like every couple of weeks).
-Reintegrated my pet bunny (whom I'd given away last fall) back into my home for a month-long stay. Came to terms with the fact that I would be doing what's best for him to give him back to the new mom, even though he'll be moving to another continent, where it's not likely I'll ever see him again.
-Decluttered a whole laundry basket full of cooking magazines that had been sitting in my living room for over three years by donating to the library.
-Spread 14 bags of mulch over the garden in the spring.
-Finished the peel-and-stick laminate flooring in my backdoor/bedroom area.
-Participated in craft show (see prior blog post).
-Stocked my ebay store with vintage Pyrex, sold over a hundred dollars' merchandise.
-Bought a safe to continue organizing paper & files in my home.
-Designed and ordered new business cards for work and ebay store, and mailing labels for ebay store.
-Registered on PaperbackSwap.com.
-Continued refining the blog, and posted or added something nearly every day. Learned computer terms like "Creative Commons License" and "Button."
-Began posting my stained glass portfolio to the blog on a weekly basis ("Stained Glass Sundays")
-Set up a YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/petcapades
-Made all internet presence linked, so cross-posting occurs on blog, twitter, facebook, etc. Joined LikedIn. Improved my own professional public relations on the internet.
-Followed through with my financial advisor to make sure the money I'd paid towards my IRA in conjunction with my taxes was actually invested in something.
-Set up my glass workshop in the backyard and started teaching a friend how to do copper foil stained glass.
-Upgraded to an iPhone and synced that with my computer
-Began to create items from my photography images for sale on Zazzle.
-Continuing to keep my Netflix account "on hold." Just shut off my cable completely (boohoo!) to better facilitate saving for a new car that will be needed soon.
-Gave myself my first vacation in probably three years, to see my friend Cathy's family in Houston, and visit my own family on the way home. Also met up with my best friend that I've known since I was one year old--had a wonderful overnight stay with her family in Cambria, CA.
-Helped organize a networking event at the DGA in June.
-Submitted documentation of over 600 days of on-set production work to DGA Contract Administration for a Qualification List upgrade to Unit Production Manager, which will make me eligible to work in a higher category in film/television.

On the down side:
-lost another camera, had to replace
-lost a cel phone (first time in ten years) and had to reconstruct the data in my phone book

Goals for 3rd Quarter:
-Finish off a stained glass project I started for a friend that I'd like to use as a birthday present
-Unpack the rest of my glass
-Host a card-making party-day for/with my friends, then pack up all the craft crap and get it out of my living room!
-Get a BBQ grill, get it assembled, then have a BBQ open house! First party and housewarming at the new house, and time to socialize again with work contacts. I try to do this once a summer, but didn't get to do so last year because of the move and disarray & construction of my living space.
-Get back to work. Time for hiatus to end. SAG has finally settled, and I'm hoping the town will start booming again in July.
-Keep adding to the ebay store and blog.
-Continue scanning a page a day of my photo album into a digital backup.
-Read some of the books I've gotten off PaperbackSwap.
-Keep up with dog training/nail clipping/teeth cleaning on my own--no paying groomers, and no letting it go. Puppy school every Saturday, instead of occasional. Dog walks every day, no slipping. Can you hear the good intentions in my voice?
-Start doing my back/neck exercises and seeing a chiropractor again.


What are your goals this summer? Leave me a comment to let me know where you're at--I could use a goal-buddy to check in with and be held accountable every so often!

June 29, 2009

Adele, Chaka Kahn, and Pandora


I've already posted my tip about the great deals and value available at the Hollywood Bowl. Last night was my first Bowl concert of the summer! I had to skip the Bowl last year because of all the renovations on my little guest house, so I've really been looking forward to integrating this experience back into my life.

And tonight's concert only cost me $10! The shuttle was an additional four bucks, but it really makes the experience easy and convenient. I parked at the LA zoo and shuttled in from there. I was home within a half hour after the concert ended. I went to this concert alone, but was lucky to bump into a friend at the shuttle bus, and spent the evening with her and her girls' night out. We had a spectacular mishmosh picnic sharing what each had brought. The views at the Bowl are incredible.




Scheduled to perform last night was Etta James, a real icon in my life, but she bowed out due to illness. Chaka Kahn generously filled in for her at the last minute. What a powerful lady. Her performance of "Into the Fire" might have been my favorite song of the night.



I'd chosen this night for my concert series specifically for Etta James, so I was disappointed she couldn't appear. But I had a sweet treat in store in the form of Adele. I'd heard her top-radio song "Chasing Pavements" but didn't know her name to her voice until last night. She's a young Welsh singer who's just released a single original album, and now a live version. Her second release will be out in the next couple months. She's definitely a star in the making. And she's very sweet--hope she's able to hang onto her personality in the storm of publicity she's receiving.



When I came home last night, I decided to investigate a site a friend had introduced me to some time ago, Pandora Radio. This site customizes musical selection based on what music you tell them you like. From their website:

Since we started back in 2000, we have been hard at work on the Music Genome Project. It's the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Together our team of fifty musician-analysts has been listening to music, one song at a time, studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every song. It takes 20-30 minutes per song to capture all of the little details that give each recording its magical sound - melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics ... and more - close to 400 attributes! We continue this work every day to keep up with the incredible flow of great new music coming from studios, stadiums and garages around the country.

With Pandora you can explore this vast trove of music to your heart's content. Just drop the name of one of your favorite songs or artists into Pandora and let the Genome Project go. It will quickly scan its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings - new and old, well known and completely obscure - to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice. Then sit back and enjoy as it creates a listening experience full of current and soon-to-be favorite songs for you.

The Music Genome Project was founded by musicians and music-lovers. We believe in the value of music and have a profound respect for those who create it. We like all kinds of music, from the most obtuse bebop, to the most tripped-out drum n bass, to the simplest catchy pop tune. Our mission is to help you connect with the music YOU like.

Since I just shut off my cable, I'm on the lookout for ways to keep my house from feeling empty. I created my own custom channel last night on Pandora, and I have a feeling I'll be listening to it nonstop. So far I've loved all the suggestions they've played, and I'm discovering new artists I'd never known existed. Oh, and Pandora is free...unlike the majority of iTunes...

Do you use Pandora, iTunes, or some other web-based music service? Tell me your favorite in a comment on the blog. And look for me next time you're at the Hollywood Bowl!

Photography Products


It's been a goal of mine for a while to do something creatively with some of my photography images. I just started trying to make some items from my photography, like cards and card sets, and gift items like magnets, bags, and other "stuff." This could be a great income stream for me as a freelancer. And in the meanwhile, it's great creative inspiration for me, keeping my juices flowing. One thing I've learned is that it's good marketing to put your email address on the item below your photo credit.

Find my zazzle store at www.zazzle.com/etrets to see what I've been coming up with. There's also a widget that shows all my products at the bottom of my blog.

Do you like to make/use/buy blank cards, or do you prefer that they always have some writing or saying on them?

Do you ever sell your photography on items? If so, do you make them yourself, or use a printing service? Do you have any tips or hints to share? Any and all advice welcome, so please leave a comment on the blog.

June 28, 2009

Farm Kitchen Stained Glass


This is one of my favorite stained glass projects. I just created it off the cuff one day. It's copper foil, with a zinc came frame and reinforcing. It's simple, but beautiful, and reminds me of something that would be a window in a door of a farm kitchen in the midwest, maybe one where the top hinged separately from the bottom. I sold it on consignment at a gift shop in Salt Lake shortly after I finished it. I often wonder where my consignment items have ended up, and hope they are appreciated many years later. Hope you're enjoying my portfolio!




June 27, 2009

Culinary Historians of Southern California


People with a passion for food beyond the knife and fork founded the Culinary Historians of Southern California in 1995 as an affiliate of the Los Angeles Public Library. Typical of library patrons, they sought an intellectual as well as gastronomic approach to food, but not at the expense of taking themselves so seriously that they would forget to have fun.

Today’s membership of about 250 men and women spans a range of ages and occupations. It comprises not only food professionals, from chefs, writers and academics to product purveyors and restaurateurs, but also people in fields such as marketing, television, theatre, and museums. And then there are those simply intrigued by the mysteries of food and pleasures of the table.

What they do:
• They have fun learning about food history, trends and social implications of what and how we eat.
• They present monthly forums, generally the second Saturday of the month at the Los Angeles Central Library, with refreshments that illustrate the lecture. These events are free and open to the public.
• They contribute to the library’s culinary collections, one of the most extensive in the country. It includes more than 18,000 cookbooks. Of note are 1,000 cookbooks published in California and the largest collection of Mexican cookbooks in the United States.
• They dine out and create culinary celebrations.

Sounds like a group I should get involved in! Annual membership is only $25.00 for individuals, and $40.00 for households. Your membership dues are completely tax deductible. Their membership benefits are detailed on their website, but I'm especially excited about their free monthly forums (which don't require membership). Here's a link to CHSC's calendar, so you can write these down.

Their next event is a yearly fund raiser, a used cookbook sale held at the Hollywood Farmers Market on August 16th. I hear it's a happening event, and books are sold for as little as a quarter! I know I won't miss this one.

Where do you find your favorite cookbooks? Do you have an addiction to them like mine? Which ones do you use most? What bits of culinary history can you share? Leave me a comment on the blog.

June 26, 2009

Free Stuff Alert: Pinkberry TODAY

Photo: Pinkberry's green-tea-flavored yogurt. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times

Big action happening today: Pinkberry launches two new flavors (although the company won't say what they are yet) and prepares to drop the green tea flavor entirely. The yogurt will flow freely from 5 to 11 p.m. Ready your spoons.

Here's the Pinkberry Store Locator. Thanks to The Digest Blog at LA Magazine for the tip.

June 25, 2009

Take Your Dog to Work Day

(photos from the set of the Dreamworks movie
"Hotel for Dogs," Jan. 2008)

June 26th is Take Your Dog to Work Day, according to Pet Sitters International:
First celebrated in 1999, Take Your Dog To Work Day was created to celebrate the great companions dogs make and to encourage their adoption from humane societies, animal shelters, and breed rescue clubs. This annual event encourages employers to experience the value of pets in their workplace for this one special day to promote pet adoptions.
A really useful feature of PSI's website is the Pet Sitter Locator. All the members have undergone an education program created by the organization, and all active PSI members are able to purchase comprehensive coverage designed specifically for pet sitters. Every PSI member who presents you with proof of coverage via a valid Business Insurance/ PSI Insurance Card or Certificate of Insurance guarantees that they will have a minimum of $10,000 coverage for your pet(s) and contents in your home.

Are you allowed to bring your dog to work on this day, or even regularly? Do you support dogs in the work environment? What effects do you notice when your pet is at work? Leave me your comments and experiences in a note on the blog.

June 24, 2009

Natural Crystal Deoderant Found in Thai Market


I've written before about a product I'd like to try, rock body deoderant, and gotten a ton of comments on that subject. I'd heard about this product from others, but the only place I'd seen it was at a body products shop called Basin.

This weekend I came across a version at the Thai market. It was only $4, no shipping necessary (as if I'd bought from Basin online), and I considered it part of my entertainment budget for that day's Thai market excursion, so I decided to do an experiment and try it out.


I love all the Thai writing on the bottle, but I definitely needed the English translation. I was surprised to find that it had it! "Deo Roll-on" is to be wetted, then applied to "unpleasant odoring area."



From the few people I know who've used a similar product, I heard that it won't prevent perspiration but will control the smell of sweat. My guest house holds heat like an envelope, so I'm wondering if this will be enough for me. I've tried it for a couple days now, and I am liking the pleasant fragrance, finding it wakes me up in the shower. Since you're supposed to wet the bar before applying, that's where I've been using it. This is a good way to work it into my routine, so I never forget to use it. I'll save a ton of money using this over the commercial deoderants available at the supermarket.


Has anyone else tried a similar product? Where did you purchase it? How long did it last? Please share your product recommendation in a comment on the blog.

June 23, 2009

The "Thai Costco" at LAX-C

***UPDATE: Here are the treats I bought at the market to take home, a hard herbal candy, a young coconut, and some lychee pudding. When I try them, I'll add a comment to this post to let you know how they were!
(END UPDATE)***



I had a culinary adventure this week to LAX-C, a huge ethnic market with great street food. They call themselves the largest Thai owned business in America, and they're not joking. This is the Thai version of Costco, where all the Thai restaurants go for their groceries--and tables, and chairs, and statues of Buhdda, and promotional calendars. But mostly groceries. The selection is extensive. And while the place does cater to the restaurant industry, there's some great deals for the individual here as well: coconut ice cream, little Thai candies, and great prepared street food.

There's plenty of parking, but bring cash--it's cash only, especially the street vendors outside. You'll find a definite security presence inside the market--not sure if that's reflective of the neighborhood or what.







Here's our street food feast. I got some of Mae Ting's coconut cakes, and a small $3 order was enough to share with the group. The pan they were cooked in reminded me of a Danish Aebelskiver skillet. I saw the cooking surfaces for sale inside the market. The cakes themselves were lightly sweet and tasty, crunchy on the outside and creamy, almost pudding-like in the center.


These desserts were things other people in my group got from inside the market, so I don't know that much about them, but they were all good! My favorite is the orange rice-dough dish that tasted like it was soaked in honey. I got some of that to take home afterward.


This is what my little sampler plate looked like after trading with everyone I'd gone there with. What a yummy and interesting feast!


I spent about ten bucks on the whole day, and in addition to eating there brought home some lychee "pudding cups" that looked like jello to me and were in the candy section, a young coconut to shave open and drink the milk then scoop out the fruit, and that Med-Ka-Noon, which is the orange dessert I told you about earlier.


If you're going:
LAX-C, Inc.
1100 N. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
323-343-0030
What are your favorite ethnic markets? Tell me about them in a comment on the blog.

Pasadena Chalk Festival: Follow-up with PHOTOS

I posted last week about the Pasadena Chalk Festival to get the word out if you wanted to go. I would add this follow-up as a comment to that post, if I were able to insert photos in the comment form. Anyways, I went, and had a great time! I'd never been before, though I'd seen it listed in the newspaper for several years with interest. The crowds were a bit overwhelming, so prepare yourself. The event's held in a mall, so I figured it would be spread out, but all the action is in the center courtyard, so it gets packed. Yet the artwork was far more amazing than I'd anticipated. And I'd definitely go back another year.

I took a slew of photographs of chalk artists and their work, and also browsed the Antique mall that was adjacent to the plaza. Finally, I topped off my afternoon with a Tazoberry Passion Iced Tea from Starbucks as a treat to cool myself down (the iced tea was $2.00, as opposed to a four-dollar latte). The worst part was the parking--I ended up four blocks away just to find a free meter, instead of the mall parking, which was charged per every fifteen minutes.

The award winners are posted on the festival website (linked above). Check them out too--I don't think I'd photographed any of them!

Lots of artists were working from a sketch or photograph; the person above worked from a magazine clipping. The prep work and thought they'd put into this weekend were obvious. It was really neat to see their inspiration, and the concept from the beginning. Several projects had teams of artists, like this one below. I tried to photograph the artist's names so that I could attribute their work, but once in a while I was negligent.


The angel below was my favorite of the event, along with the peacock. I wish I'd taken more details, especially of this one.





Just as much fun as photographing the artwork was using the artists themselves as subjects. I love the concentration on their faces as they worked long hours for days in a row in the hot sun. Often they were sitting on cardboard to prevent smudging their work. The edges of their frames were taped off both to make them straight and clean, and to make them obvious to all the festival attendees wandering about.

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